River basin organization performance indicators: application to the Delaware River basin commission

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

This paper reports the development of performance indicators of a river basin management organization's ability to undertake integrated water resources management, and applies them to a US basin organization: a river basin commission. Integrated water resources management (IWRM) and integrated river basin management (IRBM) are defined, in the context of international and US advances in IWRM and IRBM. A suite of good governance factors was assembled from the reviews of consultants' practical experiences in river basin management, peer-reviewed literature, government reports and policy statements, and reports of river basin management practice. A list of impediments to the implementation of IRBM was also assembled. These sources were used as the data set to develop 115 indicators of best practice in IRBM; these indicators were grouped into ten categories: coordinated decision-making, responsive decision-making, goals and goal shift, financial sustainability, organizational design, role of law, training and capacity building, information and research, accountability and monitoring, private and public sector roles. This paper reports the results of a facilitated workshop with the Delaware River Basin Commission's staff and stakeholders to apply the indicators to their setting. The outcome of the workshop was a self-assessment tool for performance evaluation, involving triaging the basin organization situation, checking performance against 20 performance benchmarks and using 63 performance indicators for basin commission settings. The paper concludes with a discussion of the issues surrounding the application of the performance indicators to other US basins and commissions.

Keywords: Integrated river basin management, Integrated water resources management, Performance indicators, River basin organizations

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