Socioeconomic development often causes environmental and water related problems. Any solution requires knowledge, willingness and sufficient financial and technical means. Such capacity is limited in many developing and threshold countries. To identify opportunities for strengthening capacity in water and environmental management, we analysed University curricula, identified synergies between Universities and practice, explored the potential of vocational training and awareness raising, and developed regional concepts for risk communication. The results present ways how Universities can make capacity development in the water sector in Latin America more efficient. We recommend to modernize curricula, to strengthen vocational training, to intensify public involvement and cooperation with practice, and provide methodological advice for implementation.