Together with the Bonn Water Network, the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) was again very active on this year’s UN World Water Day on 22 March. Connecting with this year’s focus on the global groundwater crisis, Annabelle Houdret, DIE, moderated a panel discussion on „Digging Deeper: How to address ground-water challenges in the Middle East and North Africa?„. Francois Molle (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement), Raya Stephan (International Water Resources Association), Birgit Kemmerling (Bonn International Center for Conflict Studies) and Ines Dombrowsky (DIE) debated technical, economic, institutional and political solutions to the groundwater crisis in the MENA region. Annabelle Houdret, Birgit Kemmerling and Ines Dombrowsky published a column on the same issue, which shows how closely groundwater overuse in the MENA region is linked to power relations and social contracts. In their article „Unravelling hidden factors explaining competition for and overuse of groundwater in Azraq, Jordan: Digging deeper into a network of action situations„, Daniel Oberhauser, Ramona Hägele and Ines Dombrowsky analyse the competition between different sectors in the overuse of groundwater in Jordan’s Azraq Oasis. The article by Annabelle Houdret and Rebekka Heinz „Groundwater governance through institutional bricolage? Participation in Morocco’s Chtouka aquifer contract“ reveals how power relations, social institutions, social and cultural affiliations and insufficient participation influence the implementation of a groundwater contract in southern Morocco. Both articles highlight ways to support a socio-ecological transformation that also takes into account local socio-economic power relations.