Networks of Cooperation: Water Policy in Germany
German water policy-making, analysed in this article by Wolfgang Rüdig and R. Andreas Kraemer of Ecologic Institute, defies easy categorisation. Policy processes are highly complex, fragmented, and diverse. In the areas of drinking water supply and water pollution, the most important feature is the enormous importance of regional and local government in both policy formulation and implementation.
The various forms of horizontal cooperation between individual municipalities and between the Laender are important, the latter having become particularly important as the they try to preserve their strong influence in the face of increasing policy activism by the EU. Historically, cooperative solutions have dominated much of policy development since the nineteenth century.
In the face of powerful agricultural and industrial interests, the creation of networks of cooperation is still at the heart of policy making, but the state relies less on authority or common interest than on exchange, while financial policy instruments dominate. Although water policy has been thoroughly reframed as part of environmental policy, environmental groups have played a relatively marginal role.
The article is, for instance, available online for paying subscribers of Informaworld, where it can also be purchased individually.