Water Services Management


The Water Service Management Master Course at IHE Delft focuses on the provision of water and sanitation services and the management of related infrastructure. The course further develops and critically reviews institutional and financial instruments and business models for different socio-economic contexts.

Learning objectives:

  • Describe for a given water resources system the interplay between the main biophysical processes and social dynamics, in analyzing service delivery modalities.
  • Describe and explain the main concepts and instruments for analysing and influencing formal and informal arrangements concerning water supply and sanitation services, including policies, laws and institutions, and by adopting a historical perspective.
  • Explain the key concepts for integrated, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary analyses of water services management and describe challenges of providing water supply and sanitation services at different levels (from global to local).
  • Summarize the current debates relevant for water supply and sanitation services, using institutional and management theories from different academic disciplines (e.g. economics, public administration, sociology, political science, law).

WSM Educational Modules

The Water Services Management Group offers a series of four educational modules which are part of the Master of Science Programme in Water Management and Governance. The four educational modules are offered as part of the MSc program in Water Management and Governance and as short courses that individuals can choose to follow. In the near future the WSM Group will also provide two online courses: Partnership in the Water Sector and Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene in Emergencies.

  • Managing Water Organizations – The Managing Water Organizations module is comprised of two main components. First, the module focuses on the water utility by elaborating on strategic and change management of water utilities in the context of broader discussions characterizing the water supply and sanitation sector. Secondly, the module examines the functioning of water services providers in the broader institutional and regulatory environment in which they operate.
  • Finance in the Water Sector – The Finance in the Water Sector module places sector discussions on finance central to understand the impact and influence these have on the daily operations and management of a service provider. This approach allows the student to both learn hands-on management decisions practices, while reflecting on current and topic relevant debates. In this course the participants cover the concepts of financial performance, cost recovery, debt structure or efficiency by making use of financial analysis and financial modelling tools. At the same time they are also exposed to debates on hybrid finance or the ‘financialization’ of water services.
  • Environmental Management and Water Services - This course revolves around an integrated water cycle approach to water services management issues and risks, especially under growing environmental and anthropogenic pressures. Throughout the module, technical/ecological and institutional perspectives on urban water systems are combined. Risk assessment and management frameworks are explored to understand the challenges and benefits of an integrated approach to urban water services management, both in terms of water quality and quantity.
  • Partnerships in the Water Sector – The Partnerships module investigates the nuances of partnerships in the water supply and sanitation sector from a variety of different angles. Apart from discussing the rationale for partnerships, the module explores different types of partnerships (public-private partnerships, water operator partnerships, and utility-small-scale provider partnerships), expands on the partnering process (conflict management, negotiations, etc.) and discusses the practices of monitoring and evaluation of partnerships.