Tool 19


To develop strategies which have the potential to achieve the MUS vision.


To develop strategies which have the potential to achieve the MUS vision.


Step 1: Identify and list practical options and opportunities for achieving the vision during a strategy development workshop. Suggestions for options and opportunities are likely to originate from many sources. Some will be based on pre-existing practices; others might be entirely new to stakeholders. This can include the introduction or further development of technologies (see Tool 20), training (see Tool 21) etc.  

Step 2: Discuss the different options, either in plenary, or in working sub-groups. Questions to guide the discussion can include:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages for each option identified?
  • Within the spectrum of options, what do you see as the most feasible?
  • What priority would you assign to each option? What about costs?

Step 3: Assess the social, technical, political, economic and environmental acceptability and viability of these options and opportunities, especially of those that are new to stakeholders. Identify risks and constraints that could impact on whether or not strategies are likely to be successful. Risks and constraints could include slow disbursement of funds, lack of capacity, corruption, limited consideration of environmental impacts, and a host of other factors. This can be facilitated within a workshop setting, but might require more in-depth analysis by an individual or a working group.

Step 4: Evaluate which strategies have the greatest potential to achieve the vision. If the evaluation indicates that none of the strategies have the potential to achieve the vision, revise the vision.

Step 5: From the list of strategies that have the potential of achieving all, or in some cases part of the vision, devise a single broad strategy. This selection should be based on criteria that have been agreed amongst the stakeholders. Different strategies will probably benefit certain groups more than others, and some form of conflict resolution may be needed.

Step 6: Polish or refine the strategy, ensuring that budgets exist (or have the potential to exist) to cover its implementation. Ensure that the strategy has a high level of political support.


  • Facilitators can help stakeholders to avoid inappropriate strategies arising from:
    • Lack of creativity in identifying possible strategies.
    • Failure of stakeholders to identify a single common strategy to achieve their MUS vision.
    • Failure to identify any strategies capable of achieving the vision (in this case it is likely that the vision will need to be modified).
    • Capture of the process by powerful stakeholders – to the disadvantage of less powerful ones.
    • Failure to take adequate account of risks, constraints and other external factors.
    • Information collected during the assessment phase can be used to check whether options are viable.
    • Lessons learnt from earlier projects and programmes will help to identify risks and constraints.
    • It is often worthwhile to separate a complex vision into component parts before evaluating a strategy’s potential to achieve the vision.
    • During finalisation of the strategy, a consultation process is recommended to check whether there is scope for improving the strategy by mitigating risks, reducing costs, improving outcomes, or internalising externalities. This may involve incorporating ideas from strategies developed for other scenarios.


Moriarty, P. et al., 2007. The EMPOWERS Approach to Water Governance: Guidelines, Methods and Tools. Amman: INWRDAM.

Tool 2 in: Smits, S. and Mejía, T., 2011. Guía para la Planificación e Implementación de Proyectos de Usos Múltiples del Agua, The Hague / Tegucigalpa: IRC/ RASHON.