Volume 30, Issue 2

June 2014

Research Article

The 2011 –2012 drought in the United States: new lessons from a record event

Neil S. Grigg
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, USA

Contact: Neil S. Grigg | Email: neilg@engr.colostate.edu


The record-setting 2011–2012 drought was the worst in the central regions of the United States since the 1930s. Short-term impacts included crop failures, job losses, water shortages, energy impacts, navigation problems and environmental losses. The event reinforced the need for water security and preparedness through collective actions for mitigation and response. It showed that innovations in water management can improve resilience but cannot mitigate all risks; comprehensive water-management and emergency-preparedness solutions are needed, based on effective collaboration between institutions. The main lesson of this complex and significant drought is about the need to strengthen intergovernmental cooperation and policy responses.

Pages: 183-199


Research Article

Planning and management of shared waters: hydropolitics and hydropsychology – two sides of the same coin

Bellie Sivakumar
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California, Davis, USA

Contact: Bellie Sivakumar | Email: s.bellie@unsw.edu.au


Politics and human behaviour play key roles in the planning and management of shared water resources. The interactions between politics and water resources (hydropolitics) have been extensively studied, and the need to study the interactions between human behaviour and water-related activities (hydropsychology) is increasingly recognized. Although both hydropolitics and hydropsychology are useful, neither by itself is adequate across all scales of water resources and human society. This paper reasons that hydropolitics is a top-down view and hydropsychology is bottom-up, and argues for a framework to reconcile the two for a two-way and more balanced approach.

Pages: 200-210


Research Article

De-nationalization and de-securitization of transboundary water resources: the Israeli –Palestinian case

David B. Brooksa and Julie Trottierb
aInternational Institute for Sustainable Development, Ottawa, ON, Canada; bProgamme de l’Eau, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Centre de Recherche Francais a Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Contact: David B. Brooks | Email: david.b.brooks34@gmail.com


Many people think of transboundary water in terms of national security. However, water is not, nor is it likely to become, a cause of war. Rather, the need is for water security, which implies that water management must balance the goals of efficiency, equity, sustainability and implementability. This article suggests how a joint management structure for fresh water can be designed to promote ongoing resolution of issues, and do so in a way that de-nationalizes and de-securitizes transboundary water. Though designed with the Israeli–Palestinian case in mind, the approach is applicable wherever water divides rather than unites states or peoples.

Pages: 211-223


Research Article

Steps towards an Afghanistan–Pakistan water-sharing agreement

Margaret J. Vick
Utton Transboundary Resources Center, University of New Mexico School of Law, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Contact: Margaret J. Vick | Email: mjvick@gmail.com


Negotiations between Afghanistan and Pakistan to share the international watercourses in the Kabul Basin will involve complex networks of natural, societal and political systems. The natural systems are strongly influenced by climate change; societal interests include an economy based on agriculture; and the region in both states is subject to turmoil and insecurity. Given these complexities, the recent joint announcement by the finance ministers of Afghanistan and Pakistan of plans to construct a hydropower project on the Kunar River is a significant step. However, much work remains to jointly develop and manage the waters in the Kabul Basin.

Pages: 224-229


Research Article

Re-examining conflict and cooperation in Central Asia: a case study from the Isfara River, Ferghana Valley

Mariya Paka, Kai Wegerichb and Jusipbek Kazbekovb
aCollege of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA; bInternational Water Management Institute, Central Asia Office, Tashkent, Uzbekistán

Contact: Kai Wegerich | Email: k.wegerich@cgiar.org


While conflict and cooperation in Central Asia are mainly focused on the larger basins (Amu and Syr Darya) and the implementation of the agreement reached directly after independence (1991), here an analysis of the history of water-sharing agreements in the Isfara Basin is presented. The paper reveals that there have been fierce negotiations and renegotiations even during the Soviet Union period between the Central Asian riparian republics; agreement was reached mainly though engineering solutions that brought more water to the basin. The paper highlights that although water-sharing agreements were reached early on, the technical capability of implementing these agreements was lacking. Similarly, even after independence, agreements had been reached but lack of water control hindered their implementation.

Pages: 230-245

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2013.837357 (Open Access)

Research Article

Managed aquifer recharge using quaternary-treated wastewater: an economic perspective

Slim Zekria, Mushtaque Ahmedb, Randa Chaiebb and Noreddine Ghaffourc
aDepartment of Natural Resource Economics, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman; bDepartment of Soil, Water and Agricultural Engineering, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman; cWater Desalination and Reuse Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia

Contact: Slim Zekri | Email: slim@squ.edu.om


An excess of 31 million m3/y of tertiary-treated wastewater is expected in Muscat, Oman, by 2015. This paper addresses the technical and cost estimation of managed aquifer recharge after reverse-osmosis treatment. The results indicate that the project is appealing from an economic perspective. The total cost varies between USD 0.353 and USD 0.550 per cubic metre, depending on the cost of electricity, the interest rate and the life span of the project. The project may face rejection from domestic users, who may be unwilling to accept mixing treated wastewater with the current water supply due to health risks. An alternative to indirect potable reuse is the installation of a separate network to service industrial users.

Pages: 246-261


Research Article

Poor state of irrigation statistics in India: the case of pumps, wells and tubewells

Stuti Rawat and Aditi Mukherji
IWMI, New Delhi Office, NASC Complex, DPS Marg, Pusa, New Delhi, India

Contact: Aditi Mukherji | Email: amukherji@icimod.org


Groundwater is the main source of irrigation in India, but there is a huge uncertainty about the number of groundwater structures. This paper compares data from four government sources on wells and tubewells, diesel pumps and electric pumps for time periods from the mid-1980s to the mid-2000s. There is a wide divergence in data, which is not attributable to mere time lags or definitional differences. This is a cause for concern, because lack of reliable estimates of these numbers affects realistic calculations of important variables such as groundwater extraction, electricity subsidies, and the carbon footprint of agricultural groundwater use.

Pages: 262-281


Research Article

Impacts of agricultural policy on irrigation water demand: a case study of Saudi Arabia

Omar K.M. Ouda
Department of Civil Engineering, Prince Mohammad bin Fahd University, Al Khobar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Contact: Omar K.M. Ouda | Email: oouda@pmu.edu.sa


Saudi Arabia’s groundwater resources have been heavily over-exploited to achieve food self-sufficiency. The country enacted a new agricultural policy that discourages the cultivation of wheat and encourages that of vegetables and fruits. This has produced significant reductions in irrigation water demand as well as food self-sufficiency. This paper reviews the performance of the Saudi agricultural sector and presents four scenarios forecasting the new policy’s long-term impacts on the use of water for agriculture. The findings show that the new policy does not support sustainable utilization of groundwater resources. Additional policy modifications are needed to optimize the combination of import and domestic production of agricultural products based on a sustainable water utilization strategy.

Pages: 282-292


Research Article

Rainwater and greywater harvesting for urban food security in La Soukra, Tunisia

Mark Redwooda, Moez Bouraouib and Boubaker Houmanec
aInternational Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada; bInstitut Superieur des Technologies de l’Environnement et de l’Urbanisme, Sidi-Daoud, Tunisie; cFaculte des Sciences, Tunis El Manar University, El Manar, Tunisie

Contact: Mark Redwood | Email: marcoredwood@yahoo.ca


This paper presents the findings of an integrated household water treatment and reuse system for agriculture in La Soukra, Tunisia. The researchers found that the system has an internal rate of return of 17% and a net present value range from USD 26,000 (at a 5% discount rate) to USD 11,000 (for a 10% discount rate). Benefits included more water for irrigation, reduced costs to service providers, increased agricultural production from greenhouses and expanded agricultural options. These results suggest that investments in rainwater harvesting and greywater treatment at the farm level can increase the financial feasibility of peri-urban farms, which are often faced with pressure from urban growth. The systems can also help build household resilience to broader environmental change by lowering the exposure of farmers to burdens associated with infrequent access to water and poor-quality soil.

Pages: 293-307


Research Article

Agricultural intensification in the Bang Phluang Irrigation Scheme, Prachinburi Sub-basin, Thailand, and its impacts on water management

Man Purotaganona and Dietrich Schmidt-Vogtb
aCandidate, School of Environment, Resources and Development (SERD), Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Klong Luang, Thailand; bCentre for Mountain Ecosystem Studies (CMES), Kunming Institute of Botany (KIB), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Kunming, China

Contact: Man Purotaganon | Email: purotaganon@gmail.com


Thailand has embarked on river basin–focused policies to improve technical infrastructure for and participation in water management. The Bang Phluang Irrigation Scheme in Thailand’s eastern region was started in 1971 to provide irrigation water, to control floods and to prevent salt-water intrusion. Farmers have increased the number of rice harvests and introduced fish and shrimp cultures. Agricultural intensification, however, has led to competition for water and to conflicts among farmers. The paper analyzes, within the context of policy and institutional change, the effects of agricultural intensification on water use, water management, conflicts, and conflict resolution.

Pages: 308-321


Research Article

Water policy in Jordan

Khaled A. Alqadi, and Lalit Kumar
Ecosystem Management, School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia

Contact: Khaled A. Alqadi | Email: kalqadi@une.edu.au


The primary problems in water quality and availability in Jordan stem from poor longterm planning. This paper looks at past and current policies related to water management, considers their weaknesses, and suggests means of improving the management and planning aspects and the need for desalination infrastructure. The major water issues in Jordan can be attributed to both policy implementation failure and a lack of on-the-ground application of regulations. This study indicates that desalination of Red Sea water can be a long-term viable option to meet the growing domestic water needs within Jordan.

Pages: 322-334


Research Article

Water demand versus supply in Saudi Arabia: current and future challenges

Omar K.M. Ouda
Department of Civil Engineering, Prince Mohammed Bin Fahd University, Al Khobar, KSA

Contact: Omar K.M. Ouda | Email: oouda@pmu.edu.sa


Saudi Arabia is facing a chronic water-shortage problem. Demand far exceeds the sustainable yield of both conventional and non-conventional water resources. The resulting demand–supply gap is being bridged through groundwater depletion. In this paper, demand–supply gaps for the coming 20 years are projected under three scenarios: optimistic, moderate and pessimistic. Future sustainable water yields are calculated and allocated to projected water demand in the domestic, industrial and agricultural sectors. The study shows that Saudi Arabia will not be able to bridge the demand–supply gap in the near future. Intensive water demand management measures are needed in all sectors to minimize future demand–supply gaps, especially focused on the largest water consumer: the agricultural sector.

 Pages: 335-344



Regulation and reality: some reflections on 50 years of international experience in water and wastewater

David W.M. Johnstone
School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, UK

Contact: David W. M. Johnstone | Email: davidwmj@gmail.com


Over 50 years of experience in the water sector is presented through the lens of a practitioner who has worked in over 30 countries mainly on wastewater but also on utility management, privatization and institutional development. This article tracks important developments in wastewater treatment leading to reuse but, more importantly, describes experiences where effective regulation and reality have parted company.

Pages: 345-354


Book Review

Institutional Governance and Regulation of Water Services. The Essential Elements »