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Project Regional Water Governance Benchmarking

The International Resources Group (IRG) and partners initiated the Regional Water Governance Benchmarking in the Middle East North Africa Region project (ReWaG) in September 2008.  The project is slated to run for 18 months and is funded by the USAID Office of Middle East Programs (USAID/OMEP) at a level of $1.5 million. Implementing partners working with IRG include the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), the Institute for Water and Watersheds at Oregon State University (OSU), Computer Assisted Development Incorporated (CADI), Nile Consultants of Egypt and ECO Consult of Jordan.

The project is targeted on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Countries being considered for primary focus include Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, West Bank/Gaza, Tunisia, and Yemen. In addition, neighboring countries such as Libya, Mauritania, Sudan, and Turkey; and Gulf countries such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and UAE could be included as well.

Different country groupings may be formed for different purposes.  For example, the project's water governance document collection could include a fairly wide range of countries, while more intensive legal, policy, and organizational analyses will likely be restricted to a subset of four or five countries. Selection of countries for intensive analysis will take place, in consultation with USAID/OMEP, during the first few months of the project.  

Project number n/a
Acronym ReWaB
Geographical coverage Algeria,Egypt,Jordan,Lebanon,Morocco,Palestine,Tunisia,Yemen,Libya,Mauritania,Sudan,Turkey,Bahrain,Kuwait,Oman,Qatar,Saudi Arabia,United Arab Emirates,
Budget (in €) 1118193
Programme The USAID Office of Middle East Programs (USAID/OMEP)
Web site

The purpose of the project is to provide a strategic framework and a set of yardsticks to guide and monitor national progress on water governance in the MENA region.  In particular, the project will

  • Develop a strategic framework that allows countries to assess their capacity to govern water resources effectively and to assess their own performance
  • Help countries identify strengths and weaknesses in current policy, legal, and organizational setups for water and water resource management
  • Assemble a database of national policy, legal, and strategy documents that can be searched and cross referenced to similar documents for other countries
  • Develop and populate a set of indicators that describe water governance and water service delivery capacity and performance in a set of selected MENA countries
  • Working out a process which countries can use to define and monitor improvement targets for water governance and water service delivery
  • Accomplish these tasks by working collaboratively with national researchers and governments every step of the way

The project is organized around four tasks. Three of these will be implemented sequentially, while the fourth is cross-cutting.

Task 1 - Framework Development

Under this task, the project will develop a flexible common analytic framework which will describe the context of water resource development and management in any particular country.  The framework will guide the choice of specific factors to be documented, analyzed, and benchmarked and the subsequent selection of status indicators for these factors.

Important dimensions of the framework include broad national policies, laws and implementing rules, and implementing organizations.  These broad dimensions will be further decomposed into individual institutional components which can serve as a basis for benchmarking capacity and performance. 

The approach to framework development will include a review of academic literature, reviews of concepts and frameworks developed for similar purposes, and extensive consultation with a broad spectrum of key stakeholders and experts.  The focus in this phase will be on developing a practical framework which can be used in implementing the remaining project tasks. Development is expected to take approximately 4 months. 

Task 2 - Policy, Legal, and Organizational Assessments

With an analytic framework in hand, the project will conduct policy, legal, and organizational reviews in the selected focal countries.  Reviews will be based on a combination of meta-reviews of recent legal and policy analyses, fresh analysis of laws and policies where required, and an organizational mapping in each focal country.  For the mapping exercise, all significant organizations in each focal country having a role in water governance will be identified and a functional/organizational matrix created, overlaying important water sector functions on the set of organizations available to perform them.  This will allow critical gaps and areas of overlap to be identified.  This task is expected to take from 4 to 8 months.

In carrying out this process, key policy and legal documents from each country will be collected and assembled into a searchable on-line document database.  This document database will be employed in conducting the policy and legal analyses and will also be available after project completion on the internet.  The project will also survey and review existing web-based document collections and networks focused on the MENA region to insure complementarity.

Task 3 - Benchmarking System Development

Building on the results of Tasks 1 and 2, the project will identify a simple but robust set of indicators for benchmarking water governance practices and performance.  We will collect information to estimate baselines and 5 and 20 year values for indicators, which can be either qualitative or quantitative, through a combination of secondary sources, surveys of experts, and stakeholder workshops.

To refine ways of assessing water service delivery performance, the project will work with Arab Countries Water Utilities Association (ACWUA) to formalize and apply a set of indicators, measurement and data management standards.  This pilot activity will help inform the more challenging future task of benchmarking performance of irrigation service delivery and the still greater challenge of applying such a system to management of aquatic ecosystems. This task is expected to take from 4 to 6 months.

Task 4 -- Outreach

Task 4 cuts across the other three tasks and aims ultimately to build committed constituencies for the governance benchmarking system.  This process will begin with framework development where we will solicit national participation in devising and refining the conceptual framework.  Under Task 2, we will use extensive interchanges with public and private sector interlocutors to accurately portray the country's institutional make-up.  In Task 3, we will develop benchmarking indicators collaboratively and use projections of expected indicator values under alternative scenarios to highlight the significance of alternative water management practices in terms of future sector performance. 

Throughout the project, we will work with regional organizations such as the Arab Water Council (AWC) and ACWUA to identify ways to raise awareness and generate support at national and regional levels.  We will also explore possible collaboration with other regional programs and networks such as EMWIS, InWent, Awarenet, the Water Governance Facility, and the Water Monitoring Alliance.



ReWaB Documents

Documents are displayed in order of most to least relevance.


Period [01/09/2008 - 28/02/2010]



    The Middle East North Africa (MENA) Regional Water Governance Benchmarking Project (ReWaB) aimed to characterize water governance regimes in a number of Middle Eastern countries to allow comparisons both across countries and over time. To do this, it developed a conceptual framework for considering water governance, along with desk and field-based assessment methodologies, and applied these methodologies, in various combinations, in six countries. This is the final report on that effort. It is a summary and tries to weave together the key messages from the various project components and consolidate them in a single concise narrative. More detailed descriptions and analysis are contained in the supporting country profiles, analytic protocols, framework paper, and other project documents, which are attached. Thanks are due to the leaders of the work at Oregon State University (OSU) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Drs. Aaron Wolf and Mark Giordano, Dr. Tom Sheng of Computer Assisted Development Incorporated (CADI), Dr. Håkan Tropp of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), Drs. Lucia DeStefano and Jonathan Lautze, who conducted much of the field work, and to national and regional collaborators who make critically important contributions to the successful implementation of the field activities. The work was funded by the USAID Office of Middle East Programs (USAID-OMEP) for which we are deeply appreciative. Special thanks go to Mr. Eric Viala, who developed the terms of reference for the project and served as its first USAID program manager (COTR), and to the two COTRs who followed him, Mr. Jim Wright, and Mr. Mark Peters. Finally thanks to Mr. Russell Misheloff who served as the Home Office Project Manager for International Resources Group (IRG) and to Mr. Firras Traish and Mr. Daniel Lapidus who provided financial management and technical support at IRG.

    Publisher Mark Svendsen, Ph.D. International Resources Group Team Leader Regional Water Governance Benchmarking Project
    Type of document Report
    Rights Public
    File link
    File link local USAID_2010_MENA_ReWaB_Final_Report.pdf (PDF, 442 Kb)
    Source of information Agriwaterpedia
    Keyword(s) Water Governance Indicators, water governance, benchmarking
    Subject(s) no translation available , no translation available , no translation available , no translation available
    Geographical coverage Oman, Morocco, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon
  • Water Governance Benchmarking Criteria

    Water Governance Benchmarking Criteria 

    Publisher REWAB
    Type of document Report
    Rights Public
    File link
    File link local Royal_Decree_No_1-95-154_Promulgating_Law_on_Water_En_T.pdf (PDF, 818 Kb)
    Source of information REWAB project
    Keyword(s) Water Governance Indicators, water governance, benchmarking
    Geographical coverage n/a