Summary Water management is akin to conflict management among human beings and between human beings and their environment. Water and river basin management systems are created to avoid, prevent or resolve such conflicts. Humankind needs to learn to live with these conflicts and deal with them adequately. All the more so since the relative scarcity of water will become ever more pressing as time goes on, as a result of economic growth, social demands and climate change. Competition between users will become ever more intense and ruthless, so that legislation and institutions to manage the system satisfactorily will become an absolute necessity. To implement processes of integrated water and river basin management it is necessary to form alliances or agreements with many actors who normally act independently by sector, and in areas defined according to administrative and political criteria which do not coincide with the limits of the river basins. It is often difficult to co-ordinate these actors in Latin American and Caribbean countries due to the existence of a vast informal sector of the population which neither complies with the legal norms nor responds to the economic instruments that are used in the countries more advanced in their organizations for water resources management and use. River basin management and the creation and operation of organizations for water resources management at the river basin level is one of the central areas of work, both in terms of policy-oriented research and technical advisory activities, of the Natural Resources and Infrastructure Division. These technical advisory activities and policy-oriented research have resulted in many studies on various aspects of river basin management and the creation and operation of river basin organizations (see Annex 1), but most of them are available only in Spanish. The objective of this publication is to make a summary of this research available in English.