Present-day worldwide water problems require new management tools and sustainable system innovations. At Delft University of Technology research is being carried out into water resources and management development aimed at forming such tools and innovations, focused on Integrated River Basin Management (IRBM). One of the case-studies deals with Dutch water management and technology in the context of European IRBM in the form of the 2000 Water Frame Directive. The Netherlands experience many water problems and European IRBM could bring help by offering a framework for both international cooperation and technological innovations. To work as an adequate management tool European IRBM should be tailored to the Dutch water tradition, which recently culminated in Integrated Water Management. Both approaches are in some respects contradicting. Europe pursues, for example, centralized control; while the Dutch have their strongly water boards based decentralized administration. The tensions between both approaches require mutual adaptation, for which the concept of subsidiarity might offer points of departure. This paper describes the first results of the case-research into Dutch water management and technology in the context of Europe as well as the backgrounds and the set-up of the research as a whole.

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