Water Resources Management

You will study the ways in which water availability and use are matched, and seek to develop alternative land use and water allocation policies, including legal and institutional arrangements from the local watershed to the basin scale and beyond.     

  • D

    What is Delft based

    This programme will run entirely at UNESCO-IHE in Delft, the Netherlands

  • J
  • E

Delft based, IHE Delft, The Netherlands18 months, starts in October

For whom?

This thematic profile is designed for engineers and managers responsible for planning, developing and implementing water resources projects and programmes. Experience has shown that students need to have an understanding of quantitative methods, such as statistical analysis, in order to successfully complete this thematic profile.


The degree students receive from IHE Delft is the MSc degree in Water Management and Governance


Start: 18 October 2018
Application deadline: 01 August 2018

Learning objectives

After completing the Water Management and Governance MSc programme and this thematic profile, you will be able to:

  • Describe and predict for a given water resources system the main hydrological, hydraulic, chemical and biological processes and how these processes are dynamically linked with aquatic ecosystems as well as with human activities such as land and water use and pollution;
  • Describe and explain the main concepts and instruments for analysing and influencing formal and informal arrangements for water quality management, including policies, laws and institutions, and by adopting a historical perspective;
  • Explain the key concepts for integrated, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary analyses of aquatic ecosystems and describe the challenges of such approaches;
  • Describe concepts to determine the value of water for various uses and users in (amongst others) economic and ecological terms and explain how these concepts can be used in water resources planning at various spatial and temporal scales.

Structure & contents

The taught part of the Water Management and Governance MSc programme consists of 14 modules, of which 7 are specific for this thematic study profile. The taught part covers a total of 12 months and is followed by a 6-month research and thesis phase. Graduates of the programme will be awarded 106 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits.

  • October - April

    IHE Delft, the Netherlands
    • Week 1 + Principles of Integrated Water Resources Management Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Summarize the latest insights, context and concepts in integrated water management that are under debate in international and regional forums.
      2. Explain the main arguments for an integrated approach in the field of water management.
      3. Describe the major natural functions and human uses of river systems.
      4. Summarize the basics of GIS and Remote Sensing, and apply the techniques for typical applications in water management.
      5. Explain what science is and what scientific research entails including distinguishing the main methodological approaches.
    • The Water Resources System Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Describe how the physical water resources system works, and illustrate the interaction between quantity and quality (chemical, biological, ecological), between surface water, soil water and groundwater, between stocks and fluxes. Explain major natural functions and human use of water resources systems focusing on river systems including groundwater, wetlands, lakes/reservoirs and estuaries.
      2. Identify basic components to characterise the quantitative and qualitative nature of a water resources system and able to analyse the hydrology of a water resources systems.
      3. Discuss the main issues of debate in an integrated water resources system underpinned by description of the biophysical, chemical and hydrological processes and their interactions, natural functions and human use of a water resources system.
    • Water Governance Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Identify and analyse actors and decision making processes related to water governance
      2. Distinguish and explain main discourses and theories on water governance
      3. Identify context, purpose, perspective and arguments of scientific papers on water governance
      4. Compare and contrast different scientific papers, case studies and theories on dynamic and political nature of water governance
    • Water Economics Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Describe the principles of economics and the relevance of economics to water management
      2. Explain the cause of water resource issues using economic theory and concepts
      3. Identify economic instruments for water resource management
      4. Describe economic approaches to estimating the value of water in different use
      5. Apply economic theory and method to analyze issues of water resource management
    • Water and Environmental Law Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. demonstrate and apply knowledge in the fields of national and international water and environmental law and to perceive and discuss the main concepts, theories, discourses
      2. apply, compose and recreate legal instruments to operationalize integrated water resources management (water quantity and water quality)
      3. demonstrate and apply knowledge in the field of contract management for use in water projects.
      4. analyze and prepare a contract for a specific situation
      5. describe and apply concepts of water allocation, water rights and international benefit sharing
      6. discuss and explain complexity of decision making for water allocation in national and international rivers.
    • Water Resources Assessment Elective
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Describe different types of water resources data, generated from ground and RS measurements.
      2. Apply diverse methods of data processing and data validation for water resources assessment.
      3. Quantify the different components of the water resources spectrum (rainfall, river flow, groundwater), and assess availability and access at different scales.
      4. Describe and apply different methods of water quality monitoring and assessment.
      5. Analyse and quantify multiple uses of water for: agriculture, hydropower, domestic, environment and other uses
      6. Apply water accounting techniques as a quick method for assessing water resources, water use, and water productivity in a river basin context.
    • Institutional Analysis Elective
      Learning Objectives
      1. Analyze the role of institutions in water management.
      2. Summarize different approaches to institutional analysis linked to different schools of thought.
      3. Apply these approaches for analyzing cases of water management.
    • Water Systems Modelling Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Describe the procedure of the modelling protocol.
      2. Name and explain type of models used in different case studies.
      3. Build water resources models that simulate river basin processes.
      4. Clearly present the results of the water system models.
      5. Critically analyse model outcomes.
    • Water Resources Planning Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Explain basic concepts and notions in water resources planning.
      2. Describe major steps in the participatory and integrated water resources planning process.
      3. Identify and apply tools and models, such as stakeholder integration, environmental impact assessment (EIA), decision support systems, role plays and water system models, while engaging in water resources planning activities.
      4. Develop alternative water management strategies and compare and evaluate them by applying multi-criteria analysis.
      5. Discuss water resources planning and implementation in basins for specific context with special attention to basins in a developing country context.
    • International Fieldwork Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Compare the different water management perspectives and uses in practice in Spain and Portugal. Issues that will be elaborated upon during the fieldwork include Multiple uses for and multiple sources of water; Up and downstream water issues; Institutional framework and implementation of the EU WFD; Public and private water supply; Conventional and alternative waste water treatment and reuse; Large Dams and transboundary river basin issues; Ancient vs modern irrigation and water supply systems; Non conventional water resources: desalination and wastewater reuse; Formal and informal decision making processes.
      2. Formulate a problem statement
      3. Collect and analyse data from field measurements and interviews
      4. Develop a problem analysis
    • IWRM as a Tool for Adaptation to Climate Change Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. describe the expected impacts of climate change on water resources and water use sectors in relation to (other) human activities
      2. identify the consequences of the predicted impacts of climate change and climate variability for integrated water resources management
      3. integrate climatic change conditions at different time and spatial scales into (risk) management in the water sector
      4. justify decisions on adaption to the impacts of climate change under uncertainty
    • IWRM Groupwork Required
    • MSc Preparatory Course and Thesis Research Proposal for WM Required

Application & Admission

Apply to the Water Management and Governance MSc Programme and enroll in this thematic profile during the course of the programme.


Connect with us

Never miss a thing!