Ethics of Water Governance

Water is essential for human life. However, due to its scarcity, the management of water is a topic of great concern. Inadequate management may lead to famines, food insecurity, ecological destruction, and resource-based conflicts and eventually to human suffering and the loss of millions of human lives. At the same time, the risk of flooding is, in some areas at least, equally or even more urgent.

Both water scarcity and flood risks pose some pressing distributive questions: allocation and distribution of resources, access rights, distribution of flood risks, distribution of responsibilities. These are questions that cannot be answered on the basis of technical data only. It is increasingly recognized that an adequate management of water requires that the institutional constraints and juridical context be taken into account, with due attention for issues of equity and social justice.

In our research on the ethics of water governance, we aim to bring together research that may contribute to the development of an integrated account of water governance, linking insights from policy sciences, new institutional economics, (international) law, ethics and applied science, technology and engineering. By including different perspectives, we hope to contribute to the articulation of detailed and useful moral principles of water governance, and so help solving the water crisis.


This site is maintained by Neelke Doorn. If you have any questions, suggestions for cooperation, or joint research activities, please contact me at N.Doorn[at]

Scroll to top