Factsheet #1


Instrument Type


Governance Level


Governance Mode


Water management topics addressed

Drought & water scarcity
Water abstraction for irrigation and other economic activities
Water quality issues due to nutrient pollution
Water quality issues: Other reasons

Implementation requirements

Financial capacity


Human capacity


Political buy-in


Timeframe for implementation


#1: Benchmarks


Benchmarking involves a comparative analysis of performance, e.g. of the water sector in general, of organisations in river basins or of water utilities. Its purpose is to assess whether they are suitable and deliver the desired results, or whether there are possible shortcomings that need to be assessed. 


The method consists of the analysis of official policy and legal documents and a stratified set of opinion panels, assessing both the functions involved in water and the for decision-making.
If openly accessible it can increase transparency and can help disseminating best practices. It can further create an incentive for improving current performance and promotes mutual learning and participation through increased availability of information

Example: Water governance benchmarking: concepts and approach framework as applied to Middle East and North Africa countries

In the example, a 3-dimensional analysis was carried out for six countries in the MENA region. The study analysed the institutional structure of the country's water system (policies, legislation, etc.), a number of key features of decision-making and a number of water functions (organization and capacity building in the water sector, strategic planning, water allocation, water resources development and management, regulation of water resources and services). The interplay of these structures was plotted against each other to analyze the interactions that occur.

While the results provided initial indications of how is related to the effectiveness of the water system in several countries, they provided a basis for examining the changes in water management over time.

The study argues in favor of looking at and assessing not only individual components of , but also how they together affect the functionality of water management within a country.


De Stefano L., Svendsen M., Giordano M., Steel B. S., Brown B., Wolf A. T. (2014). Water governance benchmarking: concepts and approach framework as applied to Middle East and North Africa countries. Water Policy, 16 1121-1139.

OECD (2014). Water Governance in Jordan – Overcoming the Challenges to Private Sector Participation. OECD Studies on Water https://www.oecd.org/countries/jordan/water-service-governance-in-jordan-9789264213753-en.htm Retrieved on 24 September 2020

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