Water Policy and Politics - 2 ECTS

This online course is aimed at graduate programme and PhD candidates who want to deepen their knowledge about policy and governance theories in relation to water issues. Selected policy and governance theories will be discussed and applied to water issues.

Organised by Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS)

Wed 24 May 2023 until Fri 26 May 2023

Room Lumen 5 (Hybrid)

Part of the Wageningen Water Politics Week

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
• Explain selected theories of public policy and governance and apply them to water issues
• Analyse water policies, water reforms and water management practices in terms of public policy and governance concepts
• Assess water policies and governance arrangements in terms of effectiveness, equity and resilience

Learning activities

  • Lectures on selected public policy and governance theories, including presentation and discussion of key texts by the students.
  • Tutorials: Joint discussion and analysis of particular studies of water policies, water reforms and water management practices.
  • Individual paper: Writing an individual research paper, discussing applications of public policy and governance theories to water issues.


    Assessment will be based on an individual paper (maximum 4000 words), in which you apply the discussed theories to a case study. In doing so, you critically discuss the value and limitations of these theoretical perspectives for studying water policy and governance.

    The paper will be graded according to the extent it:

    • applies the theoretical perspectives appropriately and insightfully to the case (40%)
    • critically discusses the value and limitations of the theoretical perspectives for studying water policy and governance (20%)
    • develops clearly formulated theoretical arguments (20%)
    • is well-structured, well-written and well-referenced (20%)


      Lecture 1

      Hayward, C., & Lukes, S. (2008). Nobody to shoot? Power, structure, and agency: A dialogue. Journal of Power, 1(1), 5–20.

      Vij, S., Warner, J. F., Biesbroek, R., & Groot, A. (2019). Non-decisions are also decisions: power interplay between Bangladesh
      and India over the Brahmaputra River. Water International, 1–21.

      Lecture 2

      Dewulf, A., Karpouzoglou, T., Warner, J., Wesselink, A., Mao, F., Vos, J., Tamas, P., Groot, A. E., Heijmans, A., Ahmed, F., Hoang, L., Vij,
      S., & Buytaert, W. (2019). The power to define resilience in social–hydrological systems: Toward a power‐sensitive resilience framework.
      WIREs Water, 6(6), 210.

      Mao, F., Clark, J., Karpouzoglou, T., Dewulf, A., Buytaert, W., & Hannah, D. M. (2017). HESS Opinions: A conceptual framework for
      assessing socio-hydrological resilience under change. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 21(7), 3655–3670.

      Lecture 3

      Rap, E., & Wester, P. (2013). The practices and politics of making policy: Irrigation management transfer in Mexico. Water Alternatives,
      6(3), 506–531.

      Colebatch, H. K. (2006). What work makes policy? Policy Sciences, 39(4), 309–321.


      Contact hours
      Wed 24 May 14.00-15.45 CET - Introduction to the course
      Lecture Dr. Jeroen Warner and Dr. Sumit Vij
      - Power and politics in water policy-making
      16.00-17.00 CET Tutorial: Discussion of participants’ cases
      Thu 25 May 14.00-15.45 CET Lecture Prof. Art Dewulf
      - The power to define resilience in social-hydrological systems
      16.00-17.00 CET Tutorial: Discussion of participants’ cases
      Fri 26 May 14.00-15.45 CET Lecture Dr. Jeroen Vos
      - Researching water policy making as a political process
      16.00-17.00 CET Tutorial: Discussion of participants’ cases

      Course fees

      WGS PhDs with TSP € 220
      PhD candidates from low income or lower middle income countries € 220
      All other PhD candidates, postdocs and staff of the above mentioned Graduate Schools € 450
      All others € 700

      Cancellation conditions:

      Participants can cancel their registration free of charge 1 month before the course starts. A cancellation fee of 100% applies if a participant cancels his/her registration less than 1 month prior to the start of the course.

      The organisers have the right to cancel the course no later than one month before the planned course start date in the case that the number of registrations does not reach the minimum.

      The participants will be notified of any changes at their e-mail addresses.