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IWMI Examines Role of Water Users’ Associations in Groundwater Regulation in China

November 2012: The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) has released a water policy research brief, titled "How WUAs Facilitate Direct Groundwater Regulation," which documents the role of Water Users' Associations (WUAs) in Minqin County, China. It describes the role of WUAs in issuing water permits at the household level, selecting wells to be closed, and supervising farm groups' water accounts.

The brief documents the process the Government of China took from 2007 to reduce the use of groundwater for agriculture in the region through regulation. It argues that the establishment of WUAs to manage groundwater irrigation led to a strengthened relationship between farm-level groundwater institutions and county-level water authorities. The brief underscores that the development of this relationship led to successful implementation of groundwater regulation measures.

The paper notes that despite successful policy implementation, the long-term environmental and economic impacts of the policy are not known, although the closure of wells has led to lower agricultural production. IWMI is a member of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). [Publication: How WUAs Facilitate Direct Groundwater Regulation]