Klaas Schwartz

Head of the WG Department
Associate Professor of Urban Water Governance


Klaas Schwartz joined IHE Delft in 1998 where he is currently Associate Professor Urban Water Governance. His main research interests concern the reform of public water utilities, service provisioning to low-income areas (‘pro-poor services’) and informal water services provisioning. In his work on utility reform and water provisioning in low-income areas, a strong emphasis is placed on trying to understand the provisioning of services from the perspective of service provider (the utility or informal provider) and how these decisions impact access to water services by different users.

Klaas Schwartz has been involved in research, education and training activities in the field of water services management and governance in various countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. In addition to his position at IHE Delft, he is a visiting researcher at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research of the University of Amsterdam.



Informal and Small-Scale Water Providers

Water Services Management

Public Sector Reform

Water Utility Reform

Water Service Provision to Low-Income Areas


Journal papers

Schwartz, K. and Marois, T. (forthcoming), Untapping the sustainable bank's public financing for Dutch drinking water companies, Water International, DOI: 10.1080/02508060.2022.2080518.

Venot, J., Vos, J., Molle, F., Zwarteveen, M., Veldwisch, G., Kuper, M., Mdee, A.,  Ertsen, M., Boelens, R., Cleaver, F., Lankford, B., Mollinga, P., Swatuk, L., Linton, J., Harris, L., Kemerink-Seyoum, J., Kooy, M. and Schwartz, K. (2021), A bridge over troubled waters? A response to the Nature Sustainability editorial ‘Too Much and Not Enough’, Nature Sustainability, DOI: 10.1038/s41893-021-00835-y.

Hadzovich, L., Alda-Vidal, C., Rusca, M. and Schwartz, K. (2021) “Everyday practices and the production of uneven waterscapes: water pricing regimes in Lilongwe, Malawi”, Environment and Planning C, 39(2): 300-317.

Cuadrado-Quesada, G. and Schwartz, K. (2021), “Governing groundwater excess: insights from a failed collaborative process in Delft, the Netherlands”, International Journal of Water Resources Development, 38(3): 388-402.

Boakye-Ansah, A., Schwartz, K. and Zwarteveen, M. (2020), ‘Aligning stakeholder interests: How ‘appropriate’ technologies have become the accepted water infrastructure solutions for low-income areas’, Utilities Policy, 66.

Tutusaus, M. and Schwartz, K. (2020), ‘Commercialization as Organized Hypocrisy: The Divergence of Talk and Actions in Water Services in Small Towns in Uganda, Water Alternatives, 13(2): 248-265.

Tutusaus, M., Surya, R.A., Schwartz, K. (2019), ‘Degrees and forms of commercialization: Community-managed water operators in Lamongan Regency, Indonesia’, Water, 11, 1-14.

Gnadl, M., Bichai, F. and Schwartz, K. (2019), ‘Institutional inertia: Challenges in urban water management on the path towards a water-sensitive Surabaya, Indonesia’, International Journal of Water Resources Development. https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2019.1662378

Hadzovich, L., Alda-Vidal, C., Rusca, M. and Schwartz, K. (forthcoming) “Everyday practices and the production of uneven waterscapes: water pricing regimes in Lilongwe, Malawi”, Environment and Planning C: Politics and Spacehttps://doi.org/10.1177/2399654419856021

Boakye-Ansah, A., Schwartz, K. and Zwarteveen, M. (2019), ‘From rowdy cartels to organized ones? The transfer of power in urban water supply in Kenya”, European Journal for Development Researchhttps://doi.org/10.1057/s41287-019-00209-3

Dos Santos R., Gupta, J. Pouw, N. and Schwartz, K. (2019) “Public Water Supply and Sanitation Policies and Inclusive Development of the Urban Poor in Brazil”, Water Policy, 21(2): 351-367.

Savelli, E., Schwartz, K. and Ahlers, R. (2019) “The Dutch Aid and Trade Policy: Policy Discourses versus Development Practices in the Kenyan WASH Sector”, Environment and Planning C: Politics and Spacehttps://doi.org/10.1177/0263774X18803364.

Rusca, M. dos Santos, T., Menga, F., Mirumachi, N., Hordijk, M. and Schwartz, K. (2019) “Space, state-building and the hydraulic mission:  Crafting the Mozambican State”, Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 37(5): 868-888. 

Tutusaus, M. and Schwartz, K. (2018), ‘Water services in small towns in developing countries: At the tail end of development’, Water Policy, 20 (S1): 1-11.

Humphreys, E. and Schwartz, K. (2018), ‘In the shadow of the city: Financing water infrastructure in small towns in Burkina Faso’, Water Policy, 20 (S1): 69-83.

Schwartz, K., Gupta, J. and Tutusaus, M. (2018), ‘Editorial - Inclusive development and urban water services’, Habitat International, 73: 96-100.

Rusca, M. and Schwartz, K. (2018), ‘The paradox of cost recovery in heterogeneous municipal water supply systems: Ensuring inclusiveness or exacerbating inequalities?’, Habitat International, 73: 101-108.

Velzeboer, L., Hordijk, M. and Schwartz, K. (2018), ‘Water is life in a life without water: Power and everyday practices in Lilongwe, Malawi’, Habitat International, 73: 119-128.

Tutusaus, M., Schwartz, K. and Smit, S. (2018), ‘The ambiguity of innovation drivers: The adoption of information and communication technologies by public water utilities’, Journal of Cleaner Production, 171: S79-S85.

Schwartz, K. and Tutusaus, M., (2017), ‘Water for the Urban Poor: Balancing financial and social objectives through service differentiation for low-income areas in the Kenyan water services sector’, Utilities Policy, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jup.2017.08.001.

Schwartz, K. (2017),’Book review: Finnish Water Services – Experiences in Global Perspective’, European Journal of Development Research, https://doi:10.1057/s41287-017-0092-5.

Alda-Vidal, C., Rusca, M., Zwarteveen, M., Schwartz, K. and Pouw, N. (2017), ‘Occupational genders and gendered occupations: the case of water provisioning in Maputo, Mozambique’, Gender, Place and Culture, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2017.1339019.

Rusca, M. and Schwartz, K. (2017), ‘The paradox of cost recovery in heterogeneous municipal water supply systems: Ensuring inclusiveness or exacerbating inequalities?’, Habitat International, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.habitatint.2017.03.002.

Tutusaus, M., Schwartz, K. and Smit, S. (2016), ‘The Ambiguity of Innovation Drivers: The Adoption of Information and Communication Technologies by Public Water Utilities’, Journal of Cleaner Production, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.08.002.

Tutusaus, M. and Schwartz, K. (2016), ‘National Water Operators' Partnerships: a promising instrument for capacity development?’, Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 6(3), pp. 500-506.

Kemerink, J., Munyao, S.N., Schwartz, K., Ahlers, R. and Zaag, P. van der (2016),‘Why Infrastructure Still Matters: Unravelling Water Reform Processes in an Uneven Waterscape in Rural Kenya’, International Journal of the Commons, 10(2), pp. 1055-1081

Rusca, M., Schwartz, K.. Hadzovic, L. and Ahlers, R. (2015), ‘Adapting Generic Models through Bricolage: Elite Capture of Water User Associations in Peri-urban Lilongwe’, European Journal for Development Research, 27(5), pp. 777-792.

Schwartz, K., Tutusaus Luque, M., Rusca, M. and Ahlers, R. (2015), ‘(In)formality: The Meshwork of Water Service Provisioning’, WIREs Water, 2(1), pp. 31–36.

Rusca, M. and Schwartz, K. (2014), ‘‘Going with the Grain’: Accommodating Local Institutions in Water Governance’, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 11, pp. 34-38.

Ahlers, R., Cleaver, F., Rusca, M. and Schwartz, K. (2014), ‘Informal Space in the Urban Waterscape: Disaggregation and co-production of water services’, Water Alternatives, 7(1), pp. 1-14.

Ahlers, R., Perez Guida, V. and Schwartz, K. (2013), 'The Myth of ‘Healthy’ Competition in the Water Sector: The Case of Small Scale Water Providers', Habitat International, 38, pp. 175-182. [doi:10.1016/j.habitatint.2012.06.004].

Ahlers, R., Perez Guida, V., Rusca, M. and Schwartz, K. (2013), ‘Unleashing Entrepreneurs or Controlling Unruly Providers? The Formalisation of Small-scale Water Providers in Greater Maputo, Mozambique’, Journal of Development Studies, 49(4), pp. 470-482.

Dorcas, M. and Schwartz, K. (2013), ‘The Politics of Utility Reform: A Case Study of the Ugandan Water Sector’, Public Money and Management, 33(5), pp. 377-382.

Ostrovskaya, E., Douven, W., Schwartz, K., Pataki, B., Mukuyu, P. and Kaggwa R. (2013), ‘Capacity for Sustainable Management of Wetlands: Lessons from the WETwin Project’, Environmental Science and Policy, 34, pp. 128-137.

Rusca, M., Heun, J. and Schwartz, K. (2012), ‘Water Management Simulation Games and the Construction of Knowledge’, Hydrolology and Earth System Sciences, 16, pp. 2749-2757.

Rusca, M. and Schwartz, K. (2012), ‘From Passive Recipient to Empowered Client? The Changing Role of Water Consumers’, Environmental Engineering and Management Journal, 11(5), pp. 991-997.

Rusca, M. and Schwartz, K. (2012), ‘Divergent Sources of Legitimacy: A Case Study of International NGOs in the Water Services Sector in Lilongwe and Maputo’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 38(3), pp. 681-697.

Kitonsa, W. and Schwartz, K. (2012), ‘Commercialisation and Centralisation in the Ugandan and Zambian Water Sector’, International Journal of Water, 6(3-4), pp. 176-194.

Guzman Ruiz, A., Hes, E. and Schwartz, K. (2011), ‘Shifting Governance Modes in Wetland Management: A Case Study of two Wetlands in Bogota, Colombia’, Environment and Planning C, 29(6): pp. 900-1003.

Patron Coppel, G. and Schwartz, K. (2011), ‘Water Operator Partnerships as Model to Achieve the MDGs on Water Supply? Lessons from four Cities in Mozambique’, Water SA, 37(4), pp. 575-584.

J.B. Isunju, J.B., Schwartz, K., Schouten, M.A., Johnson, W.P. and M.P. van Dijk (2011), ‘Socio-economic Aspects of Improved Sanitation in Slums: A Review’, Public Health, 125(6), pp. 368-376.

Schwartz, K. (2011), ‘From Government-Driven to Commercially-Driven Mergers: Changing Drivers for Upscaling in the Dutch Water Supply Sector’, Water Policy, 13, pp. 317-325.


Special Issues

Inclusive development and Urban Water Services - Habitat International, 73, March 2018. With Joyeeta Gupta and Mireia Tutusaus.

Water Services in Small Towns: Experiences from the Global South - Water Policy, Volume 20(S1), March 2018. With Mireia Tutusaus.

Informal Space in the Urban Waterscape (open access) - Water Alternatives, 7(1), 2014. With Rhodante Ahlers and Frances Cleaver.


Chapters in books

Schwartz, K. and Tutusaus, M. (forthcoming), ‘Governing Water Services: Discourses, Differentiation and Service Modalities’, Chapter in the book: The Routledge Handbook on Water and Development. Routledge Handbook Series.

Schwartz, K. and Tutusaus, M. (2021) “Legal Aspects of Water Services”, Chapter in a book on Water Law (edited by Joyeeta Gupta and Joseph Dellapena). Edward Elgar Environmental Law Series.

Santos, R. dos and Schwartz, K. (2021) “Brazil: Evolution of Water and Sanitation Law and Challenges for Inclusive Services”, Chapter in a book on Water Law (edited by Joyeeta Gupta and Joseph Dellapena). Edward Elgar Environmental Law Series. 

Cabrera, A., Schwartz, K. and Kloosterman, R. (2019), ‘Performance, Risks and Costs: An Emerging Approach to Resilience in a Dutch Water Utility’, In: Juuti, P., Mattila, H., Rajala, R., Schwartz, K. and Staddon, C. (eds.), Resilient Water Services and Systems: The Foundation of Well-Being, London: IWA Publishing.

Majoor, S. and Schwartz, K. (2015), 'Instruments of Urban Governanve;, In: Gupta, J., Pfeffer, K., Verrest, H. and Ros-Tonen, M. (Eds.), Geographies of Urban Governance: Advanced Theories, Methods and Practices, Springer International Publishing: Heidelberg.

Clouting H., Douven W., Ostrovskaya E., Schwartz K. and Beata Pataki (2014), ‘Framework for Analysing Institutional Capacity for Wetland Management - Case Gemenc Wetland’ , In: Albrecht, E., et al. (eds.) Implementing Adaptation Strategies by Legal, Economic and Planning Instruments on Climate Change, Heidelberg: Springer.

Norona, M., Douven, W., Leentvaar, J. and Schwartz, K. (2013), ‘Analysis of the Decision-Making Process in Wetland Management-Ramsar Wetlands. Case Study: Abras de Mantequilla Wetland: Los Rios Province, Ecuador’, In: Farfan Gonzalez, H., Corvea Porras, J., Bustamente Gutierrez,

Rusca, M. and Schwartz, K. (2012), ‘Changes in Partnerships on WSS services from 1970s to 2010’, in: Katko, T., Juuti, P. and Schwartz, K. (eds.), Water Services Management and Governance: Past Lessons for a Sustainable Future, London: IWA Publishing.


Other information


Performance Enhancement of Water utilities in Kenya through benchmarking, collective learning and innovative financing (PEWAK) – Within this project, the input of the Water Services Management group concerns the analysis of strategies that water service providers in Kenya design and implement to provide water services to low-income areas. As part of this activity, a benchmarking system to compare strategies and performance of water service providers in serving low-income areas is developed and implemented.


Boosting Effectiveness of Water Operator Partnerships (BEWOP) - This project aims at assisting and enhancing the knowledge transfer and change processes, and hence to foster the effectiveness of water operator partnerships (WOPs). The BEWOP project is a collaboration of the UN-Habitat Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA) and UNESCO-IHE. BEWOP is targeted towards the development of guidelines, trainings and tools that allow water operators to develop more effective partnerships to improve provisioning of water services.


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