Governance innovations for a transition to sustainable and equitable water use in Europe GOVAQUA

The GOVAQUA team at the kick off meeting in Helsinki March 2023. © GOVAQUA Project

GOVAQUA-project identifies, assesses, develops and validates innovative governance instruments and approaches to support and accelerate a transition towards sustainable and equitable water use in Europe. Such a transition is urgently required to reconcile water uses and environmental needs and to reach the aims of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), the European Green Deal (EGD) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs).

By adopting an inter- and transdisciplinary methodology that combines case studies with living labs, the GOVAQUA team will systematically analyse and compare existing water governance systems across Europe. The focus is on water use and its impacts in agriculture, industries, energy production, water utilities and the role of citizens.

GOVAQUA will deliver new knowledge, participatory tools and good practice guidelines laying out pathways towards sustainable and equitable water future. The project results will be disseminated in a strategic and targeted manner to EU and Member State policy makers and officials, European river basin management community, water sector, NGOs, water governance expert organisations and and sectors using water, and communicated to empower citizens in the consortium partner countries and beyond.


GOVAQUA conceptualises for the first time sustainability transition in water governance, and creates associated criteria and indicators for its assessment.

In order to respond to systemic development needs for the transition, the project covers niche governance innovations in

  1. legislation and regulation
  2. multi-stakeholder participation and collaboration
  3. economics and finance
  4. digital solutions for information sharing.

Good practices related to them are systematically reviewed, analysed, and compared, and further co-developed, assessed and validated with key stakeholders. This work is done in real-world action situations of six living labs in river basins, sub-basins or catchments in France, Finland, Spain, the UK, and Romania, and transnationally between Finland and Sweden.

GOVAQUA is co-funded by the European Union and UK Research and Innovation.
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the authors only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Commission (Horizon Europe). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.
Published 2023-03-17 at 17:33, updated 2023-03-23 at 15:46