Creating Cooperation through Boundary Spanning Strategies
Edited by Hans Bressers and Kris Lulofs
Within natural resource management water issues have always been in a prominent position. The reasons for that are obvious. Events like flooding of land, extreme droughts, shortage of drinking water, spread of infectious diseases and long-term problems such as inefficient irrigation and bad water quality cannot be ignored. These water-related issues reflect social challenges that had to be met centuries ago as well as today. Recently both climate change, and its impacts on water systems, and raised ambitions within the European Union (EU) caused water issues to rapidly re-enter the priority agenda. Large-scale flooding in several European countries as well as severe periods of droughts caught public attention. Serious contemporary water management challenges now have to be addressed. These include realizing huge storage locations to buffer excess water, improving irrigation works, disconnecting urbanized and rural water systems for improving water quality and restoring the ecological and natural quality of water systems. The resources for water management have not increased relative to elevated problem pressures and ambitions. Meeting the challenges requires substantial interference in society and claims on society’s resources. Water managers have to adapt to these new challenges. For the last few decades water managers were perfectly equipped to solve single water issues in a technological manner without being intrusive on other sectors of society. Now they enter into processes of negotiation and even risk conflict between water management and vested interests in society. Water managers have to reconsider their position and strategies. Often dependencies exist and this inevitably implies...