Over the next three decades — the typical planning period for large infrastructure — the world will have changed into a place that is predominantly water-scarce, yet also subject to more extreme flooding. The water world’s disjointed project-based approach to knowledge and capacity building needs to be replaced with a programmatic and professionalised structure applying a longer time horizon. Water management systems are becoming more complex and dynamic, and capacity development must take a systems approach. Though forecasting capabilities have increased significantly, the future remains uncertain, so planning should avoid locking in end results and investments, instead seeking an iterative approach facilitating adaptation and stepwise learning of what works.

The chapters in this book call for institutionalising processes to learn from past experience, such as frames that monitor and evaluate policies and implementation programmes. Such approaches do necessitate much higher funding and a more coherent and longer operational time frame.  Investing in capacity is economically sound, benefiting the individuals whose capacity is developed and society at large.

In Focus – a book series that showcases the latest accomplishments in water research. Each book focuses on a specialist area with papers from top experts in the field. It aims to be a vehicle for in-depth understanding and inspire further conversations in the sector.

Editorial: From knowledge and capacity development to an implementation science: policy concepts and operational approaches
G. J. Alaerts and C. Zevenbergen

Facing global transitions in water management: Advances in knowledge and capacity development and towards adaptive approaches
G. J. Alaerts and J. M. Kaspersma

Social change innovations, citizen science, miniSASS and the SDGs
Jim Taylor, Mark Graham, Adrienne Louw, Ayanda Lepheana, Bonani Madikizela, Chris Dickens, Deborah V. Chapman and Stuart Warner

Making the invisible, visible: 3D aquifer models as an effective tool for building water stewardship in Maharashtra, India
Eshwer Kale, Marcella D’Souza and Sarita Chemburkar

Assessing the societal adoptability of participatory water management: an application of the Motivation and Ability (MOTA) framework
Md Shibly Sadik, Leon M. Hermans, Jaap Evers, Hong Quan Nguyen, Malik Fida A. Khan and Sadiq Ahmed

Water specialist as andragogist: the application of learning theory in capacity development for improved water management
Bobby Russell and Bouke Ottow

Assessing design principles for climate services training courses: educational design principles assessment of six C3S Blended Training courses within the Copernicus Climate Change Service
Maria del Pozo, Judith Gulikers, Erik van Slobbe, Perry den Brok and Fulco Ludwig

Governing river rehabilitation projects for transformative capacity development
Patrick Martel, Catherine Sutherland and Sylvia Hannan

Capacity development for the Bangladesh Delta Plan from the perspective of delta professionals: A qualitative study
Ashraful Kabir, Abu Syed, Chris Zevenbergen, Jannatul Ferdous and Assela Pathirana

Capacity development for SDG 6.5 on IWRM and transboundary cooperation: opportunities and barriers
Carla Sabbatini and Damian Indij

Supporting evidence-based decision-making: Capacity Building through Research
John Conallin, Nora Van Cauwenbergh, Nicolette Duncan, Win Win Zin, Zau Lunn, Htike Htike, Greg Martin, Thom Bogaard and Mário J. Franca

Contextual knowledge co-production and capacity building for sanitation planning: experience from Kerala, India
Sruthi Pillai and N. C. Narayanan

Exploratory assessment of challenges and issues with private water operators in rural water supply and service delivery: a case study of the Karamoja region, Uganda
Benbella Dektar, Scott McConnell and Allan Kasekende

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