Participatory water management in water for food – What works and what does not. A critical institutionalist perspective

Background: Agriculture is among the sectors with highest water consumption, and accordingly, allocation of water resources is an issue of high importance to many agricultural societies suffering from water stress. Community-based resource management (CBRM) is an approach which seeks to involve communities and stakeholders on all levels of decision-making regarding vital resources such as water. However, participatory water management schemes in water for food suffer from a number of pitfalls, from elite capture to “the shadow of hierarchy”, which invites a critical investigation of the way these schemes are functioning on the ground.

Aim of the research: The study could employ a critical institutionalist perspective (Cleaver and de Koning 2015 etc) to theoretically understand the set-up of participatory water management schemes in water for food and to analyse the governance and policy implications. Qualitative methods can be used, as well as ample case studies e.g. from South Asia or other geographical contexts.