ENP-37306 Water Governance: Concepts and Practices


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper0
Group work2
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. J van Leeuwen
Lecturer(s)dr. J van Leeuwen
dr. JF Warner
dr. ir. JMC Vos
dr. D Roth
Examiner(s)dr. JF Warner
dr. ir. JMC Vos
dr. D Roth

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

ENP-23806 Sustainability Transitions: Concepts, Issues and Indicators, or LAW-10806 Law and Governance, or WRM-10306 Irrigation and Water Management.

Continuation courses:

ENP-30306 International Environmental Policy; 
WRM-31306 Water Institutions, Reforms and Equity;
LAW-30306 Globalisation and Governance;
SDC-31306 Property Rights, Natural Resources and Conflict.


Water governance is not just the ability to predict, regulate and control water flows, but more so the ability to manage and regulate the ways in which people and societies interact with water. Water cycles should therefore not be seen just as physical flows, but as hydro-social cycles: comprising of all societal interaction involved in water winning or abstraction, storage, treatment, distribution, use and consumption, collection of waste water, treatment, discharge to open waters or recycling.
This course is meant for Master students (MID, MES, MCL) who want to specialise or major in a water related topic. The course combines social as well as technical water expertise and stimulates students to work from an interdisciplinary angle. The lectures will introduce theories and concepts of water governance and contemporary water debates on various levels. Tutorial's will be geared to discussions of literature in which theories are applied in practices of water governance. Lastly individual paper writing help students to position themselves in contemporary debates around water governance.
While the emphasis of the course is on the way people and societies interact with water, there is a deliberatively wide scope of the course. It ranges from rural to urban, local to global water governance, and from water related laws and institutions to social-technical innovations. Case studies of water governance include waste water and irrigation systems; urban water supply and sanitation; and ground water and river basin management in both Northern (OECD) and Southern (non-OECD) contexts.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- interpret the theories and concepts underlying multiple levels of water goverance and contemporary global water debates;
- retrieve the concepts and theories to describe, understand and analyse processes of socio-technical change in hydro-social cycles and legal regulation of water resources as well as the definitions of water rights;
- through the study of literature, and the writing of papers on case studies, apply concepts of socio-technical change, legal regulation and water rights in urban water supply, sanitation; irrigation systems, ground water subtraction or river basin management in both Northern (OECD) and Southern (non-OECD) contexts;
- position themselves in (policy) debates about various modes of water governance in urban water supply, sanitation; irrigation systems, ground water subtraction or river basin management in both Northern (OECD) and Southern (non-OECD) contexts.


- in a series of 7 lectures by lecturers from SDC, WRM and ENP, students will become acquainted with public, private and distributed modes of water governance and legislative water issues;
- 6 tutorials will be geared to discuss literature in which these models and theories are applied in various contexts of water governance;
- writing an individual paper on a chosen subject, supervision by one of the 3 chair groups participating in the course;
- 2 supervised peer review sessions with groups of appr. 6 students.


- paper (50%);
- two individual tests (40%);
- participation in tutorials and peer review (10%).
To pass each component requires a minimum mark of 5.5.


See course guide.

Restricted Optional for: MILInternational Land and Water ManagementMScD: Spec. D - Flexible Configurations for Innovative Minds3WD
MILInternational Land and Water ManagementMScC: Spec. C - Adaptive Water Management3WD
MESEnvironmental SciencesMScD: Spec. D - Human-Environmental Systems3WD
MCLClimate StudiesMScE: Spec. E - Climate, Society and Economics3WD
Restricted Optional for: WUNCGBSc Minor Natural Resource Conflict and Governance3WD