Research

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.

Key academic projects in progress

DROP: Benefits of governance in drought adaptation

http://www.dropproject.eu/

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

http://www.naturecoast.nl/home

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.

NWO VENI (2012-2016): 'Changing climate – changing behavior'


NWO VENI (2012-2016) - €250.000

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.

The VENI project addresses this gap by incorporating adaptive expectations about land market dynamics and evolution of individual risk perception into land-use models. Within this project I develop spatial agent-based models linking increasing climate-induced risks with empirically-grounded adaptive behavior. It uniquely combines knowledge from land-use modeling, spatial economics, climate change research, agent-based modeling, and theories of behavior under uncertainty. Data from hedonic analysis of past housing transactions and data about potential dynamics of future risk perception derived from human subjects’ experiments is being employed.

The project focuses on urban coastal and delta areas in the Netherlands and USA. Its broader scientific goal is to explore and manage aggregated effects of individual risk perception dynamics in hazard-prone areas, providing new policy support tools for climate adaptation.

Collaborating institutions: East Carolina University (USA)Deltares (NL)

PADUCO: Palestinian-Dutch Academic Cooperation Program on Water (2013-2019)

Water resources in Palestine are under increasing stress due to a combination of factors, such as increasing demand, economic development, population growth, climate change, and pollution from untreated wastewater. The Palestinian water sector is therefore to adapt drastically in order to meet the challenges ahead. Against this background, PADUCO has been established in 2012 by five Palestinian and five Dutch universities with the objective of contributing to a self-sustaining, self-reliant Palestinian water sector in terms of institution building, resource management and improved service delivery. The two underlying principles that are adopted within PADUCO are transdisciplinarity that engages knowledge institutes, government, civil society and private organizations in applied research; and intersectorality that addresses the linkages of water with environment, agriculture, energy, land use and climate change. Within the first phase (2013-2016), the PADUCO team carried out eleven joint research projects, reviewed the possibility for establishing a PhD program on water, assessed existing education and training programs, and implemented six joint activities to improve the educational and training capacities. Upon the successful completion of the first phase, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs approved the second phase of PADUCO, which started in October 2016 and will continue until December 2019.

CSTM has been the national coordinator of PADUCO starting from its initiation, and involved in the following projects and activities within the first phase:

  • Assessment of water governance in the West Bank (Hans Bressers, Gül Özerol)
  • Renewable energy for wastewater treatment in Nablus (Joy Clancy, Gül Özerol)
  • Gender empowerment for the use of treated wastewater in agriculture (Joy Clancy, Gül Özerol)
  • International workshop on the gender dimension of water-energy-food nexus in the MENA region (Joy Clancy, Gül Özerol)
  • Effect of land-use/land-cover change on the future of rainfed agriculture in Jenin (Gül Özerol)
  • Governing the reuse of treated wastewater in irrigation: The case study of Jericho (MSc thesis co-supervised by Gül Özerol)
  • Impacts of using treated wastewater on rainfed agriculture in Jenin (MSc thesis co-supervised by Gül Özerol)
  • Socio-economic impacts of climate change on rainfed agriculture in Jenin (MSc thesis co-supervised by Gül Özerol)

PARTNERS