Factsheet #41

Development plan for blue infrastructure (master plan)

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


#41: Development plan for blue infrastructure (master plan)


Development of a cross-sectoral and long term planning process for regional development of blue infrastructure. The development plans are instruments to develop integrative regional or urban planning strategies and linked proposals for actions and partially detailed descriptions of implementation projects. 


With the masterplan local/regional planning criteria are developed and adopted which lead the development of a certain area in the following years and has cross-sectoral relevance. It is an exchange and discussion process about planning guidelines and priorities.

Example: The master plan for the Emscher catchment

The Emscher master plan outlines eight leading principles (objectives and fundamental strategies) to be followed when managing water, ecological and economic resources attached to the development and reorganization of the river environment. It was the result of an intensive exchange with multiple stakeholders. The master plan is also taken into consideration when planning open space in the area, for example in the realization of cycling routes. Alongside priorities for security such as a high level of protection against flood risks, the master plan also refers to the importance of the recreational opportunities that the river area offers and their positive impact on the quality of life of residents. The master plan ultimately acts as a working basis and orientational landmark for every form of interaction between and urban/open space development.


STEER (2019). Assessment of variables in the five in-depth case studies of the STEER project Internal Report. (p. 136).

Emschergenossenschaft (2020). Der Masterplan. https://www.eglv.de/emscher/masterplan/ Retrieved 24 September 2020.

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