Water management values

Published: 18 August 2015

Over a period of four years, researchers will be working under the auspices of the programme of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research for socially responsible innovation. They will be designing a method for identifying the ethical values of both public and private stakeholders and the inclusion of those values in decision-making for water management.

They will develop a concrete framework that will then be tested in the Netherlands and Mozambique. Mozambique was selected for reasons of cultural diversity but also on pragmatic grounds because the right contacts are available there.
The project will be led by Dr. Virginia Dignum of Delft University of Technology. Alongside Deltares, Essence knowledge management, Royal HaskoningDHV and the De Dommel water authority will also be on the project team.

Shared values

Good water management depends on balancing the varying, and often conflicting, interests of the general public, farmers, drinking water companies and industry. Although these interests appear to be irreconcilable at first sight, they are often based on shared values: fair shares or safety, for example. The question is not which interest must prevail but which values we should adopt as a basis for decision-making.

Designing new technology

The NWO programme for socially responsible innovation is financing and encouraging research that looks directly at ethical and social factors during the design of new technology. This study is also linked to the Dutch water top sector.