This introductory article discusses the proliferation of different forms of participation in water governance. It is argued that creating public value through participation can only succeed when effective cocreation between public authorities and communities emerges. However, challenges to realizing co-creation are manifold, and differ among the various types of participation. In this respect, we introduce a typology of different forms of participation, based on the distinction between top-down (invited) and bottom-up (created) participation. We use this distinction to analyze different dynamics in participatory water governance and to delve deeper into the dilemmas and trade-offs. Lastly, the various contributions to this special issue are introduced.
By Arwin van Buuren, Ingmar van Meerkerk and Cecilia Tortajada, 2019. Article published in International Journal of Water Resources Development, Volume 35, Issue 3, pages 367-382. DOI: 10.1080/07900627.2019.1585764