In Memoriam Dr. ir. Bert Enserink


It is a great sadness to lose Dr. Bert Enserink, who was an Editorial Board member, reviewer and contributing author to the International Journal of Water Governance (IJWG). After a short illness, Bert passed away on 18 July 2022. Prior to his death he reviewed and contributed to several articles as a co-author or co-editor that will be published soon in a special issue of the journal. In serving on the Editorial Board, Bert guided and inspired water governance professionals in addition to his teaching and supervisory activities at the Faculty of Technology, Policy, and Management of the Delft University of Technology. We will always remember him as our dear colleague, friend and mentor who possessed deep knowledge on governance in the water domain.

His scientific research focused on participative decision-making in water and environmental management both in The Netherlands and internationally. For instance, he provided technical advice and support to research projects in the Nile River basin, Kerala state in India, and the port-city of Durban in South Africa. He was instrumental in the development of scenarios for the ‘Nile Basin by 2050’ through his facilitation of a participatory scenario-building exercise in Jinja, Uganda. This approach resulted in four scenarios for the future of the basin that were then presented to the eleven water ministers and over 400 participants during the annual Nile Basin Development Forum in Nairobi, Kenya. Bert sought to enhance policy decision-making by using the knowledge of diverse experts to predict plausible futures. Democracy, trust-building, and inclusiveness were some of the main tenets that Bert advocated as essentials in resolving governance failures within the water sector. 

Bert offered his knowledge and expertise to all who came to him for assistance. He mentored and co-supervised a student in South Africa, Obakeng Molelu, who was researching transitions in the relationship between Durban port and the city during mega-projects. Key in the study was the framing in terms of policy analysis for multi-actor systems and the use of multiple data analysis approaches to provide insights to the actors managing the systems for use in future planning and development decision making.

He was a tireless mentor and coach to an upcoming generation of water governance scholars. One of his last achievements was the successful delivery of a Perspective article on the Nile for our journal together with Lama El Hatow, Abeer Abazeed and Abby Onencan. He was involved in preparatory work, workshop facilitation and in the synthesis and interpretation of findings. He was never bothered by logistical issues and was always present in online and offline meetings, contributing right up to the very last minute when the article was accepted. He initiated the first draft of the article, and the emails that he sent encouraging its modification contained no indication of authority, though he was the expert in the field. Working with Bert was enabling, productive, and a learning experience.

Through this work and his many other contributions in the field of water governance, we his co-authors and co-editors believe that his voice will live on and continue to inspire others.  May his voice live on in the knowledge and skills he passed on to all he mentored. He will be greatly missed, but not forgotten.

In loving memory

Abby Muricho Onencan

Abeer Abazeed

Lama El Hatow 

Obakeng Molelu

The Editorial Board of the International Journal of Water Governance