Project Coordinator

pasfoto-EnTruGo.jpgJasper R. de Vries

Institution: Strategic Communication Group, Wageningen University and Research

Country: The Netherlands



Drinking water shortages in Cape Town, water quality threats posed by mining industries in Norway, social risks caused by hydropower dams in Sweden and droughts provoked by infrastructure developments in the Netherlands. The requirements on water governance to successfully provide for urgent societal water needs is rapidly increasing. To deal with these challenges, trust in governments, as one of the main actors, is key. However, these governments face a decline in trust, putting pressure on their legitimacy. The EnTruGo project (Enhancing Trust in Governments for effective water governance) therefore focusses on how trust between people influences trust in governments and vice versa, and aims at developing effective strategies for enhancing trust in governments.

To rebuild trust, legislatures and state agencies have launched various democratic innovations to strengthen service delivery; including initiatives such as citizens’ assemblies, e-governance, multi-stakeholder platforms, and direct democracy. A wide range of studies have shown that trust can develop in these contexts, but can also lead to increased distrust. Therefore it remains unknown if, and if so how, democratic innovations enhance trust in government institutions, amongst both stakeholders and wider public, and ultimately improve the effectiveness, sustainability and legitimacy of water governance.


The aim of the EnTruGo project is: to explore how interpersonal trust developed through democratic innovations characterised by public participation and stakeholder processes impact trust in government as guardian of water resources.


To evaluate the status of trust in government institutions tasked with water management, including the key factors that shape public trust in government as guardian of water resources;

To evaluate the impact of democratic innovative approaches on public trust in government and the wider implications of such trust dynamics for sustainable water governance;

To identify governance strategies to enhance trust in government as a guardian of water governance actions.

Funders of the project:

NWO (the Netherlands)

FOMAS (Sweden)

RCN (Norway)

WRC (South Africa)