Governance in the Dutch water sector

The government has selected the Dutch Water Sector as one of the ‘top-sectors’ of the Dutch Economy, where government, research institutes and businesses work closely together to increase the added value of the sector. This triple helix cooperation ensures smart, cost-effective and commercially viable solutions for water management. 

Water governance refers, according to the UNDP, to ‘the range of political, social,  economic and administrative systems that are in place to regulate development and management of water resources and provisions of water services at different levels of society’ (UNDP, 2000). The Netherlands established a worldwide reputation in water governance to ensure water supply and safety and to e.g. manage, plan and develop coastal areas and delta regions. With the help of governmental support international public-private partnerships and water networks are formed across the globe.

The Dutch Unie van Waterschappen (Union of Water Boards) has taken the initiative to start a Water Governance Centre. Supported by the Government of the Netherlands (Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment; Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation; and Ministry of Foreign Affairs), the centre aims to make better use of the Dutch knowledge on water governance, both in the Netherlands and abroad. Simultaneously, societal changes, greater complexity of problems, competing interests and climatic change call for strengthening water governance. The centre, which opened on 20 May 2011, acts as a network organization. -