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Governance Regime Factors Conducive to Innovation Uptake in Urban Water Management: Experiences from Europe

Ecologic Institute, Berlin D-10717, Germany
KWR Watercycle Research Institute, Nieuwegein 3430 BB, The Netherlands
SINTEF (Stiftelsen for Industriell og Teknisk Forskning), Trondheim NO-7465, Norway
CETAQUA (Centro Tecnológio de Agua) and Business and Economics Faculty of University of Barcelona, Barcelona 08940, Spain
Emschergenossenschaft, Essen 45128, Germany
DHI (Danish Hydraulic Institute), Hørsholm 2970, Denmark
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ataur Rahman
Water 2016, 8(10), 477;
Received: 5 July 2016 / Revised: 16 September 2016 / Accepted: 17 October 2016 / Published: 24 October 2016
PDF [667 KB, uploaded 25 October 2016]


Innovative ways to manage the urban water cycle are required to deal with an ageing drinking and waste water infrastructure and new societal imperatives. This paper examines the influence of water governance in enabling transformations and technological innovation uptake in urban water management. A governance assessment framework is developed and applied in three case-studies, examining different scales and types of innovations used to tackle challenges in European urban water management. The methodology combines documentary analysis and interviews to reconstruct historical storylines of the shift in the water governance of urban water management for each site. The research provides detailed empirical observations on the factors conducive to innovation uptake at the local level. Critical governance factors such as commitment to compromise, the necessity to build political support, and the role of “entrepreneurs” and coalitions are highlighted. The paper also explores the role of discursive strategies and partnership design, as well as that of regulative, economic and communicative instruments, in creating barriers and opportunities to initiate and secure change. A number of recommendations targeted at innovators and water managers are presented in the conclusion. View Full-Text
Keywords: transitions; cities; sustainability; adaptation; water governance transitions; cities; sustainability; adaptation; water governance

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Rouillard, J.; Vidaurre, R.; Brouwer, S.; Damman, S.; Ponce, A.A.; Gerner, N.V.; Riegels, N.; Termes, M. Governance Regime Factors Conducive to Innovation Uptake in Urban Water Management: Experiences from Europe. Water 2016, 8, 477.

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