Complex Water Resources Problems
Water is a valuable resource for many uses, such as agriculture, the energy sector or private households. If different uses of water and associated land resources are not coordinated effectively, the availability of water or its quality can be affected so severely that certain types of use are restricted and ecosystems are impaired. To solve this problem, the concept of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) has become popular over the past two decades. It aims to harmonise the demands of different users and types of use. In practice, however, the implementation of IWRM is facing major challenges. Among other things, many problems have proved too complex to be solved from a predominantly water-centered perspective. A deeper integration of the objectives of water, energy and food security is therefore necessary to improve cross-sectoral governance and reduce conflicts among water users.
Increasing Good Governance
This is where the research project STEER starts. Its goal is to find innovative ways to increase good governance so as to tackle complex water resources problems effectively. New forms of coordination and cooperation are at the center of interest. STEER examines the influence of governance and management system characteristics on the solution of complex water resource problems. The impact of societal and environmental conditions is also examined in order to find out under which conditions elements of effective governance systems can be transferred. On the basis of these analyses, STEER will develop solution strategies for current usage conflicts around water resources.