Evolution of water governance in Bangladesh: An urban perspective

Tahmina Yasmin, Megan A. Farrelly, Briony C. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Within the context of urban transformations, water governance has received global attention due to its growing complexities in responding to wicked and multifaceted challenges, such as rapidly growing populations, increased resource demand and uncertain climate futures. To date, much of the empirical research on water governance and urban transformations has examined developed cities, with limited investigation of developing cities. This paper therefore aims to enrich current empirical insights regarding the evolution of, and key shifts within urban water governance in Bangladesh. Drawing on recent developments in sustainability transitions and urban water governance scholarship, the paper charts 250 years of water resource development in Bangladesh. Analysis of primary and secondary qualitative data sources revealed five major periods between 1757 and 2016 that represent key changes to governance approaches that underpinned sectoral changes. Although the shifts in governance approaches have cumulatively improved the adaptive capacity of Bangladesh’s urban water system, they have not been framed to provide guidance and facilitation for driving on-ground change, which may be inhibiting a sustainable transformation of Bangladesh’s urban water sector. Nevertheless, the insights do provide important foundations for informing the development of new governance models capable of dealing with multi-scale strategies for supporting a sustainability transformation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWorld Development
Issue numberSeptember 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Evolution of water governance in Bangladesh: An urban perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this