Dr.ir. M.W. (Maurits) Ertsen

Dr.ir. M.W. (Maurits) Ertsen

Profile

Expertise

Sustainable water management, closely associated with success and collapse of human civilizations, has become crucial given current climate variability.  In all my work, I focus on the question how short-term interactions between humans and non-humans – especially water and associated agents – create the longer-term patters and processes that we observe or desire. Rather than working on one time period and/or region, my research is based on how this central theme unfolds in different settings. I study states and water in colonial history and archaeology, I work on emerging societal relations and power relations in environmental history and archaeology, and I work on the relation between humans, technologies and environment in current settings. My studies bring me to places like Indonesia, Kenya, Peru, the Ancient Near East and The Netherlands. All my activities are developed in close cooperation with colleagues from universities, NGO’s, and the private sector.

Projects

The Brantas Affiliation for Water Quality Management, otherwise known as Aksi Brantas, is a public-private partnership that supports inclusive growth, health, and equity by mainstreaming water quality in Brantas River basin management. It is financed by the Sustainable Water Fund. Aksi Brantas is a collaboration of change-makers working to strengthen water quality governance, inspire community action for river health, promote adoption of innovative technologies, and improve the availability of water quality data for planning and pollution control. The partnership aims for strengthened participative processes, increased cost-effectiveness, and strengthened coordination in existing Brantas water quality policy, planning, and implementation. The project is coordinated by the Water Resources Group.

The Save the tiger! Save the grasslands! Save the water! project focuses on tigers at the foot of the Himalayas. In the region, grasslands where the tigers hunt for deer are disappearing. Within the larger project, coordinated by Utrecht University, Water Resources develops a shared approach to achieve integrated water resources management (IWRM) in the region. In a process of intensive co-designed activities (like workshops and joint measurement campaigns), project partners and stakeholders are invited to discuss current and future IWRM issues and options. Discussions will be supported through an agent-based modelling approach, which allows exploring relationships between daily routines and human-environmental interactions and relate these to historical changes and issues of conflict resolution. Non-human actors, like tigers, deer, grass and water will be represented as well in these relationships. Together, this yields a co-creative, Living Lab framework approach that can be utilized to save the tigers and for similar projects elsewhere.

Biography

Associate Professor Water and Society

Ph.D. 2005    Delft University of Technology. Technical Sciences (irrigation and history of technology). Thesis:  Prescribing perfection. Emergence of an engineering irrigation design approach in the Netherlands East Indies and its legacy, 1830 – 1990. Prof.ir. Brouwer and Prof.dr.ir. Lintsen. 

M.Sc. 1993    Wageningen University.  Irrigation Engineering.  Majors: irrigation, history, philosophy. Minor: hydraulic engineering

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