Governance and Complexity in Water Management
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Governance and Complexity in Water Management

Creating Cooperation through Boundary Spanning Strategies

Edited by Hans Bressers and Kris Lulofs

The premise of this book is that careful reconsideration of strategies to achieve water management ambitions, together with more in-depth knowledge on the theories and practices of boundary spanning, could bring solutions for contemporary water problems within reach.
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Chapter 8: Linking Natural Science-based Knowledge to Governance Strategy: A Case of Regional Water Depletion Analyzed

Mirjam van Tilburg


Mirjam van Tilburg INTRODUCTION 8.1 This chapter is focused on the boundary between natural science-based knowledge and decision-making processes in water management. Handling complex water issues in a rational manner requires both in-depth knowledge of water systems and transfer and adoption of that knowledge in policies. In a narrow view it is often assumed that natural science-based water system knowledge facilitates water governance. On the one hand, seen from this perspective, more information leads to better decisions. On the other hand, water managers have to line up with actors in society and their cognitions and motivations in order to be able to collect the needed resources for policy interventions, such as money, legal rights and support. When science is considered in a broader view, it might also be used by water managers for persuasion or for rallying support in interaction processes. Also stakeholders might choose to juggle science in order to influence, delay or obstruct decision making. In this chapter the use of natural science-based knowledge as a strategic instrument in policy-making processes is elaborated. Core questions that will be addressed are: ● ● ● What is the position of scientific models that are limited to relations that link interventions to (improvements of) water system conditions? What happens when scientific knowledge is out of the hand of scientists and used as a tool by policy makers in participatory processes? What are the lessons with regard to the use and exchange of natural science-based knowledge and participative processes? 135 136 Governance and complexity in...

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