This paper aims to set the stage with an outline of the conceptual, analytical and theoretical aspects of water institutional reforms and a synthesis of the main findings from the reform experiences of six countries: Australia, Chile, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa and Sri Lanka. Utilizing the latest developments in the literature on the subject, this paper presents the analytics of unbundling water institutions to show their endogenous and exogenous linkages, the transaction cost approach as a diagnostic framework for understanding the role of factors affecting water institutions, and a stage-based perspective to provide insights into the internal mechanics and dynamics evident in the process of water institutional change. Using this analytical framework and theoretical approach, this paper also identifies a few practically relevant principles for reform design and implementation. Based on a review of country reform experiences, the paper also synthesizes reform theories with actual practices by providing anecdotal evidence for various theoretical postulates and practical reform principles.

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