Water governance is a complex regulatory process which continuously changes over time. In this study, we apply a novel approach to investigate trends in water governance regimes, using Bangladesh as an example. Among the diverse notions of governance, we consider seven indicators representing legal, political and administrative aspects. Changes are analysed by considering both shifts indicated by policy documents and the quality of governance perceived by water user groups. To get an overall picture, we aggregate all seven indicators based on the weightings provided by experts and water user groups. Our results show that, according to the policy documents, all notions of governance have significantly improved and will further improve. However, according to water user groups, the actual implementation of these policies seems to be far behind what the policy documents indicate and, moreover, this gap has even been increasing over time. Although only seven indicators might not do sufficient justice to the complexity of an issue such as governance, these results convey an understanding of observed and perceived tendencies in arenas of water management, making this approach a relevant contribution to a better informed decision-making.

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