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The STEER Diagnostic Water Governance Tool

STEER toolbox screenshot

© Ecologic Institute


The STEER Diagnostic Water Governance Tool


Stein, Ulf; Bueb, Benedict; Tröltzsch, Jenny; Vidaurre, Rodrigo; Knieper, Christian (2020). STEER Diagnostic Water Governance Tool.

Ecologic Institute has recently launched the Diagnostic Water Governance Tool, which is aimed at both water governance practitioners and researchers around the world. The tool provides a diagnosis of case-specific water governance as well as recommendations of appropriate instruments, with a focus on coordination and cooperation improvement. The case-specific suggestions for appropriate instruments are based on an algorithm that is grounded in the empirical findings of the STEER research project. This is a unique and innovative feature of the Diagnostic Water Governance Tool, which sets it apart from existing online tools for water governance and management. The Tool has been developed as part of the STEER project under the GRoW (Globale Ressource Wasser) program, founded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung).

The Tool is designed to deal with practical governance issues, and therefore it mainly targets actors that are in charge for the implementation of water-related measures, regardless of the level of governance at which they operate. Additionally, scientists are included as a target group, and their contribution in collecting additional case study information will enhance a constant improvement of the tool.

The Tool consists of three steps: Data Entry, Diagnosis and Therapy. First, the user is asked a series of specific yet easy to understand questions on his/her water governance system. More advanced users can enter additional data in the research track-mode that allows for an in-depth analysis of the water governance system at hand. The data collected through the questionnaire are then elaborated and visualised in the diagnostic phase to expose strengths and weaknesses of the particular governance system. Finally, in the “therapy” section, a set of instruments is proposed to the user to mirror and contribute to solving the identified deficiencies. Moreover, the section allows filtering results according to the context of a specific water management area. The tool relies on a pool of more than 60 instruments for integrated and adaptive water management. A factsheet for each instrument provides further details, including examples of successful applications. On top of the instrument database, a case study database allows to compare the user’s context of water governance with cases that shares similar issues and challenges.

The Diagnostic Water Governance Tool is now available at If you are dealing with issues of coordination in water governance, we encourage you to get your hands on the tool and explore its functions. Please also consider adding your case study experience to our database to enhance the potential of the tool to help future users remedy water governance problems in their region.

Easy-to-use online tool to tackle case-specific water challenges following a diagnosis-therapy-learning approach.


More content from this project


Concept: Ulf Stein, Benedict Bueb, Jenny Tröltzsch, Rodrigo Vidaurre
Technical implementation: Christian Bruhn
Design: Lena Aebli

Published by
Project ID
capacity building, water governance, Integrated Water Resources Management, coordination, cooperation, integrated planning, climate change adaptation, water scarcity, droughts, floods, pollution, participation, watershed
online collaboration, portal, online tool