Volume 32, Issue 5

September 2016

Research Article

An alternative framework for analysing and managing conflicts in integrated water resources management (IWRM): linking theory and practice

Jacob Hilemana, Paul Hicksb and Richard Jonesb
aDepartment of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California – Davis, CA, USA; bCatholic Relief Services, Latin America and the Caribbean

Contact: Jacob Hileman | Email: jhileman@ucdavis.edu


Research on water resource conflicts needs to be better aligned with practitioner approaches to water resources development, chiefly integrated water resources management (IWRM). This paper bridges the gap between research and practice through a novel application of the social–ecological systems framework to a set of 10 conflict cases from an IWRM initiative in rural Central America. The conflicts in the empirical cases are found to be primarily the result of sociopolitical variables, particularly low levels of trust and social capital, and peacebuilding is suggested as a promising approach to address this suite of conflicts. The paper concludes with a proposed course of research designed to further both theoretical and applied knowledge of water resource conflicts.

Pages: 675–691


Research Article

Conflict over a hydropower plant project between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan

Sonoko Itoa, Sameh El Khatibb and Mikiyasu Nakayamaa
aGraduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Japan; bEngineering systems & management, Masdar University, Masdar City, United Arab Emirates

Contact: Mikiyasu Nakayama | Email: nakayama@k.u-tokyo.ac.jp


Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Central Asian countries struggled to reach an agreement on the use of their shared fresh water resources. The conflict between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan regarding construction of the Rogun Hydropower Plant in the Amu Darya Basin seems deadlocked at present, despite copious efforts made by donor agencies. Therefore, this paper examines each country’s position using the numbers featured in the media.

Pages: 692-707


Research Article

The business of water in a changing world: organizations, connectors and support sector

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

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


As water resources are used for an array of societal purposes, a core set of institutions manages them through a water sector with connections to other societal sectors such as food, energy and health. A framework of the sector and its connectors is presented to develop definitions and order-of-magnitude estimates of expenditures for infrastructure, equipment and service delivery mechanisms. Examples are provided for the US to represent higherincome countries and for the general case of lower-income countries. Understanding water’s business aspects can identify opportunities to improve water efficiency and lower water footprints across the global range of contextual situations.

Pages: 708-720


Research Article

Sefficiency (sustainable efficiency) of water–energy–food entangled systems

Naim Haiea,b
aCivil Engineering Department, University of Minho, Guimaraes, Portugal, bInternational Water Resources Association, Montpellier, France

Contact: Naim Haie | Email: naim@civil.uminho.p


Water–energy–food (WEF) entanglement is intensifying and technology is being presented as a crucial solution. But time and again the implemented alternative manifests results contrary to the objectives of design or management. To advance water security, transparent and complete input–output methodologies are needed. Here, a Sefficiency (sustainable efficiency) framework is used to reason through systemic analyses of options for WEF schemes by using water quantity within a comprehensive water balance, and quality and benefits in a multilevel water-use system. An energy regime (cost and normalized functions) and Sefficiency compute performance of four cases that show flaws both conceptually and practically in current policy and scientific tendencies.

Pages: 721-737


Research Article

Water footprints and irrigated agricultural sustainability: the case of Chile

G. Donosoa, E. Blancoa, G. Francob and J. Lirac
aAgricultural Economics Department, and Water Law and Economics Center, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile; bFundación de Conservación Tierra Austral, Santiago, Chile; cInstituto Nacional de Estadísticas, Santiago, Chile

Contact: G. Donoso | Email: gdonosoh@uc.cl


This paper estimates the agricultural production water footprint (WF) of Chile, assessing green, blue and grey WFs of the main agricultural products for the main productive regions, taking into account climatic and soil differences. Chile’s agricultural production blue WF is geographically concentrated in the lower portion of the Northern Dry Pacific and Central Chile area, which present less water availability. Thus, irrigated agricultural production in Chile, a semiarid country, is characterized by high water stress. In this scenario, public policies are required to incentivize better water management in order to reduce water vulnerability while boosting development.

Pages: 738-748


Research Article

Cost-benefit analysis and equitable cost allocation for a residential rainwater harvesting system in the city of Austin, Texas

Hyun Woo Kima, Ming-Han Lia, Hyun Kimb and Hye Kyung Leea
aDepartment of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, Texas A&M University, College Station, USA; bDepartment of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

Contact: Hyun Woo Kim | Email: kim7230@email.tamu.edu


This study addresses the applicability and financial feasibility of residential rainwater harvesting systems in the city of Austin, Texas. A cost-benefit analysis is used to estimate the financial return for individual households with rainwater harvesting systems. In addition, a subsidy value that could be provided by the delay of a wastewater treatment plant expansion project is investigated. The findings suggest that a residential rainwater harvesting system would not be feasible without a sufficient subsidy. The estimated subsidy is also not enough to make the cost of the harvesting system effective; however, its multi-purpose benefits are not quantified.

Pages: 749-764


Research Article

Improving water security through rainwater harvesting: a case from Guatemala and the potential for expanding coverage

Laureen Elgerta, Patricia Austinb and Katherine Picchionec
aDepartment of Social Science and Policy Studies, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, MA, USA; bDivision of Watershed Management, Office of Water Supply, Massachusetts Department of Conservation, USA; cDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, MA, USA

Contact: Laureen Elgert | Email: lelgert@wpi.edu


Municipal infrastructure for water supply and delivery often does not reach populations in rural and peri-urban areas. This article examines rainwater harvesting as a means of increasing water security in such areas, through the case of Guachtuq, a peri-urban community outside San Cristóbal, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. The project team designed a rainwater harvesting system to improve three dimensions of water security: quantity, quality and access. The design was implemented for 12 households and evaluated for its contribution to water security and for the potential of expanding project coverage to the region and beyond. The system has improved water security. Several concerns remain, however, regarding the potential of expanding the project to other households in the region and beyond, including system cost, water quality and the individualization of public responsibility for water security.

Pages: 765-780


Research Article

Water policy in Spain: seeking a balance between transfers, desalination and wastewater reuse

Andrés Molina and Joaquín Melgarejo
Water and Environmental Sciences Institute, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain

Contact: Andrés Molina | Email: andres.molina@ua.es


Decision-making in water resources management is a perennial source of political debate. When a basin suffers from a structural water shortage the possible solutions are either a transfer from another basin or the use of other unconventional resources such as those obtained through desalination or water reuse. Politics and territorial interests have given rise to undesired fluctuations in Spain’s water policy, in particular with regard to transferring water from one basin to another. However, conflicts have not prevented water management in Spain from being one of the most advanced in the world, even with its unfavourable geographical context.

Pages: 781-798


Research Article

Treated wastewater use in Saudi Arabia: challenges and initiatives

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


The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia considers treated wastewater a major water source and aims to achieve 100% use of treated wastewater by 2025. This article reviews Saudi Arabia’s treated wastewater utilization status to date. It also highlights the key challenges facing the authorities, such as the substantial growth in demand for wastewater services; low coverage of the existing wastewater collection, treatment, and treated wastewater use systems; and the capital investment needed for infrastructure development. Finally, the article highlights the initiatives taken thus far to tackle these challenges and recommends further initiatives towards successful achievement of Saudi Arabia’s treated wastewater utilization objective.

Pages: 799-809


Book Review

Designing Water Disaster Management Policies: Theory and Empirics »

Conference Report

Seminar on ‘Water Security, Climate Change and Sustainable Development’, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India, 12 January 2015 »