Although there are significant differences in state traditions in the field of river flood management, both in the Netherlands and England various projects have been implemented to make more “Space for the River” to reduce the risk of river flooding. Within the Netherlands a whole program (39 projects) was assigned to enlarge the discharge capacity of the Dutch main rivers considerably. In England a cross-sectoral, programme “Making Space for Water” set out the strategic direction of travel for a more holistic, sustainable approach to fluvial flood risk management. In this paper we compare both approaches to making more space for the river and the institutional contexts in which they are applied. Although the chosen approach to introduce new ideas in both countries is different, as is the specific rule constellation of the policy regime, both countries however show many characteristics of path-dependency and institutional inertia. Change within flood management regimes is seriously hampered due to characteristics of both the institutional regimes in which flood risk management is anchored. Core competences have become core “rigidities” in both the Netherlands and England, preventing flood risk management from being adaptive to innovative changes in flood risk management mind-set and agendas.

doi.org/10.7564/14-IJWG37
International Journal of Water Governance

Van Buuren, M.W, Potter, K, Warner, J.F, & Fischer, T. (2015). Making space for institutional change? A comparative case study on regime stability & change in river flood management in the Netherlands & England. International Journal of Water Governance, Volume 3(3), 81–100. doi:10.7564/14-IJWG37