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The ‘Glocal’ Water Governance Research Agenda consists of two separate but synergising projects. The first research project 'Water Justice and Beyond' contributes to the work of the Global Commission on the Economics of Water and is aiming to redefine the way we value and govern water for the common good. The second research project ‘Water Allocation, Rights and Institution Study’ reviews a small sample of countries regarding the nature and effectiveness of the current legal, regulatory, and administrative practices in the application of water valuation and water allocation.
Governance and Inclusive Development

Research project 1: 'Water justice and Beyond'

June 2022 – June 2024

This research project is linked to the work of the Global Commission on the Economics of Water  (GCEW) and is aiming to redefine the way we value and govern water for the common good. The commission has and will present evidence and pathways for changes in policy, business approaches and global collaboration to support climate and water justice, sustainability, and food-energy-water security.

Completing the sustainability trilogy that began with the Stern Review on the economics of climate change and the Dasgupta Review on the economics of biodiversity, the Review by the Global Commission will provide a fundamental reassessment of the way we manage and value water, and its intrinsic role in addressing climate change and other global challenges.

The Commission’s first reports were published at the UN’s 2023 Water Conference and will inform the launch of a “Water Action Agenda”. The project will provide several deliverables such as: an action agenda to spur change globally, among governments, local authorities, industry, finance, multilateral institutions, and non-state actors and supporting documents.

Led by prof. dr. Joyeeta Gupta, who is commissioner at the GCEW, the project will particularly contribute to the work on water justice. Looking at the core elements of water justice from local to global level, and how do these elements link, compare, and contrast with each other.


Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO)).

UvA project team

Prof. dr. J. (Joyeeta) Gupta

Project lead

Dr. H.J. (Hilmer) Bosch

Postdoctoral researcher

L.W. (Luc) van Vliet

Junior researcher

Research project 2: 'Water Allocation, Rights and Institution Study’

September 2022 – December 2024

A key challenge in water resources management is the distribution of water among its manifold users. Addressing all the different needs complicates defining an optimal or effective water allocation arrangement. Not only biophysical factors need to be considered (such as quantity) but also socio-economic, political and cultural factors.

Therefore, ways of (re)allocating water vary between countries, scales and levels, resource type (e.g., surface or ground water), and uses, to name a few. Accordingly, there is no single best way to allocate water and countries have developed their own formal (documented in laws) or informal ways of allocation – some countries do not yet possess a formalized and transparent allocation system. However, optimal (re)allocation continues to be a challenge. It includes but is not limited to defining an understanding on how water should be governed, establishing new and considering existing property rights, de facto or quasi property rights (trough contracts and permits), considering local believes on water resources and their value, and addressing the governance capacity and infrastructural facilities.

These considerations should be reflected in the water (re)allocation system in way that point towards effective, efficient, equitable and legitimate allocation.

This project aims to (a) provide a taxonomy of water rights, (b) study water (re)allocation systems, (c) work with selected case studies to analyse practices, and (d) document existing practices and propose considerations for the water allocation systems.


Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Waterstaat (IenW)).

UvA project team

Prof. dr. J. (Joyeeta) Gupta

Project lead

Dr A.B. (Andrea) Mueller

Postdoctoral researcher

A.A.K. (Aljoscha) Karg

Student assistant

IHE-Delft Institute for Water Education:

  • Prof. dr. G. (Guy) Alaerts – project lead
  • Dr. L. (Leon) Hermans – project lead
  • Dr. N. (Nora) Van Cauwenbergh – project lead
  • Dr. J. (Jonatan) Godinez Madrigal – postdoc

Wageningen University and Research:

  • Prof. P. (Petra) Hellegers – water resources management expert