Special Issue: Asian Perspectives on Water Policy
CHINA’S LEGAL SYSTEM FOR WATER MANAGEMENT: BASIC CHALLENGES AND POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS (pp. 3-22)
Peng Shugang, Complaint Reception Office of Shanghai Municipal Government, Shanghai, PR China
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Abstract: During the period 1978-2008, China’s legal system for water management experienced a positive evolution process, but all the management measures were heavily reliant on administrative regulation with limited application of a market mechanism, which was exacerbated by limited public participation and offset by distorted incentives on the part of the government officials in law enforcement. Empirical study reveals that the current legal reform is inadequate to redress the challenges in water management. An integrated water management system based on a market mechanism, public participation, and a sensible incentive for government officials is advisable to resolve the looming water crisis in China.
THE WATER-ENERGY PUZZLE IN CENTRAL ASIA: THE TAJIKISTAN PERSPECTIVE (pp. 23-26)
Murodbek Laldjebaev, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Abstract: The intricacy, interrelatedness, and complexity of the issues surrounding the management and use of Central Asia’s natural resources call for a careful analysis of each issue. In this paper, the scope of the discussion will be restricted mainly to water-energy issues, and the focus will be primarily on Tajikistan. The significance of the discussion is intended for the ordinary people who suffer the consequences of the unresolved issues in the water and energy sectors. This paper aims to contribute towards demystifying the water-energy puzzle by searching for the sources of the problems as well as the avenues for their resolution.
THE EMERGENCE OF WATER AS A ‘HUMAN RIGHT’ ON THE WORLD STAGE: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES (pp. 37-49)
Arjun Kumar Khadka, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Abstract: Since the end of the Cold War, the world has moved towards democratization, globalization, liberalization and privatization in an enthusiastic and complex fashion. Such an environment could be beneficial for the promotion and protection of human rights at regional, national and international levels. In practice, human rights are basic things, such as the right to food, the right to a home and the right to freedom. However, a right to water is not mentioned as a human right in the various international declarations, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In this regard, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which was established to oversee the implementation of the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, presented a document at the UN 29th Session, in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2002. The committee re-interpreted Articles 11 and 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and concluded that ‘water’ can be considered to be a ‘human right’. After that conclusion, water is legally emerging as a human right in many countries. However, there are significant challenges and opportunities for implementing the idea that water is a human right.
TERRORISM—A NEW PERSPECTIVE IN THE WATER MANAGEMENT LANDSCAPE (pp. 51-63)
Tristan Sim Tong Ping, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Abstract: This paper establishes the urgency of water terrorism by showing how the drinking water system can be and has been attacked. The paper discusses the lack of global dialogues on water terrorism and urges officials and experts to rethink the issue. Even as global water experts engage in deep discussions to improve water systems and accessibility, such dialogues, while seemingly unrelated to terrorism, can indeed be starting points for discussions on water terrorism. A simple approach to protect the water system is suggested. It is impossible to protect against every known threat, but there are many cost-effective solutions. By applying some basic, pragmatic guidelines, even developing countries can adopt cost-effective solutions to protect their water systems.
SINGAPORE WATER MANAGEMENT POLICIES AND PRACTICES (pp. 65-80)
Ivy Ong Bee Luan, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Abstract: This paper explains Singapore’s holistic approach and effective governance on water management in Singapore. Since gaining independence, an enabling environment which includes a strong political will has pushed the country successfully to achieve self-sufficiency in water. There are also legal/regulatory and institutional frameworks put in place to ensure effective implementation of its water management policies. The institutional framework has facilitated an integrated ‘whole-of-government’ approach to land-use planning, water management, a sound built environment and pollution control. Lastly, the technical framework that comes under its national water agency has effectively managed the entire water cycle as a single system for the whole country.
WATER MANAGEMENT IN FIJI (pp. 81-96)
Vinesh Kumar, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Health & Production Division, Suva, Fiji Islands
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Abstract: According to The World Bank, Fiji has one of highest per-capita fresh water resources in East Asia and the Pacific. However, these water resources are not evenly distributed—they are not equally plentiful in all places, nor is water equally available at all times. Above all, Fiji is an archipelago with a total of 332 islands (of which 110 are inhabited), hence managing water is a major challenge in itself. This paper tries to give a comprehensive outlook of water management in Fiji. It also outlines the key challenges for water management in Fiji and articulates broad recommendations. The paper concludes that the challenges of ensuring that water is conserved and managed wisely are huge and no single agency can address them in isolation. Strengthening partnerships among stakeholders (governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and donors agencies) is the way forward.
URBAN WATER SYSTEMS—FACTORS FOR SUCCESSFUL CHANGE? (pp. 97-109)
Pong Kok Tian, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Abstract: What makes urban water system reform a success in some places, but a failure in others? Is there a fixed formula for success? This paper does not pretend to have the answers to the above questions. Through a focused study of the urban water system management experiences of Santiago, Chile, between 1990 and 1998 and that of Singapore, and by drawing parallels between the two, this paper attempts to identify, despite the different historical, political, social and economic context, some common factors behind their successful urban water system reform.
ELIMINATING ‘YUCK’: A SIMPLE EXPOSITION OF MEDIA AND SOCIAL CHANGE IN WATER REUSE POLICIES (pp. 111-124)
Leong Ching, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Abstract: Water reuse is an efficient way of managing water resources in cities, but reuse policies have often been derailed by the ‘yuck’ factor. While yuck has often been thought of as a problem of public acceptance, this paper argues that there is a more profitable way to frame the issue—as a form of social construct by the media, forming the basis of new learning by the public. This is then illustrated by way of an analysis of newspaper articles in Australia and Singapore. Some preliminary implications for norm formation and possibilities for theory-building are discussed.
Economics of Water Resources, edited by R. Quentin Grafton, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 2009