• Water Governance

Building knowledge on water governance

The global water crisis is a crisis of governance. Starting from this premise, researchers at the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS) analyse water governance problems within multiple political contexts to understand conditions for equitable and ecologically sustainable water access, use, and management, keeping a particular eye on the role of development cooperation.


Water research at IDOS spans various scales, from global and international dimensions to national and local dynamics, for example surrounding the implementation of policy instruments (such as Payments for Ecosystem Services and Nature-based Solutions, governance paradigms (such as Integrated Water Resources Management and the Water-Energy-Food-nexus) and international agreements (such as the 2030 Agenda), but also local political economies of water. Our work investigates the allocation and sharing of benefits and costs from water use, the recognition of use rights, and institutional arrangements that support coordination across sectors and governance levels and that mitigate trade-offs.


We collaborate closely with partner organizations in multiple countries and are engaged in international networks and local initiatives, such as the Bonn Water Network. In addition, we provide policy advice to the German government, e.g. through reports or by commenting on strategy papers and guidelines.