Water and society

Water plays an important role in society. Without water, people couldn't exist. Water forms our landscape and is essential for the production of crops. But where different users and goals come together, water is also a source of conflict and inequality. How we deal with water and its administrative, legal, and sociological aspects is a topic that is central to water management. Our water research goes beyond technocratic thinking: how do we ensure optimal knowledge sharing and open participation for all parties involved?

  • Water and society

Water issues in society

In India, people protested against the Warma Dam: that protest movement has been transformed into an organisation for local water and land management. In Myanmar, alternatives to dams are being sought, which, thanks to nature and tourism, can yield just as much as hydropower plants. In the Netherlands, residents along the rivers would like to participate and express their concerns about tree felling and the straightening of watercourses. In Colombia, seasonally drained areas are dammed by farmers, causing fishing communities to lose their livelihoods.

Water management is about people's vision of people and nature
Jeroen Vos

Motives and impact

It is clear that water governance is a cross-sectoral issue. Whether it is about landscape, water quality, or food production, decisions are made everywhere on multiple levels. Each decision deals with economic value, social value, administrative enforcement, legal substantiation, and political considerations. Good water management therefore not only entails devising solutions or models, but above all understanding motives and taking the impact of decisions in practice into account. A water project or study does not simply end after infrastructure, such as dikes or dams, has been built, a hydrological model has been created, or recommendations on a policy plan have been made: a plan’s implementation and the results thereof are just as important.

  • Our network and experience with large- and small-scale water projects means that we can serve to connect and facilitate between different parties and scale levels.
  • At Wageningen University & Research we work together with ecologists, hydrologists, administrative experts, sociologists, and legal experts.
  • WUR students can help you during their internship or with a graduation project.

- Unfortunately, your cookie settings do not allow videos to be displayed. - check your settings