Water Resources Management

, Volume 31, Issue 10, pp 2917–2932 | Cite as

An Evolutionary Perspective on Water Governance: From Understanding to Transformation

  • Claudia Pahl-Wostl


Many water related problems can be attributed to governance failure at multiple levels of governance rather than to the resource base itself. At the same time our knowledge on water governance systems and conditions for success of water governance reform is still quite limited. Water governance is a fast growing field of scholarly expertise which has largely developed over the past 10 to 15 years. This paper summarizes the development of the field over the past decade(s). On one hand it addresses the current state of understanding of factors that determine the success of water governance systems. On the other hand it has a strong emphasis on processes of transformation and change in water governance as governing the transformation of water governance is the key challenge in moving towards more sustainable water governance and management.


Water governance Social learning Sustainability transformation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Environmental Systems ResearchUniversity of OsnabrückOsnabrückGermany

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