Regional Development

The OECD Principles on Water Governance


The OECD Water Governance Principles provide the 12 must-do's for governments to design and implement effective, efficient, and inclusive water policies. To date, they have been endorsed by 170+ stakeholder groups or governments:

  • 37 OECD Member Countries
  • 7 Non-Member Countries 
  • 140 Stakeholder Groups

Download the OECD Principles on Water Governance:


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THE OECD Principles on Water Governance


Principle 1. Clearly allocate and distinguish roles and responsibilities for water policymaking, policy implementation, operational management and regulation, and foster co-ordination across these responsible authorities.


Principle 2. Manage water at the appropriate scale(s) within integrated basin governance systems to reflect local conditions, and foster co-ordination between the different scales.


Principle 3. Encourage policy coherence through effective cross-sectoral co-ordination, especially between policies for water and the environment, health, energy, agriculture, industry, spatial planning and land use


Principle 4. Adapt the level of capacity of responsible authorities to the complexity of water challenges to be met, and to the set of competencies required to carry out their duties


Principle 5. Produce, update, and share timely, consistent, comparable and policy-relevant water and water-related data and information, and use it to guide, assess and improve water policy


Principle 6. Ensure that governance arrangements help mobilise water finance and allocate financial resources in an efficient, transparent and timely manner


Principle 7. Ensure that sound water management regulatory frameworks are effectively implemented and enforced in pursuit of the public interest


Principle 8. Promote the adoption and implementation of innovative water governance practices across responsible authorities, levels of government and relevant stakeholders


Principle 9. Mainstream integrity and transparency practices across water policies, water institutions and water governance frameworks for greater accountability and trust in decision-making


Principle 10. Promote stakeholder engagement for informed and outcome-oriented contributions to water policy design and implementation


Principle 11. Encourage water governance frameworks that help manage trade-offs across water users, rural and urban areas, and generations


Principle 12. Promote regular monitoring and evaluation of water policy and governance where appropriate, share the results with the public and make adjustments when needed