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The politics of model maintenance: The Murray Darling and Brantas river basins compared

Anjali Bhat
Center for Development Research (ZEF), Bonn, Germany;

ABSTRACT: This paper explores river basin management in two highly developed basins whose basin governance arrangements are currently undergoing transition: The Murray-Darling basin of Australia and the Brantas basin of Indonesia. Though basin-scale management has been longstanding in both of these cases and the respective models for carrying out integrated river basin management have been considered noteworthy for other countries looking to develop basin institutions, these basin-level arrangements are under flux. This paper indicates some of the difficulties that exist for even widely favoured 'textbook' cases to maintain institutional efficacy within their given shifting contexts. This paper explores drivers behind policy reform and change in scale at which authority is held, concluding with a discussion of the nature of institutional transition given political realities in these basins.

KEYWORDS: River basin management, governance transition, Brantas, Murray-Darling, Indonesia, Australia