IGS University of Twente
Research group CSTM

Water governance

The field

Sound water management is considered a prerequisite for sustainable development. Water quality, water supply, floods and water scarcity have profound impacts. Improved governance of water resources and water services is, therefore, of crucial importance for society, its people and eco-systems.
The water governance theme seeks to explore, understand and improve the efforts of societies in governing their water resources and water services. The water governance investigates how sustainable water management can be supported and improved by various dimensions and characteristics of governance in public and private spheres.  The intense diversity and at the same time interrelatedness of sectors, scales and timeframes that characterize societies are extremely visible in relation to water system, water use and water treatment.  The question of how to cope with these kind of complexities and dynamics by adaptive governance strategies enabling boundary spanning and collaboration is the core of the scientific focus of the program.
This manifests in research projects on behavioral, organizational and institutional drivers for transitional change of water systems, water use and water treatment. Multi-theoretical frameworks are adopted for this research, including theories  on the policy process, network analysis, multi-level arrangements and interactions, innovation and diffusion, public participation, policy instruments and other incentive and resource structures.
To facilitate valorization we among others participate in the national Advisory Committee on Water and the Visitation Committee on the Water Chain. We collaborate with governments, industry and the broader society. This reaches from water boards to the Dutch Delta Program and the so-called Topsector Water, one of the national innovation programs in which Dutch government, knowledge institutes and the private sector cooperate.

People involved

Cheryl de Boer

T. +31534874532
Tatiana Filatova

T. +31 53 489 3530
Jalal Mirnezami

T. +31 6 49064441

Key academic projects in progress

DROP: BENEFITS OF GOVERNANCE IN DROUGHT ADAPTATION Water scarcity and drought are on the increase and expected to aggravate further due to climate change. Early actions are required to adapt to these changes. The transnational project ’Benefit of governance in DROught adaPtation (DROP)’ aims to enhance the preparedness and resilience of Northwest European (NWE) regions to such periods of drought and water scarcity. Transnational collaboration helps to achieve these objectives by developing better solutions in a more efficient manner. DROP is a transnational project and integrates knowledge from science, policy and practice. The project is implemented through collaboration between six regional water authorities (practice partners) and five knowledge institutes (knowledge partners). NatureCoast: Nature-driven nourishment of coastal systems 2012-2017. The Sand Motor pilot project is a concentrated 21 Mm3 shore nourishment (i.e. sand deposition) at the Delfland coast (NL). This unprecedented experiment aims to protect the hinterland from flooding by letting natural processes distribute sand over shoreface, beach and dunes, thus constituting a climate-robust and environmentally friendly way of coastal protection.
The key objective of the program is to raise understanding and predictive capability regarding the various aspects of this type of shore nourishments, up to a level enabling to assess their effectiveness and to export the underlying technology worldwide. The key morphological, hydrological, geochemical, ecological and societal processes governing the evolution, feasibility and acceptability of this kind of nourishments, as well as translating this knowledge to practical guidelines and tools. CSTM focusses upon (1) the viability in national and international coastal management practices including (re-) allocating benefits and costs, (2) development of effective boundary spanning strategies, and (3) develop innovative governance arrangements.
NWO VENI (2012-2016): 'Changing climate – changing behavior' Climate change threatens economic development by increasing the probability and severity of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and Sandy, or recent European and Australian flooding. Rising hazard risks affect land-use and economic behavior in land markets potentially causing non-marginal changes. New information about risks, socio-economic dynamics, and exchange of opinions alters land-use choices and associated potential damage. This presents a major scientific challenge for current policy support tools, in which economic components are designed to tackle marginal changes and omit behavioral adaptation triggered by changing climate.

Key academic projects archive