Governance for a water-friendly transition in Greater Bogor

Making urban water practices more sustainable is widely regarded as a water governance challenge, which involves working within and across the different social, political and economic frameworks where urban water management takes place. Achieving Water Sensitive City status requires rethinking the way urban water governance is conceived of and delivered – moving beyond traditional single-service delivery models, to incorporate more flexible, integrated and complex institutional designs to respond to and accommodate multi-functional and adaptive infrastructures.

As a result, broad urban water governance transitions involve conceptualising change as a coordinated, multi-staged set of processes. To work towards a common vision (in this case, a water-sensitive Bogor in 2045) these processes must engage with multiple actors, across multiple scales (such as local and catchment), and across multiple sectors (such as planning, environment, health, agricultural and urban design). Governance for a water-sensitive city would involve establishing core structures (such as regulatory and policy frameworks) and processes (such as leadership and facilitated platforms for interaction) to guide and steer the formal and informal engagement and cooperation of all relevant actors. 


To generate guidance for future water governance reforms the research team examined the historical and contemporary governance structures and processes of urban water systems in Greater Bogor. This involved a series of focus-group discussions and research interviews with key decision-makers to gain insight into the current water system’s structure and workings, and to identify opportunities to improve current interventions. The group discussions and interviews were conducted using the transition dynamics framework to unpack key structures and processes at play. This framework proved to be a useful approach to identify structural, agency and learning opportunities for future governance interventions.

Urban water governance in Indonesia is complex and traditionally fragmented on a number of levels: bureaucratically, socially, politically and spatially. This poses significant challenges to key institutional structures and dynamics. Furthermore, it is important to recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to governance or institutional design; rather these need to relate to the relevant social, environmental and developmental contexts. The research used the tools below to ensure the adaptation and implementation of a water-sensitive vision by government actors in Indonesia. 

Results and achievements

Based on this framework, the research arrived at several recommendations:

  • Water sensitive vision and agenda setting – This significant first step in achieving water-sensitive governance involves generating a collective vision across all actors and multiple scales, regarding what is possible/desired for Greater Bogor and also in Bogor Regency and Bogor City individually. Efforts in this space are under way but require alignment.
  • Institutional design and policy frameworks – It is recommended that the roles and responsibilities among the multitude of organisations (including the provincial government) that play a part in the functioning of Greater Bogor’s urban water systems be further clarified. In addition, further studies need to be done on the formal and informal organisational routines and practices used to shape current and emerging water initiatives, as well as formal or informal engagement and cooperation of mutual interest across relevant organisations.
  • Establishing regulatory and compliance agendas – National leadership for advancing sustainable urban water servicing is an important element in generating more formalised authority for decentralised decision-makers. Aspirational targets are useful, but must be realistic and relevant to local conditions.
  • Building broader awareness of the multiple benefits of green infrastructure – Decision makers need to be aware of, and understand the financial value of, the many social and environmental functions and services provided by multifunctional green infrastructure such as rainwater tanks and rain gardens.
  • Fostering leadership and ‘water champions’ – Fostering distributed leadership (shared, collective and extended leadership practice) is important for building capacity for change and needs to be reinforced and aligned towards a common agenda.
  • Platforms for administrative integration and collaboration – Coordinated, facilitated, formal and informal processes are required whereby actors from different organisations can come together to shape innovative and alternative water practices.
  • Capacity building – Having multiple actors (individuals and organisations) involved in delivering a water-sensitive vision for Greater Bogor will require a dedicated and tailored capacity building program. This will require building on existing opportunities and developing new knowledge-sharing programs.
  • Driving community engagement and action – Careful attention is required to ensure there is broad community participation, not just community elites. The Pulo Geulis community co-design process developed by UWC researchers is a key example of fostering and building community capacity.
  • Experimentation and research – Co-designing a joint industry, community and academic research agenda that is policy relevant is a key step to developing and testing new innovative, place-based approaches and technologies.



Technical reports