Water policy reform in China'€™s fragmented hydraulic state: Focus on self-funded/managed irrigation and drainage districts

James Nickum
Tokyo Jogakkan College, Japan; nickum.water@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT: This essay explores the nature of China'€™s unique decentralised 'authoritarian' regime and its various origins; the continuous dialectic between state-directed and market-directed approaches to the economy (including water); the economic and budgetary drivers of water policy change; whether the concept of integrated water resources management (IWRM) is overly 'loaded' with liberal ideas or even if not, whether it provides any insights beyond concepts more widely accepted in China; whether the state-society dichotomy makes sense in China'€™s guanxi (personal relations) culture; and the course of the World Bank-sponsored Self-funded/managed Irrigation and Drainage District (SIDD) reforms.