Executive Programmes

Action Learning: learn to act, act to learn

Masterclass in Water Management

While there is a component of water management that will deal with municipal and industrial water supplies this masterclass will cover the depth and breadth of water management for food production. This seminar focuses on the water we need to grow our food – the ‘elephant in the room’ of water resources planning. It argues that food production is an essential water user ranking alongside water for people and the environment, and is a crucial element of an integrated approach to water resources management (IWRM).

This is an engineer’s view of water management and is aimed at professionals working in the water and water-using sectors both in Europe and in the developing countries where water shortages are likely to be most acute. It is particularly aimed at those who are not from engineering background and are seeking a better understanding of how engineers work and think and what IWRM means in planning and in practice.

The Masterclass in Water Management covers the following topics:
  • Develop a holistic view of water management and the water industry
  • Safety plans, risk- and disaster management
  • Water distribution and sanitation
  • Irrigation and irrigation development
  • Influence water demand, usage and conservation (sustainable environment)
Features of the Masterclass Water Management at BSN
  • English
  • Practical approach
  • Close collaboration with fellow students from various branches
  • Practical professors from different branches
  • Maximum 18 participants per group to ensure personal attention
Why choose BSN?
  • One of the oldest business schools in the Netherlands.
  • Provides Action Learning MBA programme for more than 30 years.
  • Thousands of Action Learning Projects have been implemented worldwide.
  • A large and dynamic alumni network in The Netherlands and worldwide
  • Experienced coaches and specialist practical tutors from various industries.
  • You hold a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent;
  • You currently are a manager, management trainee or hold a similar managerial position in an organisation dealing with water management;
  • You hold at least two years of relevant postgraduate work experience;
  • You have a good command of the English language, enabling you to take part in English spoken courses;

If you fail to meet any of the aforementioned criteria but feel you still should be considered for enrolment, please contact us. Under certain circumstances, exceptions can be made.

Module 1: Introduction to water resources engineering, planning, and management
  • An overview of world water resources.
  • The water challenge: Growing populations, migration, changing diets, climate extremes of floods and droughts.
  • The politics of water. The fallacy of ‘silo thinking’ when water resources are limited.
Module 2: The UN development agenda – Can we achieve ‘the water goal’?

Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) as an alternative strategy and the idea of Water Security, is accepted in principle but the challenge is – how to put it into practice?
Water and IWRM are at the heart of the 2030 UN Development Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG6 in particular – ‘the Water Goal’. Can we actually achieve it or is it a dream?
When water is limited it is all about making difficult choices – water supply, agriculture, energy, amenity, environment? What are the trade-offs? Who gains and who suffers? How do we incorporate ‘ecological thinking’ into mainstream water planning and management?

Module 3: The five great myths of water resources planning and management

The five great water myths that can inhibit sensible water planning and management.

  • Finite vs limited water resources
  • Water use vs consumption
  • Water efficiency vs saving water,
  • Is wastewater a new resource?
  • What do we mean by sustainable water resources?
Module 4: Water for food

A historical perspective, where and how irrigation has developed.
Irrigation’s role in national and international food security.
What irrigation looks like in developing and developed countries. Contrast sub-Saharan Africa with-UK Europe.
The concept of blue, green, and virtual water and the impact of virtual water on both developing and developed countries.
The dilemma of smallholder vs large scale farming, land grabbing, smallholder farming is the backbone of poorer countries of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, low productivity.
The growing importance/reliance on groundwater for agriculture.

Module 5: The big question – do we have enough water to feed future populations 2050 onwards?

Climate change and the changing patterns of droughts and floods across the
world and the impact on food production and people’s livelihoods will all determine the answer to the above question. Dealing with food waste. Dealing with ‘easy’ and
‘difficult’ hydrology.

Module 6: Some final Bathtub hydraulics

Using a series of guest and on-line lecture format the following issues will be touched upon from a municipal and industrial water supply point of view:

  • Best practices in water purification and reticulation
  • Setting up a fool-proof water management infrastructure
  • Developing a water crisis contingency plan
  • Water distribution and management plan during drought
  • Quality, safety and risk management in water supply value chain

Start Date

16 – 19 October 2019

Once the maximum number of participants has been reached, the open registration closes.


9.30 – 17.00

Total Participants

8 – 18


EUR 2,750 (free of VAT and including arrangement costs)
EUR 2,500 for alumni and students (free of VAT and including arrangement costs)


  • Books and study material (articles and abstracts)
  • Lunches, meals and other consumptions
Lead faculty member – Melvyn Kay

Melvyn Kay BSN Tutor Masterclass Water ManagementMelvyn Kay has over 40 years’ international experience in consultancy, teaching, and research in water and natural resources development. He has experience training young professionals from over 60 different nations and from a wide range of backgrounds. He is currently enjoying his experience of helping people and organisations to communicate information, experiences, and ideas in simple straight-forward ways. Melvyn’s early career with S M MacDonald and Partners (now Mott MacDonald), consulting engineers, in the Middle East and Africa was in planning, designing, and building irrigation schemes. Then followed 25 years with Silsoe College (now Cranfield University) teaching postgraduates from over 60 different countries about irrigation and hydraulics. A great training ground for ‘learning how people learn’, how to explain principles and practices, and get ideas across to a whole range of people with different disciplines, abilities, languages, and cultures. Melvyn lectures on irrigation and hydraulics at Imperial College, London and IHE Delft.

‘Water is my passion and I have made a decision to remain in the water sector so this came at the right time for me. I am going to learn new and relevant techniques to address water related issues we have.’

Dimakatso Manzini

MBA Student, Majoring in Water Management, South Africa

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