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Assessing the Sustainability of Water Governance Systems: The Sustainability Wheel

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2014
Author Schneider Flurina, Bonriposi Mariano, Graefe Olivier, Herweg Karl, Homewood Christine, Huss Matthias, Kauzlaric Martina, Liniger Hanspeter, Rey Emmanual, Reynard Emmanuel, Rist Stephan, Schädler Bruno, Weingartner Rolf,
Project Montanaqua: Anticiper le stress hydrique dans les Alpes - Scénarios de gestion de l'eau dans la région de Sierre-Crans-Montana (Valais).
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Environmental Planning and Management
Page(s) 1 - 24
Title of proceedings Journal of Environmental Planning and Management
DOI 10.1080/09640568.2014.938804

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


We present and test a conceptual and methodological approach for interdisciplinary sustainability assessments of water governance systems based on what we call the sustainability wheel. The approach combines transparent identification of sustainability principles, their regional contextualization through sub-principles (indicators), and the scoring of these indicators through deliberative dialogue within an interdisciplinary team of researchers taking into account their various qualitative and quantitative research results. The approach was applied to a sustainability assessment of a complex water governance system in the Swiss Alps. We conclude that the applied approach is advantageous for structuring complex and heterogeneous knowledge, gaining a holistic and comprehensive perspective on water sustainability, and communicating this perspective to stakeholders.