AbstractAlthough good water governance (GWG) is a widely accepted concept, mistaking its principles for silver bullet approaches has hindered its successful applications. This highlights the idea that one-size-fits-all thinking does not satisfy the need to navigate toward sustainable outcomes in ever-changing complex water systems. This also indicates that endeavors toward governing water systems must be tailored to the specific context that these systems are nested within. Scholars have pointed out the importance of residents’ input in contextualizing water governance practices. With that being said, this paper proposes an innovative approach to tailoring principles of GWG to the context by building an analytical framework upon which survey research was conducted. The survey, it took input from three categories of residents, namely experts, authorities, and experienced locals. Analyzing the data led to a group decision-making problem that was approached using fuzzy risk-based multiple-attribute decision-making methods, including technique for order of preference by similarity to ideal solution and ordered weighted averaging, while considering the amount of consensus among mentioned groups. Furthermore, to validate the results of the decision-making problem analysis, additional interviews were conducted to get a more pragmatic picture of the situation. Sistan Delta in Iran was selected as a case study mainly due to the current undesirable situation and also the international social, political, and environmental significance of the area. This study aims to take the first step of rethinking water governance in the area. The results indicated that to operationalize good governance, the principles of collaboration, legitimacy, adaptability, and trust and engagement must be prior considerations to redefine the water governance structure in the Sistan region.

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