Decision-making tool

Water Governance and Climate

Publication on new water security standards

Knowledge for Climate (Kennis voor Klimaat)

In preparation for the government decision on the new water security standards, the research institute Knowledge for Climate commissioned Twynstra to write a publication to support the decision-making process. The aim of the publication was to better inform Dutch decision-makers, journalists and the general public about the upcoming fundamental changes in water security regulation: Economic Efficient Flood Standards (Franz Edelman Award 2013). In addition to providing an explanation of the technical changes, the publication also highlighted the dilemmas and discussion points of the new water security standards that – at that point in time – were still open for public debate.


Structuring views and opinions

As an interface between science and politics, Twynstra informed political decision-makers about the technical aspects of the new water security standards while also indicating the issues that could be debated. As experts in the water sector who also have an expertise in the political decision-making process, our added value lay in structuring the views and opinions of scientists, government officials and politicians into three comprehensive dilemmas. Based on semi-structured surveys and a literature review, the publication discussed three ethical dilemmas: prioritisation (1) between individual casualties, group casualties and economic loss, (2) between dukes, spatial planning measures or evacuation, and (3) between short-term or long-term investments.


  • Created insight in the various views and opinions with regard to the new water security standards
  • Functioned as an interface for public debate between scientists, government officials and politicians
  • Closed the knowledge gap of decision-makers and members of parliament about the new water security standards
  • Encouraged informed decision-making by explaining technical regulations using three dilemmas
  • Provided comprehensive background information for journalists and interested citizens.

Water governance

Water governance is about knowing how to deal with water and knowing how to organise multi-(p)layer collaboration. Water governance requires a proactive approach in which technical measures are embedded in a social and political context. Twynstra’s extensive experience shows that successful water management relies on shared responsibilities, cooperation between the players involved, integrative solutions and the need for broad support among stakeholders to facilitate implementation of the technical measures and make them effective in the long term. Our approach towards water governance is heavily based on our experience that in order to be successful, actions need to be embedded in a social context. We believe collaboration between government, society and engineers is essential to successful water governance.