Transforming urban water governance through social (triple‐loop) learning 

The sustainable development of cities is threatened by a worldwide water crisis. Improved social learning is urgently needed to transform urban water governance and make it more integrated and adaptive. However, empirical studies remain few and fragmented. 

Env Pol Gov. (2019);1–11

A water-function-based framework for understanding and governing water resilience in the Anthropocene

The freshwater cycle over land is fundamental for sustainability and resilience, yet is extensively modified andshaped by a vast range of human interventions in the land, water, and climate systems. The consequences of human water-cycle modifications can be non-linear, delayed, and distributed across boundaries, sectors,and scale. This complexity renders freshwater challenges difficult to govern and manage. We here propose a framework for understanding water’s many functions for supporting, regulating, and stabilizing hydro-climatic, hydro-ecological, and hydro-social systems. This framework recognizes human impacts on major partitioning points, interactions among water functions, and stabilization and destabilization processes. A functional understanding of the freshwater cycle can integrate with social-ecological resilience-building principles, complement existing water sustainability governance approaches, and highlight the potential need for Earth-system-level governance of water. Recognizing water’s diverse functional roles for resilience may promote a new generation of holistic and integrative water-land-climate governance.

Malin Falkenmark 1and Lan Wang-Erlandsson 1,2,*1 Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden 2 Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden*Correspondence:[email protected]://

Water Governance in the Face of Global Change: From Understanding to Transforming 

Which factors determine adaptive and transformative capacity of (water) resource governance and management systems? What are requirements for multi-level social and societal learning processes? How to govern the transition to sustainable water management and to which extent can transformative change be governed? 

Clusters of water governance problems and their effects on policy delivery 

Public policy problems are increasingly being characterised as wicked or tame problems, assuming that this classification is also meaningful for attempts to effective problem-solving. But do distinct ‘wicked’ or ‘tame’ problems empirically exist?

We investigate 37 water-related problems in Germany, based on interview-based data on problem wickedness and official data on policy delivery. Our analysis clearly reveals four clusters of water governance problems (system complexity, uncertainty, tame and wicked problems), based on variations of three factors of wickedness (goals, uncertainty and system complexity). These clusters of problems vary in their effects on different dimensions of policy delivery (goal formulation, stages and degrees of implementation of measures), with significant effects on goal formulation and the number of measures ‘in construction’. 

Policy and Society,38:2, 255-277, DOI: 10.1080/14494035.2019.1586081

Perspektiven, Rechtsrahmen, Branchenbild, Strategisches Management von Wasserversorgungsunternehmen

Systems perspectives on water security: 

An applied review and conceptual framework

This article proposes a conceptual framework for understanding the resilience of water security at the scale of a river basin, thereby contributing to the ongoing schol-arship on water security.

Based on literature review, we apply systems thinking and resilience theories to encapsulate water security in a river basin as a system whosebehaviour depends on the interaction of the component parts and the environmentwithin which it occurs. The proposed framework has been built on the tenet that theresilience of any system such as that for water security depends on the interactions(the relationships) of the components of the particular system.

Env Pol Gov. 2020;1–13. https://doi. org/10.1002/eet.1889

Rechtsrahmen für die Wasserwirtschaft

Das Menschenrecht auf Wasser, dessen EU-rechtliche Einführung und Auswirkungen auf die Wasserwirtschaft 

Branchenbild der bundesdeutschen Wasserwirtschaft und Sektorenanalyse anhand von Fallbeispielen


Das Branchenbild dokumentiert die im europäischen und internationalen Vergleich hohe Leistungsfähigkeit der deutschen Wasserwirtschaft. Diese gilt es dauerhaft auf dem erreichten hohen Niveau zu halten und – wo immer möglich und nötig – zu verbessern.

Arbeitsgemeinschaft Trinkwassertalsperren e. V. (ATT) Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft e. V. (BDEW) Deutscher Bund der verbandlichen Wasserwirtschaft e. V. (DBVW) Deutscher Verein des Gas- und Wasserfaches e. V. – Technisch-wissenschaftlicher Verein (DVGW) Deutsche Vereinigung für Wasserwirtschaft, Abwasser und Abfall e. V. (DWA) Verband kommunaler Unternehmen e. V. (VKU) , 2020

The lack of strategic sustainability orientation in German
water companies 


Water-supply and distribution companies (WSC) are dealing with one of the most crucial natural resources. That
is why the German national sustainability strategy highlights water as one of the priority fields of action.

In Germany, WSC show characteristics of natural monopoly. 
The distinct separation between public institutions
and the private sector as well as municipal operators being responsible for practicing special functions is
characteristic for the German water economy. From an evolutionary perspective it is of interest how German
WSC implement sustainability strategically. Therefore, strategic concepts and tools facing sustainability (e.g.
ISO 14001, Reporting, and Balanced Scorecard etc.) were analysed and evaluated in the context of the water
Using literature studies and web analysis the relevant data of 110 German WSC was put together. 
A cross-sectional design was used in order to find patterns. Possible gaps are highlighted and ongoing steps to
foster sustainability are stressed. This study points out a sustainable management is just marginally implemented.
The results obviously show that there are differences between large companies and SMEs facing sustainability
requirements. WSC having own regenerative power generation and an integrative thinking of farming and
water supply, are part of good practice. 

Ecological Economics 117 (2015) 39–52


Energy Water Food Nexus

Climate change adaptation

Water Policy

Water Governance

Projected freshwater needs of the energy sector in the European Union and the UK 

Increasing water stress will intensify competition between water uses. A lack or an excess of water may undermine the functioning of the energy and food production sectors with societal and economic effects. Energy and water are inextricably linked: we need “water for energy” for cooling thermal power plants, energy storage, biofuels production, hydropower, enhanced oil recovery, etc., and we need “energy for water” to pump, treat and desalinate. Without energy and water, we cannot satisfy basic human needs, produce food for a rapidly growing population and achieve economic growth. Producing more crops per drop to meet present and future food demands means developing new water governance approaches. 
The Water Energy Food and Ecosystem Nexus (WEFE Nexus) flagship project addresses in an integrated way the interdependencies and interactions between water, energy, agriculture, as well as household demand. These interactions have been so far largely underappreciated. The WEFE-Nexus can be depicted as a way to overcome stakeholders’ view of resources as individual assets by developing an understanding of the broader system. It is the realization that acting from the perspective of individual sectors cannot help tackle future societal challenges. 
The overall objective of the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems Nexus flagship project (WEFE-Nexus) is to help in a systemic way the design and implementation of European policies with water dependency. By combining expertise and data from across the JRC it will inform cross-sectoral policy making on how to improve the resilience of water-using sectors such as energy, agriculture and ecosystems. 

JRC Technical Report European Commission , 2020

Trinkwasser: Wirtschaftsgut oder Menschenrecht - eine wirtschaftsethische Betrachtung

Unter Bezugnahme des „Capability Ansatzes“ von Martha Nussbaum und der„Integrativen Wirtschaftsethik“ Peter Ulrichs

Der Fokus dieser Arbeit liegt darauf, den Zwiespalt den die Behandlung der Ressource Wasser als Menschenrecht, wie auch als ökonomisches Gut durch die fortschreitende Privatisierung mit sich bringt, darzulegen und einer wirtschaftsethischen Betrachtung zu unterziehen. Diese Thematik wird sowohl durch die Brille des Capability Approaches,von Martha Nussbaum, wie auch der Integrativen Wirtschaftsethik Peter Ulrichs, betrachtet und analysiert (vgl. Ranftl 2018, 5).

Auf dem Weg zu einem globalen Wasserregime

Regimetheoretische Erklärungen und praktische Anforderungen nach 30 Jahren globaler Wasserpolitik

"...In einem dreistufigen Verantwortungskonzept hat sich die Bedeutung von Institutionen bewiesen, die in modernen Gesellschaften wichtiger Bezugspunkt für die Übernahme von Mit-Verantwortung sind. Insbesondere in Bereichen unzureichender Institutionalisierung müssen die Ebenen individueller Verantwortung sowie die ‚der kritischen Öffentlichkeit‘ verstärkt greifen. Es wurde bereits angedeutet, dass dies auch auf die ungenügende Institutionalisierung im Rahmen globaler Wasserpolitik bis auf Weiteres zutrifft. Schließlich wurde dargelegt, dass eine vollständige Ethik ihre eigenen Anwendungsbedingungen mitreflektieren, für den Erfolg des Moralischen eintreten und hierfür auch Orientierungsleistung entfalten muss. Dabei ist es geboten, trotz strategischem Eintreten für das Moralische die Grenzen der Zustimmungswürdigkeit nicht zu übertreten.
nsbesondere mit Blick auf den Anwendungsdiskurs sind Institutionen von zentraler Bedeutung, weil günstige institutionelle Rahmenbedingungen entscheidend für die Implementierung moralischer Forderungen sind, ungünstige hingegen moralisch problematische Ergebnisse hervorbringen, die beispielsweise zur Übernutzung natürlicher Ressourcen wie Wasser führen. Insofern ist nicht mehr und nicht weniger geleistet worden, als einen kohärenten normativen Rahmen zur Erfassung und Orientierung für Probleme so komplex wie die globale Wasserkrise und ihre möglichen Bearbeitungsformen einzuführen. Dabei schwankten die Ausführungen zur Diskursethik zwischen dem Nachzeichnen moderner, das heißt oft wenig intuitiver, philosophischer Argumentationsfiguren und lebensweltlicher Relevanz hin und her"  (Schmidt 2012, 35f.).

Fachbereich Politik-und Sozialwissenschaften der Freien Universität Berlin, Otto-Suhr-Institut für Politikwissenschaft 
Berlin , 2012