Tempered responsiveness through regulatory negotiations in the water sector: Managing unanticipated innovations emerging from participation reforms

Boyd Fuller, Sunil Tankha

Research output: Chapter/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

1 Citation (Scopus)


Many governments are encouraging participation, but what happens when the participatory group one government agency encourages develops a solution that places unanticipated regulatory burdens onto another agency? In the two water infrastructure cases analyzed here, government agencies in Brazil and Thailand promoted the creation of a participatory group that then developed an innovative solution to its problems. In both cases, however, that new solution required the permission of another agency in the same government, and that permission was initially withheld. The initial rejections were reasonable, given the mandate of the agencies involved, and yet they threatened the success of the participatory programs that the two governments had initiated to supplement their traditional service delivery. Luckily, in both cases the participatory groups were able to (a) apply sufficient pressure to bring the resisting agencies to the table for negotiations and (b) negotiate t” to balance its efforts to encouraging local stakeholder participation in water infrastructure development and its responsibility to protect the public interest. Tempered responsiveness requires regulators to consider and respond to stakeholder innovations while also encouraging stakeholders to be aware of and responsive to the needs and limitations of the regulatory system. Negotiations played a crucial role in enabling these successful negotiations and we argue that they will continue to do so if tempered responsiveness is to be implemented in the water sector. While more research is needed on these negotiations in developing countries, the effectiveness of these processes can, in the meantime, be improved by drawing upon the literature on public dispute resolution and negotiated rulemaking.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInfrastructure Regulation: What Works, Why and How Do We Know?
Subtitle of host publicationLessons from Asia and Beyond
EditorsDarryl S.L. Jarvis, M. Ramesh, Xun Wu, Eduardo Araral, jr.
PublisherWorld Scientific
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9789814335744, 9789814462211
ISBN (Print)9814335738, 9789814335737
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2011 by World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.All rights reserved.


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