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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

River Basin Water Resource Management in Taihu Lake Basin: an institutional assessment

Ye Tao

River Basin Water Resource Management in Taihu Lake Basin: an institutional assessment

Focusing on the institutional dimension, current water resources governance structure is examined to identify the major management failures. It is found the Taihu Basin Authority is incapable of implementing integrated river basin management due to its weak administrative power, lack of cooperation between water resources departments and environmental protection departments at different levels, and dual leadership of MWR (The Ministry of Water Resources) and SEPA (The State Environmental Protection Agency) affects the effectiveness of water pollution control. To provide some reform directions for Taihu Lake Basin water governance structure, two global river basin administrative structures in Thames Valley UK and Yodo River Basin Japan were selected and learned. On the other side, based on source pathway receptor analysis of the major pollutants, it is essential to include stakeholder participation in water management so some dominate non-point pollutants can be controlled from sources. The non-governmental associations such as the farmers’ association should be established. Meanwhile, the public awareness programs which target all sectors of society should be invested to empower local stakeholder. According to the institutional diagnosis and source pathway receptor model, a new water resource administrative structure is formed aiming to transform the current administrative regional management into integrated river basin management. The reform is focusing on three critical aspects which are institutional collaboration, dual leadership and stakeholder participation. It should start simultaneously from bottoms-up by establishing non-governmental water users’ associations at different levels and top-down by forming a permanent inter-ministerial coordination arrangement.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.