To promote water resources development, many nations have established centralized administration such that the central government can hold an institutional authority with the ability to control water resources development and modify the modernization of water rights. This enables governments to clearly define the rights or introduce the principle of vested rights protection; however, volunteer transactions of water rights can be institutionally prohibited or restricted. The aim of this study was to analyse how the centralization of administration, or the modified modernization of water rights, has affected water resources development costs by examining the case of post-war Japan. After World War II, Japan experienced rapid economic growth with regard to water resources development because of expansive concrete dams. However, these water resources development measures caused environmental or financial problems under low economic growth circumstances. Therefore, the aims of this water policy study were to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages resulting from water resources development based on large-scale concrete dams. Policy implications for developing countries will be drawn upon in this study. Because the government is a key actor in promoting water resources development, it has an accountability and a responsibility to the citizens.