Groundwater governance comprises the promotion of responsible collective action to ensure control, protection and socially- sustainable utilization of groundwater resources and aquifer systems for the benefit of humankind and dependent ecosystems.
Groundwater governance involves identifying goals and policies, providing institutions and procedures, assigning dedicated personnel and financial resources, promoting stakeholder participation, and taking responsibility for outcomes. Comprehensive groundwater governance is critical to preventing and mitigating groundwater threats.
There are three types of policies that impact groundwater governance:
- Regulatory or command-and -control policy instruments such as ownership and property right assignments and regulations for water use are compulsory.
- Economic policy instruments make use of financial (dis-) incentives such as groundwater pricing, trading water rights or pollution permits, and subsidies and taxes.
- Voluntary/ advisory policy instruments are those that motivate voluntary actions or behavioral changes without direct financial incentives.