Watershare is the international knowledge management model for the water sector. In Watershare experts from leading knowledge institutes share their knowledge and expertise.

The knowledge is packed into practical tools which are then applied to projects in water practice. During the course of the tools’ use they are naturally adjusted and further developed. Moreover, their use leads to the development of local and regional application references to tackle global and frequent water challenges. The collaboration on the Watershare tools focuses on five current water sector themes:

  • Subsurface Water Solutions
  • Future-Proof Water Infrastructures
  • Resource Recovery & Upcycling
  • Emerging Substances
  • Resilient Urban Water Management

Watershare members work together on the development of powerful tools for each of these themes. The application of the tools provides solutions to concrete problems encountered in water practice. The members continuously share (and mutually adapt) their various initiatives and experiences within so-called Communities of Practice (CoP). Each theme has its own CoP, which every year sets out a multi-annual activity programme consisting of: application projects, meetings, workshops and dissemination (linked to seminars and congresses). Experts use the Watershare tools to solve complex problems together with the end-users. The ultimate success is demonstrated by the worldwide application of the tools and the consequent creation of Watershare application references. The solutions resulting from the application of Watershare tools can in some cases even provide a springboard for applications on a large scale.

Watershare’s background

Knowledge institutes all over the world work on similar issues in the domain of the design and management of infrastructures for the provision of water. They deal with the same developments and needs – for example, demographic changes, climate issues, ageing assets, scarce resources, demands for more sustainable strategies and operations. But the knowledge produced is frequently fragmentary in nature and not accessible to all. Worldwide, knowledge institutes feel a responsibility to work together on bringing the best knowledge available to water practice. But this can only be done if the knowledge is practically bundled, packaged and made available in a collaborative effort. In 2012, KWR Watercycle Research Institute set up Watershare to make this possible.

What is Watershare’s objective?

Watershare is an international collaboration in which water sector-proven methods, techniques and experiences are shared and applied. Watershare’s objective is to make the most appealing and effective knowledge and expertise internationally available to water practice. Thanks to Watershare, knowledge institutes are able to better serve their end-users – water companies, utilities, municipalities, water managers – thereby placing these organisations and individuals in a stronger position to provide for the water needs of the inhabitants of their areas.

Who is Watershare for?

The members of Watershare are knowledge partners from all over the world with proven records in the conduct of applied water research for the public good. They work according to the highest scientific standards with a focus on applied knowledge.

How does Watershare work?

Tools as basic instruments

The members of the Watershare community see their task as being to make new knowledge available in the form of practical tools of relevance to water practice. Well informed about the world of water practice, they realise that knowledge is only beneficial when it is implemented. The Watershare tools are therefore optimally designed to support water-practice managers in responding to both tactical as well as more strategic questions. This means that the interaction between tool developers and tool users is of vital importance.

Building application references with tools in Communities of Practice

A Watershare Community of Practice (CoP) – a concept from the field of knowledge management – is an international group of Watershare members and their end-users which is focused on a single problem area. Within a CoP experts share their knowledge on a regular basis. They also collaborate on projects with the aim of applying Watershare tools to solve problems in the interest of public end-users. Naturally all the Watershare tools are enriched with the resulting new knowledge and experience. The CoPs can of course also play a role in the development of innovative projects for the benefit of end-users. All told, Watershare aspires to provide an example of an operational platform for the application of the latest scientific and technological insights in the service of public end-users.


The Watershare members develop models and methods on the basis of scientific knowledge and successful practical applications. The resulting user-friendly tools are incorporated into the online Watershare Tool Suite. In this way the knowledge is secured and can be applied by other Watershare members to a wide range of situations. The tools cover current, urgent and relevant water themes: Subsurface Water Solutions, Future-Proof Water Infrastructures, Resource Recovery & Upcycling, Emerging Substances and Resilient Urban Water Management. They can consist of databases, smart data handling tools or modelling tools. Most tools are web-based.

Watershare’s unique features

Tools on demand

  • Participating knowledge institutes continuously seek opportunities to make existing and new knowledge available to water practice.
  • By means of an essentially seamless connection with water practice, Watershare tools represent the best that science can offer water practice.
  • The worldwide application of Watershare tools leads to the creation of international, standard-setting application references for water practice.
  • Watershare tools take into account the range of possible solutions, offering successful solutions under highly specific local circumstances.

Peer-reviewed science for operational excellence

  • Watershare offers a ‘quality label’ of secured practical knowledge (the tools) for an effective and reliable service provision to end-users (water companies, policy-makers, regulators).
  • The knowledge has been proven in practice in the public domain.
  • Thanks to Watershare’s international character, its members are in a position to organise their knowledge management on a global scale and to operate on the front line of scientific research.
  • For end-users Watershare means that they have rapid and reliable access to a pallette of knowledge based on the latest insights, attuned to their needs.