The world water crisis is a crisis of governance, as has been aptly stated. Yet how does one solve a crisis of governance? Water governance comprises complex nested and interlocked sets of decisions about water. It is inherently political, and is ultimately the responsibility of national, regional and local governments, working with their own citizens and with each other, to make improvements. In this context, there is a critical need in nearly every country to assess whether current water governance structures and practices are suitable and are delivering the desired results and, if not, where they fall short. When such assessments are made regularly and for several countries, it is possible to compare water governance status and performance both among countries and in a single country over time. This paper presents an approach to establishing a system of benchmarking water governance from content analysis of official policy and legal documents and a stratified set of stakeholder opinion panels. The approach assesses both the functions involved in water governance and the processes employed in making decisions. Six countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region (Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Turkey and Yemen) comprise a case study to show how this approach works.

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