Two countries in South Asia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, have embarked upon innovative measures for restructuring their institutional framework for water resources management. Both of these countries have a colonial heritage. Most of their current institutional arrangements for water resources management, particularly in the irrigation sub-sector, are greatly influenced by the laws and administrative procedures introduced during the British colonial period. In the wake of massive investment programmes sponsored by international development aid after independence, each of the two countries has collaborated with donor agencies in designing new institutional development packages. Despite similarities in terms of donor interests, the two countries seemed to be proceeding along different reform paths. Pakistan experimented with an overall change in the irrigation institutions, whereas, Sri Lanka focused on coordinating mechanisms for integrated water resources management at both river basin and national levels. In both of these cases, the progress of reform attempts seems to be grinding to a halt owing to lack of an internally generated demand for reforms.

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