, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 249-267

Towards transition management of European water resources

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Abstract

Global change fundamentally changes the nature of water-related problems. We will illustrate this by showing how perceptions of the water-problems in the Netherlands have shifted in the past four decades. The nature of water-related problems changed from a technical problem to a so-called ‘persistent’ problem, characterized by plurality, uncertainty and complexity. Although integrated water resource management (IWRM) has been advocated to cope with this type of problem, the complexity of the transition process towards such a water management regime is often underestimated. Therefore, transition management is needed in the water sector. Transition management theory is presented and applied to the Dutch case. Transition management strategies are suggested that would reinforce this transition. Comparison between the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) and transition management indicates that the Common Implementation Strategy (CIS) in its current form is not sufficiently stimulating an innovation climate.