For a long time, water shortages and flooding have been challenges in many parts of China. Meanwhile, the Chinese government announced the change of water management from engineering-oriented approach towards integrated approach in the last decades. However, the announced changes in management approach does not necessarily lead to the wide implementation of institutions, infrastructures and practice. They can be confronted by a strong resistance from the existing management approach. In fact, the development of water resources management is a complex process. Such a complexity raise the following questions: did fundamental changes really take place in the structure of water supply and demand management and flood management in China? If yes, how? In order to answer this question, the author (1) developed conceptual frameworks to enable a detailed and precise analysis of regime development; (2)applied the elaborated conceptual frameworks to explore the development of the water resources management regime in China, at the example of three case studies. These three case studies were: - Flood Management (IFM) took place in the Dongting Lake Area in the middle Yangtze River, - Water allocation in the Yellow River Basin, - The experimentation period of Water Saving Society in China. With the support of the developed framework, the case studies show that fundamental changes, i.e. transitions, have taken place in flood management regime and water supply-demand regime in China, but transitions have not yet completed, due to, namely, the lack of reconfiguration of other regime components and other relevant regimes. In addition, the case studies also depict how the start of transitions were triggered and how informal learning processes influenced regime development. The thesis contributed to sustainability transitions research by developing an operational approach to analyze transitions of water resource management regime and by expanding the empirical basis for transitions research to natural resources management regime in emerging economies.
Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie