The realities and challenges of reforming the water sector using the Integrated Water Resources Management Framework: Lessons from the Mazowe Catchment, Zimbabwe
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The search for solutions to problems of water scarcity and increasing demand on the available finite fresh water has resulted in the emergence of a new water governance regime guided by the integrated water resources management framework. The framework is deeply imbedded in neo-liberal discourses that have dominated development paradigms in recent decades. Using the experience of the Mazowe catchment as a case study, this thesis explores the realities and challenges faced in reforming the water sector in Zimbabwe. The thesis relies on methodologies derived from the phenomenological paradigm and institutionalist-oriented analytical approaches to assess the water reforms in relation to three key themes namely, equitable access to water, institutional reconfiguration and stakeholder participatory processes. The study found out that while the water policy and legislation in Zimbabwe has been significantly improved to address historical inequities, there are no specific strategies formulated and implemented to operationalize the new water policy into concrete programmes and projects that address poverty and achieve equity. The thesis argues that improving conditions for accessing water will be useless if it is not supported by specific financial and technical assistance packages that enable the disadvantaged groups to engage in productive water use and alleviate poverty. In addition, while a lot of progress has been made in setting up the new institutional structures for managing water, a considerable amount of capacity building needs to be carried out before these institutions can be effectively expedite their mandate. More attention should also be paid to appropriate scales and boundaries for water resources management in the Mazowe catchment and the rest of the country.
water governance regime
water resources management
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