Governing, which is defined as the totality of interaction of actors aiming to solve societal problems, is never as ideal as its definition. A two-tier analysis of governance – one that considers individual actors and institutions – proves that dominance is always at play among these multiple interactions. The two-tier analysis shows that when water is managed by a public agency, it does not necessarily mean that water is managed by a state institution. The study of water allocation at West Tarum Canal shows that the adoption of market institutions by the Government of Indonesia has resulted in a societal problem of the marginalisation of farmers. The hegemony of the market is achieved through the successful attempt by multilateral agencies to make the Indonesian Government and its apparatus adopt market institutions. Fiscal decentralisation is another determining factor accelerating the adoption of market institutions in the allocation of water at West Tarum Canal.
Keywords: actor, domination, governance, institution, Indonesia, Jatiluhur dam, water allocation, West Tarum Canal