Water governance is the set of systems that controls decision making with regard to water management and water service delivery. Simply put, water governance is about who gets what water, when and how. Systems of water governance usually reflect political and cultural realities at national, basin (intermediate) and catchment/subcatchment and water user association levels.
Governance of water resources and water service delivery functions more effectively within a system which enables broad participation by civil society including community based organizations (CBOs), NGOs, private enterprises and the media network to support and influence government including local government. This means forums where stakeholders discuss and make decisions need to be strengthened or established at different levels and steps taken to ensure stakeholder platforms play a prominent and active role in systems of water governance.
As a competition for water intensifies, it becomes more and more difficult to find simple technical solutions to water related problems. Increasingly, solutions involve trade-offs between costs for different groups which require management of demand and enforcement of regulations. (IUCN 2011)