This article analyses the relation between the 1992 Dublin Principles, integrated water planning, and water law. The Dublin Principles were an attempt to concisely state the main issues and purpose of water management in the following terms: fresh water is a finite and vulnerable resource, essential to sustain life, development and the environment; water development and management should be based on a participatory approach, involving users, planners and policy makers at all levels; women play a central part in the provision, management, and safeguarding of water; and water has an economic value in all its competing uses and should be recognized as an economic good. The article does not seek to endorse any single given model or solution, but to provide a set of alternatives and experiences which may be of use to readers desiring information on institutional aspects of water management. Globally, water law provides examples of systemic approaches to water resources which include, more or less comprehensively, principles and norms relating to integrated water management and planning. However, the forms of approach and degrees of development differ. Among the main differences are those relating to the ethical aspects of integrated water management, the capabilities of water management agencies, the generally scanty level of public participation, information, water rights and planning, water pricing, and the limits of planning.