Understanding integrated water resources management using policy network analysis: implications for Bangladesh

  • Ubaydur Siddiki

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Bangladesh faces numerous environmental, developmental, and administrative challenges in its water sector due to factors such as geography, global climate change, overpopulation, and poor development and implementation of water policy. As water management is crucial to the country's development, the Bangladesh government has taken steps to improve water sector management, including implementing Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) since the early 1990s. However, the effectiveness of IWRM in Bangladesh has been questioned. To address this, this research utilized Policy Network Analysis (PNA) to examine the policy development and implementation nexus and identify opportunities for improving IWRM in the country.

The study analysed the Water Act (2013) and the Water Management Improvement Project (WMIP) project in Bangladesh using policy network and implementation network perspectives. The research uncovered several contemporary challenges in the water sector through documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews. The study revealed that the policy development process was problematic, with crucial water actors excluded from the process and limited cooperation and power imbalances among actors impeding their capacity to engage effectively. As a result, there was a lack of clarity in the rules and regulations regarding actors' mandates and responsibilities, creating barriers to their access to policy network processes.

The study identified issues similar to those found in the water policy development process in the delivery of the WMIP project. The flaws in the water policy development process have created contradictions that have reduced the effectiveness of the WMIP project implementation. As a result, this research highlights the crucial need for a high-quality water policy development process to address the existing problems in water policy and improve the implementation of IWRM through water projects like the WMIP.

The study suggests that revising the current water policy is necessary to create a more conducive environment for successful IWRM implementation in Bangladesh. The revision should consider the existing contradictions and challenges, including the water actors' interactions, roles, and resource-power imbalances. In addition, lessons learned from completed water projects, such as the WMIP, should be considered to improve future institutional arrangements for more effective IWRM implementation. By addressing these issues, the water policy can be made more effective, leading to better outcomes for water projects and ultimately supporting sustainable water management in Bangladesh.
Date of Award2022
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorLain Dare (Supervisor), Darren Sinclair (Supervisor) & David Marsh (Supervisor)

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