Factsheet #40

Cooperatively organised water board

Instrument Type


Governance Level


Governance Mode


Water management topics addressed

Drought & water scarcity
Water abstraction for irrigation and other economic activities
Water quality issues due to nutrient pollution
Water quality issues: Other reasons

Implementation requirements

Financial capacity


Human capacity


Political buy-in


Timeframe for implementation


#40: Cooperatively organised water board


Cooperative organised water boards are member organisations. Members are for example communities and cities in the region or river basin, property owners, public and private water users.


The members of the water board are represented in a cooperative assembly where all important decisions are approved. The water boards are financed via fees paid by the member institutions. Additional funding can be provided via national public funding or project funding. Water boards are independent from national or regional governments.

Example: The mediatory role of the Emschergenossenschaft in the Emscher catchment

The water board for the Emscher, known as Emschergenossenschaft, is responsible for river maintenance within the Emscher catchment. The water board also acts as a mediator between different public and private interests surrounding the Emscher catchment, with the objective of sustainable . As a public and independent institution, the Emschergenossenschaft relies financially on its members: municipalities, large industries and companies operating in the mining sector. The scope for its competence reaches the regional dimension that correspond to the basin area, but the body is also lively active on the local level when interacting with district administrative units that are located within the Emscher catchment area.
Since 1990, Primary law confers the water board with rights for coordination, planning, implementation, knowledge generation, conflict-resolution, rule enforcement.


STEER (2019). Assessment of variables in the five in-depth case studies of the STEER project. Internal Report (p. 14).

Emschergenossenschaft (2020). Flussgebietsmanagament. https://www.eglv.de/flussgebietsmanagement/#m-anchor-01 Retrieved 24 September 2020.

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