Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is now a globally generic concept encompassing a multitude of environmental governance approaches in different national contexts. However, conspicuous gaps in the IWRM literature concerning the application of this concept in practice are still evident suggesting a need for further theoretically driven comparative research. In view of these gaps, this article examines IWRM in one leading national context with a long established tradition of holistically managing water resources, namely England and Wales. The article assesses how this discourse has been interpreted, the extent to which it has been integrated into water management, the key country-level variables shaping IWRM and the potential for lesson drawing for other states, particularly in the European Union (EU). Analysis shows that IWRM principles are being implemented under current EU legislative measures and integration appears advanced. A significant exogenous driver of change is the EU Water Framework Directive. However, problems have emerged relating to aspects of IWRM integration, linked primarily to endogenous path dependency of institutions and regulatory culture. While this approach could therefore be considered ‘integrating’ it has some way to go before being fully ‘integrated’. On this basis, England and Wales provide lessons, both negative and positive, on IWRM for policy makers in other comparable states. Keywords: Integrated Water Resources Management, IWRM, Water Framework Directive, river basin management, Europeanisation, lesson drawing, path dependency, regulatory culture.

doi.org/10.7564/13-IJWG7
International Journal of Water Governance

Fritsch, O, & Benson, D. (2013). Integrating the Principles of Integrated Water Resources Management? River Basin Planning in England and Wales. International Journal of Water Governance, 2013, 265–284. doi:10.7564/13-IJWG7