Water Resources Management

, Volume 28, Issue 9, pp 2599–2613 | Cite as

Do We Need to Rethink Our Waterways? Values of Ageing Waterways in Current and Future Society

  • Arjan HijdraEmail author
  • Jos Arts
  • Johan Woltjer


In the past canals were developed, and some rivers were heavily altered, driven by the need for good transportation infrastructure. Major investments were made in navigation locks, weirs and artificial embankments, and many of these assets are now reaching the end of their technical lifetime. Since then the concept of integrated water resource management (IWRM) emerged as a concept to manage and develop water-bodies in general. Two pressing problems arise from these developments: (1) major reinvestment is needed in order to maintain the transportation function of these waterways, and (2), it is not clear how the implementation of the concept of IWRM can be brought into harmony with such reinvestment. This paper aims to illustrate the problems in capital-intensive parts of waterway systems, and argues for exploring value-driven solutions that rely on the inclusion of multiple values, thus solving both funding problems and stakeholder conflicts. The focus on value in cooperative strategies is key to defining viable implementation strategies for waterway projects.


Waterways Ageing assets Value creation IWRM Inland navigation 



The authors wish to thank Ford Professor Lawrence Susskind of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his inspiring ideas, reflections and comments. Furthermore, the authors wish to credit Bas de Leeuw and Tjeerd Burger for assisting in the interview process. Rijkswaterstaat, the Dutch agency responsible for the national highways, waterways and water system, sponsored the research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RijkswaterstaatUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Faculty of Spatial SciencesUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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