Multilevel Water Governance

The Hague Academy for Local Governance Water governance

Target Audience

This course is intended for policy makers and technical staff of organisations responsible for water management at different levels. Participants come national, regional and local governements, water authorities, service companies, NGOs and donor and development organisations.


Water provision and governance of water involve complex institutional systems and coordination between different levels of government. In many countries, reforms for effective water management are hampered by an unclear allocation of roles and responsibilities, territorial fragmentation and limited capacity at the local level. Moreover, adding to the challenge of good water governance is the impact of climate change and its effects on water, food and energy resources.

This course discusses how water resources and services can be managed and allocated in an efficient and equitable way. The course will take into account the institutional context and focus on the five building blocks for sound water governance: a powerful administrative organisation, a legally embedded system, an adequate financing system based on economic analyses of water services, a systematic planning approach and participation of stakeholders.

During various field visits, you have the opportunity to see examples of integrated water management, public-private cooperation and citizen engagement. At the Maeslantkering, a storm surge barrier, you will learn first-hand about managing high water levels and increasing flood safety. You will also go deeper into the Dutch experience with water management during a visit to a local water authority and a walking tour through sand dunes that contribute to the treatment of drinking water. Moreover, by visiting a horticulture project, you will see a practical example of innovation in irrigation and climate adaptation.

Learning Objectives

This course will help you to:

  • Acquire the knowledge, concepts and principles of integrated, multilevel water governance;
  • Identify instruments for increasing social and financial accountability of water management and water services;
  • Increase insight in the legal, political and institutional framework affecting water governance in your context;
  • Become acquainted with assessment tools and new approaches for dealing with the challenges of water governance;
  • Broaden your knowledge of international best practices in the field of multilevel water governance.