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Erik Gawel and Kristina Bernsen

Although the traditional approach in water resources management is to address water-related scarcity problems at the local or regional scale, some see water as a global resource with global drivers and impacts, supporting the argument for a global governance of water. If water is not appropriately priced, or if “poor water governance“ creates adverse incentives for resource use in countries that export “virtual water,“ then increased demand from the world market may lead to the overexploitation of water or increasing pollution. Is this reason enough for a global governance of regional water-scarcity problems? On which scale should water-management problems actually be addressed, and can global action compensate for local and regional governance failure? The paper argues that compensating globally for regional governance failure could cause “problems of fit“ and present severe downside risks.

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Kate Pride Brown

Why do some arid locations persist in having weak water conservation policies? And why do some wetter locales implement comparatively strong conservation requirements? Based upon 43 qualitative interviews with water stakeholders in four selected cities (Atlanta, Phoenix, San Antonio, Tampa), this article puts forward one contributing factor to explain this apparent contradiction: the variable “visibility” of stressed water resources. The material conditions of different water sources (e.g., groundwater, surface water) and geologies (i.e., during droughts or during flooding) provide variable opportunities to “see” water scarcity. The visual impacts of shrinking water resources can become a major motivating factor in the general public for increased water conservation. However, water supply is often physically invisible. In these circumstances, the image of water supply may be intentionally conjured in the public mind to produce similar concern. Assured, steady supply, on the other hand, can dampen the public will for strong conservation policy.

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Céline Hervé-Bazin

Water utilities have a strong potential for bringing key messages to water users, such as beneficiaries or non-state actors who will usually join together to manage water resources more effectively or based on participation of end-users. Water utilities have the possibility to convey local messages and to organize events that can generate changes. In this framework, they are important leaders for water communication. My main research interest is to consider the constraints to the communication of French water utilities on water resources in the European environment. I want to provide a theoretical concept to the communication of water utilities, analyze actual practices and case studies in order to highlight its main characteristics, and further study messages and the integration of targets groups throughout communication processes related to water issues. The main purpose of this publication is to analyze the specificities of communication by water utilities in France on water management resources, how they interact with their different target groups, and how they potentially contribute to the implementation of the European legislation. This article questions the way communication tools and strategies contribute to better implementation of EU water policies.

Spanish Las compañías de agua tienen un fuerte potencial para transmitir mensajes clave a los usuarios del agua, por ejemplo, a los beneficiarios o a los actores no estatales, quienes normalmente se unirán para gestionar los recursos hídricos de forma más eficaz o en base a la participación de los usuarios finales. Las compañías de agua tienen la posibilidad de transmitir mensajes locales y organizar eventos que pueden generar cambios. En este contexto, las compañías son importantes líderes para la comunicación sobre el agua.

Mi mayor interés de investigación es considerar los límites que se ejercen sobre la comunicación de las compañías francesas en materia de gestión de recursos hídricos en el contexto europeo. Deseo proporcionar un concepto teórico a la comunicación sobre el agua y analizar las prácticas vigentes y casos de estudio con la finalidad de resaltar sus características más importantes, así como estudiar los mensajes y la integración de los públicos objetivo a lo largo de los procesos de comunicación sobre asuntos hídricos.

El objetivo más importante de esta publicación es analizar las especificidades de la comunicación de las compañías de agua en Francia sobre el manejo de los recursos hídricos; cómo interactúan estas con los diferentes públicos objetivos y cómo contribuyen potencialmente a la implementación de la legislación europea. Este artículo cuestiona cómo las herramientas y estrategias de comunicación contribuyen a una mejor implementación de las políticas europeas sobre el agua.

French Les collectivités peuvent jouer un rôle clé pour transmettre des messages aux utilisateurs de l'eau, c'est-à-dire, l'ensemble des bénéficiaires ou la société civile qui peut être amené à participer à la gestion des ressources en eau. Les collectivités ont la capacité de sensibiliser à travers des outils locaux et d'organiser des événements qui peuvent changer les comportements des personnes touchées par un phénomène proche de chez eux. A ce titre, les collectivités peuvent devenir des porte-parole importants pour communiquer sur la préservation de l'eau. Notre recherche considère les limites qui s'exercent sur la communication des collectivités françaises en matière de gestion des ressources en eau dans le contexte législatif européen. Nous souhaitons éclairer la communication des collectivités à partir de l'analyse des pratiques actuelles et diff érentes études de cas afin d'en établir ses caractéristiques. L'enjeu est d'étudier l'adéquation entre les messages et les groupes cibles choisis au cours des diff érentes campagnes de communication dédiées aux défis de l'eau. Notre but est de détacher des éléments théoriques et si cette communication répond à des codes propres à toute communication locale sur l'eau. A partir de ces spécificités, nous étudierons dans quelle mesure les municipalités interagissent avec leurs publics cibles afin de faciliter l'application de la législation européenne à l'échelle locale. Nous analyserons en quoi ces outils et stratégies participent en eff et, à la réalisation des directives européennes sur l'eau.

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Neoliberal Water Management

Trends, Limitations, Reformulations

Kathryn Furlong

The impact of neoliberal policy reform on water management has been a topic of significant debate since the mid-1980s. On one side, a number of organizations have generated an abundant literature in support of neoliberal reforms to solve a range of water governance challenges. To improve water efficiency, allocation, and management, supporters have advocated the introduction and/or strengthening of market mechanisms, private sector ownership and operation, and business-like administration. Other individuals and groups have responded critically to the prescribed reforms, which rarely delivered the predicted results or became fully actualized. This article endeavors to articulate the varying sets of claims, to analyze the trends, to test them against their forecasted benefits, and to examine certain prominent proposals for reforming the reforms. The water sector experience with neoliberalization reveals several sets of contradictions within the neoliberal program, and these are discussed in the final section of the article.

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Julia Baird, Ryan Plummer, Diane Dupont and Blair Carter

Drinking water quality problems are persistent and challenging for many of Canada's First Nations communities despite past and ongoing initiatives to improve the situation. These initiatives have often been employed without consideration for understanding the social context that is so critical for the development of appropriate water governance approaches. This article offers insights about the relationship between institutions for water governance and perceptions in three Ontario First Nations communities. Similarities among communities were particularly noticeable for gender where women valued water more highly and were less content with water quality. The findings presented here highlight potential impacts of displacement, gender, and water sources on perceptions of water quality and offer initial insights that indicate the need for further research to consider the potential for adaptive governance approaches that enhance fit between problem and social contexts.

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William R. Thompson

Evidence on river flow levels and other forms of climate indicators suggest significant variation in climate and water availability within the Bronze Age period. Intermittent deterioration in climate appears to have contributed to periodic crises (toward the ends of the fourth, third, and second millennia, as well as in the middle of the second millennium) manifested throughout the Near East. These periodic crises are associated variably with hinterland pressures on urban centers, governmental collapse, and, to a lesser extent, economic contraction. Climate was probably not the primary driver of these times of troubles, but climatic deterioration systematically made things worse.

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Fetching Water in the Unholy Hours of the Night

The Impacts of a Water Crisis on Girls' Sexual Health in Semi-urban Cameroon

Jennifer A. Thompson, Fidelis Folifac and Susan J. Gaskin

In sub-Saharan Africa, girls' daily household chores often involve fetching water for their households. This article addresses the impact of uncertain water access in semi-urban Cameroon given the problems of rapid urbanization and increasing demands for water. A school competition engaged youth and key water sector actors in a dialogue about the water crisis in Buea town, and this resulted in the publication of the water distribution schedule. The event also drew attention to the gendered implications of the crisis in relation to girls' sexual health. Our analysis suggests that girls fetching water face multiple layers of risk that include gender-based violence and blame resulting from the gendered stigma attached to young people's behavior—particularly that of girls. All this serves to increase the moral panic surrounding youth sexualities. We explicitly use the term sexualities (plural) here to recognize the multiple ways in which sexualities may be expressed, constructed and experienced (Arnfred 2005). This research points to the dire need to better understand and consider within water management strategies how girls cope with and confront these risks.

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Samer Alatout

Three elements dominated scholarship on Israeli water politics and policymaking in the 1950s: (1) the state is often taken to be a fully established actor since its inception in 1948; (2) Israeli water policymaking was dominated by geopolitical and regional concerns over security and access to shared water resources; (3) water was, and continues to be, a scarce resource. This article argues that these elements result in the depoliticization of Israeli water policies and offers three counterarguments. First, the totality of any state is an ever-illusive construct. Second, Israeli water politics had an internal dimension that has to be investigated in its own right. Third, scarcity did not acquire the status of a "fact" until the mid-1950s. In fact, the struggle over the notions of water abundance and scarcity was an essential part of working through the political conflicts over the meaning of Jewish subjectivity, the boundaries of the state, and its right to intervene in civil society.

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Capacity as Aggregation

Promises, Water and a Form of Collective Care in Northeast Brazil

Andrea Ballestero

As the twenty-first century gets underway, people have been experimenting with many forms of political organization. In Northeast Brazil, that experimental spirit led to the creation of the Water Pact, a process involving more than eight thousand participants through a series of public promise-making rituals in which they made pledges to care for water, attending to the specificities of their own context. The Pact gathered those promises into a multi-scalar formation that, the organizers believed, would yield the necessary resources to address the state’s water problems. The Pact would break with an unsuccessful history of infrastructural and legal reforms concerning deep-water access in the state of Ceará. This article examines how that collective was produced, what its constituent units were and how the logic of aggregation guided practices leading to its coalescence. My purpose is to re-examine the aggregate as a quantitative form of capacity that should be qualitatively reconsidered.

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Stephen P. Mumme, Oscar Ibáñez and Suzanne M. Till

This article examines the state of binational multi-level water governance along the U.S.-Mexico border. Drawing on the well known multi-level governance (MLG) typology advanced by Hooghe and Marks (2003), the article pro files the Type I and Type II binational water institutions and programs now in place along the U.S.-Mexico border and examines their role in solving recent binational water disputes. The article shows that Type II MLG institutions make a modest contribution to the resolution of recent water conflicts on the Rio Grande and Colorado Rivers, enriching capacity for achieving cooperative and sustainable solutions in U.S.-Mexico border water management. Supporting and strengthening the new Type II MLG water management institutions is likely to facilitate greater binational cooperation in managing internationally shared water resources along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Spanish Este artículo examina el estado de la gobernanza multi-nivel (GMN) binacional del agua a lo largo de la frontera México-Estados Unidos. Utilizando la tipología ampliamente conocida de Hooghe y Marks (2003), el texto per fila las instituciones binacionales del agua y sus programas Tipo I y Tipo II que se encuentran a lo largo de esta frontera, y examina el rol que juegan en la solución de recientes disputas binacionales por el agua. El artículo muestra como las instituciones Tipo II de GMN realizan una modesta contribución a la solución de recientes conflictos del agua en los ríos Grande y Colorado, enriqueciendo la capacidad para lograr soluciones sustentables en base a la cooperación para el manejo del agua. El apoyo y fortalecimiento de nuevas instituciones de manejo de agua Tipo II de GMN probablemente facilitará una mejor cooperación binacional en la administración de recursos hídricos compartidos a lo largo de la frontera México-Estados Unidos.

French Cet article fait état de la gouvernance multi-niveaux (GMN) et binationale de l'eau le long de la frontière entre les États-Unis et le Mexique. Ce e recherche s'aligne sur la typologie bien connue de la gouvernance multi-niveaux proposée par Hooghe et Marks (2003). Elle décrit les types I et II des institutions binationales de l'eau, ainsi que les programmes actuellement réalisés le long de la frontière américano-mexicaine, tout en examinant leur rôle dans la résolution des conflits binationaux récents portant sur l'eau. L'article montre que les institutions multiniveaux de type II apportent une modeste contribution à la résolution des conflits récents au sujet des fleuves Rio Grande et Colorado, avec pour conséquence que la gestion des eaux transfrontalières entre les États-Unis et le Mexique voit un renforcement de ses compétences pour apporter des solutions coopératives et durables. Encourager et renforcer les institutions de gestion de l'eau de nouveau type II de la gouvernance multiniveaux est à même de faciliter une plus grande coopération binationale en termes de gestion des ressources aquatiques internationales, le long de la frontière entre les États-Unis et le Mexique.