Lecture: Water management

Traditional rain water tanks in Cambodia.
Red Cross Water Project, Vel Thboung, March 2005

The allocation of water as a scarce resource is a fundamental problem in human development.

Different from the industrialized world, developing countries very often lack effective political, economic and social institutions to regulate access to water and avoid conflicts.

Owing to their geographic location among others, developing countries are also more vulnerable to the effects of climate change which has put further strains on scarce water resources.


The course discusses problems, solutions and challenges of water and irrigation in the development world. We will hear experts and test Ostrom’s approach in a live simulation.

The course is divided along three questions or themes

  1. Water and irrigation in rural communities. We compare various allocation systems (market, regulation, collective action).
  2. How can water allocation work in urban areas? The role of utilities, their maintenance and efficiency of urban water systems.
  3. What has been the impact of development aid (e.g. MDG 7) on national and on community level?

Please note: Summer term 2016 will be the last lecture I will give on this topic. I will be abroad until March 2018.


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