Personal profile

Research profile

Pieter van der Zaag is professor of water resources management at the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education and at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. Pieter was a PostDoc researcher and thereafter lecturer and professor at the University of Zimbabwe from 1993 to 2003. He has special interests in agricultural water management, water allocation issues in catchment areas and in the management of transboundary river basins, on which he has published widely. Pieter is fascinated by the dynamic relationship between biophysical and social processes when managing water, and in understanding patterns of cooperation over water.

Pieter’s current main research interests include:

  • The role of inequality and heterogeneity in enduring water institutions
  • Harnessing water by smallholders from nature-based storage in (semi-)arid regions in Africa
  • Water allocation in large irrigation systems – supporting canal operators with mobile model predictive control and earth observation techniques

Pieter has a track record of formulating and guiding major interdisciplinary research and capacity building projects, including in Eswatini (Swaziland), Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Mexico, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Pieter is associate editor of Water Policy, and member of the editorial board of Hydrology and Earth System Sciences. He is member of the Scientific Committee of the International Lake Environment Committee Foundation ILEC, and member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the African Studies Centre, Leiden.

Pieter studied irrigation engineering at Wageningen University, and obtained his PhD degree on a study of irrigation management in Mexico.

External positions

Water Management, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education

4 Jan 199731 Dec 2027


  • TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
  • water management
  • agricultural water management
  • transboundary water management


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