Zoek medewerkers/organisaties dr.ir. CJL Seijger
Naamdr.ir. CJL Seijger

OmschrijvingUniversitair docent
OrganisatieDepartement Omgevingswetenschappen
OrganisatieeenheidWater Resources Management
Reguliere werkdagen
Ma Di Wo Do Vr
  • - Geen nevenwerkzaamheden
    jan 2020 - Nu


Can societies reorient agricultural water management against the backdrop of sustainable development challenges? This is the main question I pursue in my academic research and teaching. We know that sustainable development challenges are massive, with agricultural water being a major factor (food production, sufficient water quantity and quality for all, urban encroachment, agriculture-forest frontiers). Strategic decisions for agriculture and water have accelerated agricultural production in the past, often at the cost of increased pollution and environmental degradation.

Yet, to simultaneously feed a growing global population, and repair at least some of the environmental damage, alternative water management strategies are needed as “business as usual” ones are approaching limits in terms of reduced livelihood stability, economic profitability, and environmental impacts.

These concerns call for Reorientations. What is a Reorientation? It entails a clear shift from one strategy to another, for instance in the Ganges river from “polluted-sluggish flow” to “clean-continuous flow”. It is fairly explicit about what should happen strategy-wise, and how that translates to agricultural water management (crops, main flow regime, water resources). Multiple levels are covered, from field level (crops, water delivery, drainage) to the water system (rivers, canals, weirs, dams, dikes etc.), planning region (zoning, functions of water and agriculture), and institutional change.

Reorientations, a difficult but rewarding road to go? We know that Reorientations can be pursued and developed through strategic planning processes as they offer a systemic outlook (across sectors, beyond short-term political interests, multiple agro-eco-hydrological zones). We also know that changes in institutions and water management come at a slow pace (lock-in technology and power, short-term interests and exploitation prevail, biophysical system response time). As there is limited scientific evidence, it is very unclear if and how societies can reorient their agricultural water management. 

I intend to develop a theory how agricultural water management is reoriented in river basins and deltas. This theory will be developed through an online database, action research and explanatory case study research; in interdisciplinary collaboration with fellow scientists and practitioners. It will explain how reorientations are introduced, shaped and implemented over time, and to what extent they change water resources, technology, governance arrangements, power and justice relations. This theory will eventually help us to effectively reorient agricultural water management.

Previous employment

IWMI Lao PDR, University of Twente, Deltares, IHE Delft, University of Freiburg

Empirical research

Bangladesh, Egypt, Germany, India, Jordan, Lao PDR, Netherlands, Vietnam, United States, Africa continent   

Personal website: www.chrisseijger.com



  • Strategic planning
  • Water productivity
  • Crop water requirements
  • Water-forest linkages
  • Multi-level multi-systems
  • Assessments
  • Knowledge co-creation
  • Interdisciplinary research
  • Sketch your science
  • Analytical storytelling
  • "Interdisciplinary Water Man"
Sociale media
  Chris Seijger op Linkedin
  Chris Seijger op ResearchGate
  Chris Seijger op YouTube



Water Productivity Improvement in Practice

Pilot for polyaquaculture in the Mekong Delta

Integrated water and forest management in Germany: risks,measures, transferability (Freiburg University) 

Transition to sustainable groundwater use in the North China Plain - PhD research by Muying Duan

Impacts of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on Egypt's water security, and capacity to reorient agricultural water management - PhD research by Gaber Abdellatif

Recently completed: 

Mekong Delta Integrated Regional Plan 2030-2050

Strategic Delta Planning Bangladesh, the Netherlands, Vietnam



Chris Seijger teaches in the International Land and Water Programme programme (BSc and MSc).

  • WRM-10306 - Irrigation and Water Management
  • WRM-30806 - Water Delivery
  • WRM-34306 - Water System Design for Water Use from Multiple Sources
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