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Between Ecology and Economy: From Rigid to Flexible Water Defense Systems in the Netherlands

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Raadschelders, Jos C. N.
Conference: Inequality and the Commons, the Third Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Washington
Conf. Date: September 17-20, 1992
Date: 1992
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/1830
Sector: Social Organization
Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Europe
Subject(s): IASC
ecology
economy
water resources
resource management
Abstract: "The leading question for this paper is thus: What changes in the institutional arrangements in the Netherlands are required to make a shift from a rigid to a flexible water defense system possible? "In order to analyze this issue we will briefly outline our theoretical framework (section 2) and describe the institutional environment of Dutch water defense (section 3). In this section we will in broad outline describe the development of water defense systems. Some illustrations will indicate why flooding is such an important issue in the Netherlands. We will then describe current Dutch policy and environmental critique (section 4). More than other sections, section 4 shows how passionate the different points of view are defended. Next we will present types of rigid and flexible systems together with their (dis)advantages (section 5). These too will be clarified by means of illustrations. Drawing upon the information from sections 3 to 5 we can analyze the institutional impediments against a change from a rigid to a more flexible system (section 6). In the final section we shall attempt to provide provide an answer as to how government can steer between economic and ecological interests."

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