Factsheet #12

National Water Council

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


#12: National Water Council


National Water Councils are coordinating bodies that are often government agencies or specific government offices. They represent multi- bodies, which can support the definiton of general principles for mobilising and enhancing the use of water resources.


National Water Councils are a key force for building capacity and sharing good practices, as well as overcoming sectoral fragmentation of water-related tasks across ministries. They act as a forum for aligning interests and timing across ministries and public agencies. They aim to promote co-operation and collaboration among water policy relevant fields.

Example: The Council for Water Quality Monitoring in the US

In the US, the need for an institutional foundation for the development of cost-effective and cooperative frameworks for the monitoring and the evaluation of the quality of water on the national territory was addressed in 1997 through the institution of the Council for Water Quality Monitoring. The Council assembles various expertise related to water policy. This approach is regarded to be an important contribution towards an effective and sustainable management of water bodies. Within the council, comparable and scientifically based methodologies and strategies for the improvement of existing water quality policies are discussed and coordinated. The promotion of dialogue and confrontation between actors with different scientific backgrounds is a valuable mechanism to deal with increasingly complex water-related issues.


OECD (2011). Water governance in OECD countries – A multilevel approach. OECD Studies on water (p. 82ff) https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/environment/water-governance-in-oecd-countries_9789264119284-en Retrieved on 22 September 2020.

US (EPA, USGS) Council for Water Quality Monitoring

OECD (2014) Water Governance in Tunisia – Overcoming the Challenges to Private Sector Participation. OECD Studies on Water https://www.oecd.org/environment/water-governance-in-tunisia-9789264174337-en.htm Retrieved on 24 September 2020

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