Integrated Water Resources Management in the Netherlands. Historical trends and current practices in the governance of integration.
International Journal of Water Governance , Volume 1 - Issue 3/4 p. 427- 452
Dutch water management has experienced a gradual evolution in which integration has become an important objective. Recently, over a short period, the pace has quickened in the integration of water management and land-use planning practices in the Netherlands. In this article, we describe the historical evolution of integrated water resources management (IWRM) with regard to its functional dimension (the substantive dimension: the functions included in the dominant definition of water management) and its vertical dimension (the governance levels and actors involved). We compare a historical description with actual practices of integration in the context of the recently launched water management policy, the national Delta Program, aimed at improving the climate robustness of the Dutch delta. To understand the challenge of integration, we first provide a theoretical elaboration of the integration challenge in the context of IWRM. Then, we describe the evolution of integration within Dutch water management. Subsequently, we describe the Delta Program as an actual case of IWRM. Because of various political and economic conditions, this program can be seen as an interruption of the gradual trend towards more integration, both functional and vertical, in Dutch water governance.