Topic outline

  • Ever wondered what governance is? Or who are your stakeholders, and what is the difference between organisation and institution? How does legislation affect water engineering? And how this all is related to sustainability?

    Welcome to Water & Governance course! Kindly note that following Aalto University's latest instructions, teaching in Period III is organised remotely or in hybrid form. Contact sessions will be organised in Teams. Please see Online Practicalities section in MyCourses for further instructions.

    The course starts on TUESDAY 11.1. at 9.00 sharp: attending this Contact Session confirms your attendance in the course (subject to the student's approval to the course: see Sisu for more). 

    The course is part of our Master's Programme in Water and Environmental Engineering (WAT), and it provides you with an in-depth introduction to broad issue of governance in relation to water management. The course combines the theory of key elements of water governance with practical case studies, focusing on different governance contexts .

    The course sessions are on Tuesday mornings (9.00-12) and Thursday mornings (9.00-12) during Period III: note that the sessions start at 9.00 sharp! For details of the sessions, see the Sessions & Reading Circles sub-page.

    The responsible teacher for the course is Associate Professor Marko Keskinen, with Mia Pihlajamäki working as a Course Coordinator and Thomas Banafa as Course Mentor. In addition, we'll have a wonderful set of experts as our visiting lecturers. 

    You can send questions about the course to course email: wat-e2080 (at) 

    Welcome to the course!

    Course timetable with themes and lecturers

  • The course includes two type of sessions: Contact Sessions (mainly on Tuesdays at 9-12) and Case Study Sessions (mainly on Thursdays at 9-12). You can find materials related to each session below (note that you need to be logged in to MyCourses).

    Contact Sessions cover a specific weekly theme related to each of the case studies, presented by a lecturer who is typically also available for a short discussion with the specific Case Study group. Each Contact Session also has a list of reading material that you should check before the session. 

    Case Study Sessions are organised on Thursdays and most of the sessions include lectures focusing on frameworks and methods related to governance analysis. The sessions also include work on your Case Study with your group as well as discussion with your mentor. Most of the Case Study Sessions also include some reading material.

    Three Tuesday session start with a preparatory Reading Circle with your group (see more below).  

    You will also write short Personal Take-Home Messages from all sessions including a lecture (see more below).

    Table below gives you a general overview for the Sessions and course timetable. 

    Course timetable with themes and lecturers

    Group Work: Reading Circles + Case Study

    The group work during this course thus consists of two parallel processes: three preparatory Reading Circles as well as work on your Case Study. As an Individual Assignment, all students are required to submit a Personal Take-Home Messages from the sessions indicated in the table above.

    Reading Circles take place on selected Tuesdays at 9am-10am i.e. just before the Contact Session. For more information on Reading Circles, see information page below. 

    As the course builds on group work and discussions during the sessions, participation in the Reading Circles, Contact Sessions and Case Study Sessions is compulsory. You can miss one session: after that you have to compensate your absence with Personal Compensatory Task (see below).

  • The Case Studies form a key learning process of the course, and consists of three main parts: 

    1. Governance analysis of your Case Study
    2. Preparing a Case Study Report 
    3. Presenting your Case Study 

    Each of the Case Studies focuses on a given case at a different geographical scale. There will be 4-6 Case Studies, depending on the amount of student participating in the course: the Case Study groups are defined after the first Contact Session.   

    The tentative topics for the Case Studies are:

    • Group 1: Global water governance and SDGs 
    • Group 2: Transboundary cooperation in the Mekong River Basin 
    • Group 3: EU water governance
    • Group 4: Flood risk management in Finland: case Kokemäenjoki
    • Group 5: The governance of Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY 

    For detailed instructions on the Case Study (incl. Case Study Report and presentation), read carefully the instructions below (case study manual, to be uploaded on Jan 14th) and also go through the Case Study specific slides under Sessions & Reading Circles sub-page. 

    The aim of the Case Study is to provide a practical example of a particular governance context, and in this way to deepen your understanding of different governance settings. At the same time, the analysis work to be done for the Case Study gives you a possibility to apply a set of governance analysis methods in practice as well as to discuss them with your peers. 

    The Governance Analysis Methods session on Thu 13.1 will -together with Case Study Sessions on Thursdays- be particularly important for your Case Study: have a careful look at its slides. The methods session will introduce you the key methods to apply in your Case Study, while in other sessions you can plan and carry out your Case Study analysis together with your group. 

  • Course assessment is based on the assessment by both teachers and students in a following way: 

    • Half of the grade comes from the assessment by teachers 
           - 1/4 of the grade based on Reading Circle Summaries
           - 3/4 based on Case Study (25% from Case Study presentation, 75% from Case Study Report)

    • Half of the grade comes from the assessment by students through Peer & Self Assessment

    Instructions about Peer & Self Assessment will be provided during the course.

    Note that as there is no exam in the course but learning and assessment is based on group work, individual assignments and sessions, it is compulsory to participate in all Contact Sessions and Case Study Sessions. You can miss one session, after that you must do a personal Compensatory Task (see Sessions & Reading Circles sub-page).

  • Not available unless: You are a(n) Student

    This course is organised remotely or in hybrid form, with the help of online learning platforms: 

    • Contact Sessions and Group-specific activities and general communication during the sessions: Teams channel (see below)
    • Interaction, synthesising and brainstorming during sessions: Miro (link)
    • General information about the course + Reading Material and Session slides: MyCourses
    • Submissions: personal Take-Home Messages into MyCourses, group assignments into Teams (group's sub-channel and its Files tab) 

    Visualisation of the course's three online tools i.e. MyCourses, Teams and Miro

    On this page you’ll find specific information on the key practicalities of the course. A more general guide with more information by Aalto can be found here.


    A specific Microsoft Teams channel called WAT-E2080 is established for the course, and it is used for four main things: 

    1. Contact Sessions are organised in the General channel. The teachers will start a new meeting circa 5-10 minutes before the session starts. To join a Contact Session in Teams, click the "Join Meeting" in the General channel (do not start your own meeting in General channel, but join the one started by teachers). The ongoing meeting will appear in the post feed.
    2. General Q&A-platform for the course and communication channel during the Contact Sessions (through General channel)
    3. Main channel for your Group Work i.e. Case Study + Preparatory Reading Circles (through your group's sub-channel), 
    4. Session recordings will be available under each Teams session in the General Channel. 

    The course's Teams has also five specifics sub-channels for each of the five groups: if you cannot see all the five channels, click 'Hidden channels' and make them visible. Your group's sub-channel is used for the Preparatory Reading Circle meetings on Tuesdays and Case Study work on Thursdays: you can meet virtually just with your own group by going to your group's sub-channel and one of you first clicking "Meet" and then others joining that Meeting through the link that becomes available in sub-channel chat in the Posts tab. Your group's sub-channel is also the main channel to connect with your group's mentor (Mia or Thomas): you can invite your mentor to your meeting by mentioning i.e. pinging her/him with @-character in your sub-channel chat. 

    The Teams channel is available just for course students and lecturers. To join the channel follow these steps: 

    1. Download Teams App, instructions: 
    2. Open Teams App and click “Teams” (on the left)
    3. Click Join or create a team (up right)
    4. Enter the code (uvgqctb) and you’re in!

    Note that the lectures will usually be recorded, and made automatically available into the Teams channel. The recordings will be shared only with the students taking this course as well as teachers, and the interactive parts of the session are usually not recorded: you can also ask recording to be stopped before you e.g. ask a question or comment a topic. 


    Miro is an online whiteboard platform that is used in our course to enhance interaction during the sessions. For instructions, see:   

    The course has its own Miro board with a unique link (WAT-E2080 2022, Online Whiteboard for Visual Collaboration ( We will use the same Miro board throughout the course, and each session has its own frame and related content: make thus sure to zoom out to find the right frame for each session!