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Improving the water resource management system in Beijing, China : steps toward integrated management Peng, Qiong

Abstract

Given the efforts made to improve water resource management in Beijing and the limited progress thus far, I explore alternatives for improving water management performance. Supported by evidence gathered from the research process and by my analysis of the Chinese institutional environment, I argue that it is possible to use an integrated management approach to capture and represent a more meaningful planning practice. Such an approach would enable multiple improvements in water management efficiency. As part of my research, I observed institutional responses and constraints during the Beijing government's reform process, in particular, water management initiatives. My findings strongly suggest that the current institutional and regulatory context, inherited from old frameworks, is an impediment to fully implementing initiatives that might otherwise improve water management. My findings also illustrate that how different actors in a decision-making process are constrained by these old frameworks; central and local relations, marketization, public involvement, NGO development and capacity building in general are all confined by existing institutional barriers. To develop a successful integrated management system, it is essential that these institutional and regulatory issues are resolved. I conclude that establishing an integrated management system can help td create a holistic model in which various types of initiatives are embedded. Moreover, this approach is not unrealistic, given recent trends in Chinese institutional reform and the willingness to change on the part of Beijing's high-level authorities.

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