Water Governance and Management Systems and the Role of Ecosystem Services: Case Study Insights—Groundwater Management in the Sandveld Region, South Africa

  • Kathrin Knüppe
  • Claudia Pahl-Wostl
Part of the Springer Water book series (SPWA)


Freshwater resources deliver a broad set of ecosystem services essential for human health and well-being, food and energy production, social and economic stability, and for protecting and maintaining ecosystems. The ever increasing demand of water resources often result in substantial declines in the provision of ecosystem services. The management of human and environmental water needs is therefore challenging and calls for an integrative view on ecosystem services. A shift of current water management objectives is required to ensure water security for current and future generations. This article analyzes water governance and management systems (WGMS) and highlights characteristics assumed to be crucial for adaptive and integrated management: (i) institutional settings, (ii) actor networks, and (iii) multi-level structures. To understand complex WGMS one has to link these characteristics to management performances including impacts on ecosystem services. We applied this approach to the Sandveld in South Africa focusing on actor networks and the management of ecosystem services. We indicate that a basic re-thinking of water management objectives at national and regional level according to groundwater sustainability took place. A bottom-up movement in the Sandveld developed approaches to protect and sustain groundwater resources. Nevertheless, cooperation between actors and sectors from different levels is weak which in turn provides a huge barrier for the integration of ecosystem services into groundwater policies.


Ecosystem Service Potato Production Administrative Level Water Governance Societal Context 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Environmental Systems ResearchUniversity of OsnabrückOsnabrückGermany

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