Due to the world wide degradation of river catchments and their related aquatic resources the development of integrated management strategies has become an important issue. Tools and processes are required that support the integration of science, the needs of stakeholders and the local population, within existing political frameworks to achieve a sustainable catchment development. In this paper the potential of qualitative reasoning (QR) models for sustainable catchment management is evaluated by students and domain experts. This evaluation yields promising results. The evaluated QR models were found to represent complex knowledge in an understandable manner. Most people ‘largely or fully agreed’ that the presented QR models may significantly contribute to the understanding of students and stakeholders, concerning which entities and processes drive a sustainable development of a riverine landscape, and therefore enhances their decision-making capabilities. Due to its potential to integrate quantitative and qualitative knowledge, to build causal models, and to run dynamic simulations, the presented QR approach has great potential to become an important contribution to integrated catchment management at multiple levels of the implementation process thereof (such as education, decision-making, social learning, integration of different scientific disciplines, and communication).