Andres Cabrera Flamini

PhD candidate


Andres Cabrera Flamini is an applied researcher and practitioner in water governance and management, specialised in facilitating and structuring change programmes at strategic and operational levels within and across organizations. Through participatory approaches, programme development, and policy-based research, his work has focused on supporting capacity development and sustainability-based programming in water organizations across humanitarian, development, and academic sectors. In his most recent project, Andres coordinated the global heads of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) from eight humanitarian organizations across the United States and Europe, along with academics from IHE-Delft, in the co-development of an accredited online graduate WASH programme (20 ECTS).

At IHE Delft, Andres’ research and capacity development projects related to pro-poor services, water operator partnerships, and development of didactic tools for developing countries. He designed and coordinated 3 modules within the Water Management and Governance Programme, as well as the innovative Leadership module incorporated throughout the new one-year Sanitation MSc., funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to that he was the national coordination of WASH services for the Colombian Red Cross.

Andres holds an MSc in Water Management (with Distinction) from IHE Delft, and a BSME (with Magna Cum Laude honours) from Tufts University.

Research Summary

Transformations to Sustainability call for the inclusion of local, culturally-relevant and informed aspects of sustainability, as these have been neglected in view of more technical and natural science-based approaches (Patterson et al., 2017). Various sustainability-related disciplines are recognizing the vital need to address changes towards sustainability from personal and cultural points, i.e. transforming from the ‘inside-out’ (O’Brien, K. 2016). It is crucial to engage relevant actors at a “personal-level” so as to adequately mobilize the most relevant knowledge from each specific place(s) and leverage it towards achieving the necessary societal transformations to sustainability (Horlings, LG., 2016). Water utilities have a central role in achieving SDG 6, yet how their staff perceive and perform sustainability remains mostly unspoken. This hinders understanding a fundamental component for radical transformations: the perceptions and values of the people who perform and negotiate sustainability day-to-day in water utilities.

The research aims to provide insight into the following questions:

  1. 1. How are different types of sustainability perceived, performed, and operationalized by water utilities’ staff,
  2. 2. How can these ‘sustainabilities’ be co-explored with water utilities’ staff, and
  3. 3. How does the multiplicity of sustainability influence the water utilities’ (political) decision-making processes.


Calvel, A., Werner, M., Van den Homberg, M., Cabrera Flamini, A., Streefkerk, I., Mittal, N., ... & Boyce, C. (2020). “Communication structures and decision making cues and criteria to support effective drought warning in Central Malawi”. Frontiers in Climate, 2, 16.

Cabrera Flamini, A., & Schwartz, K. (2019) “Grounding sustainability for water utilities: Establishing an aligned conceptual baseline with the Green Utility Tool”. Conference Proceedings. IWA Water and Development Conference & Exhibition 2019, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Cabrera Flamini, A. Schwartz, K. and Kloosterman, R. (2019) ‘Incorporating Resilience in a Dutch water utility: Exploring the translation of a ‘magic concept’ to everyday practices’ in Juuti P. et al. Resilient Water Services and Systems: the Foundation of Well-Being. IWA Publishing.

Bichai, F. and Cabrera Flamini, A. (2018). "The Water-Sensitive City: Implications of an urban water management paradigm and its globalization." Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water.

Zwarteveen, M. et al. (2017). "Engaging with the politics of water governance." Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water 4.6.


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