Water Governance in England: Improving Understandings and Practices through Systemic Co-Inquiry

Foster, Natalie; Collins, Kevin; Ison, Ray and Blackmore, Chris (2016). Water Governance in England: Improving Understandings and Practices through Systemic Co-Inquiry. Water, 5, article no. 540.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/w8110540

Abstract

In 2015, water governance in England finds itself part way through perhaps the most significant changes since the privatisation of the water industry in 1989. Each of the changes is a response to the specific challenges that fall within the realm of improving water governance. However, they also raise many questions: How will the changes play out in practice? Will they work together to form a coherent ‘whole’? Can collaborative and competitive approaches really co-exist? This research aims to engage researchers, policy-makers and practitioners in a systemic co-inquiry in order to improve understandings and practices in relation to water governance in England. The two workshops undertaken as part of the research focused on the current and future water governance situation in England, respectively. The findings from the workshops demonstrate that the systemic co-inquiry process generally proved very successful and useful for this group of stakeholders. The workshops provided the opportunity for participants to share, explore and challenge their ideas, knowledge and experiences in water governance; and in doing so, they brought about shared understandings, revealed new insights and identified concerted actions to improve (transform) water governance. However, it is recognised that whilst significant progress has been made towards improving understanding and practices in relation to water governance in England, there is still further work required in order to implement these improvements on a local, national or
global scale.

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