Volume 33, Issue 1

January 2017

Editorial »
Cecilia Tortajada

Research Article

Public–private partnerships for water in Asia: a review of two decades of experience

Olivia Jensen
Institute of Water Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Contact: Olivia Jensen | Email: olivia.jensen@nus.edu.sg


This article reviews the development of public–private partnerships (PPP) in water services in Asia over the last two decades and situates the Asian experience within the wider global context. Through a comparative analysis of PPP data from two different sources, the article highlights the critical issue of how ‘private’ is defined in understanding the extent of PPP in Asia, due to the important role played by enterprises under mixed public and private ownership. The article identifies cyclical patterns of development of PPP in the water sector across countries and the use of hybrid contractual and institutional arrangements for PPPs.

Pages: 4-30

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2015.1121136 (Free Access)

Research Article

Strategies for urban drought risk management: a comparison of 10 large cities

Joost Buurmana, Marjolein J.P. Mensb and Ruben J. Dahmb
aInstitute of Water Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore; bDeltares, Delft, the Netherlands

Contact: Joost Buurman | Email:  joost@nus.edu.sg


Sustainable development of cities requires robust water supply systems, yet many cities need to resort to ad hoc measures when faced with a drought. This article aims to explore how cities can do better in reducing the risk of water shortage due to drought. To that end, a classification of drought measures in urban water supply systems is proposed, and then applied to 10 cities that recently faced a drought. We find that these cities used a relatively limited number and variety of measures. The classification can help cities evaluate different types of measures for reducing long-term water stress and limit the impact of extreme droughts.

Pages: 31-50


Research Article

Adding an implementation phase to the framework for flood policy evolution: insights from South Africa

Brendon Solikand Edmund C. Penning-Rowsellb
aSchool of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, UK; bFlood Hazard Research Centre, Middlesex University, London, UK

Contact: Edmund C. Penning-Rowsell | Email: edmund@penningrowsell.com


South African flood risk management policy changed radically after the end of apartheid (1994), with the Disaster Management Act of 2002 promoting a modern proactive approach. However, policy document research and two case studies show an implementation deficit. The ‘crises and catalysts’ theoretical framework used to analyze flood policy evolution needs more attention to implementation issues and the learning involved. Future flood policy change in South Africa or elsewhere should ensure that the process of learning is purposefully embedded within the structures, procedures and practices that are promoted to facilitate policy implementation, rather than being left to chance.

Pages: 51-68


Research Article

Will the energy industry drain the water used for agricultural irrigation in the Yellow River basin?

Xiaozhi Xianga,b, Jesper Svenssonc and Shaofeng Jiaa,b
aInstitute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources/Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China; bDepartment of Political Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China; cDepartment of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada

Contact: Shaofeng Jia | Email:  jiasf@igsnrr.ac.cn


This article employs the case of the Yellow River basin to advance understanding of the water–energy–food nexus by demonstrating how the country’s energy and agriculture sectors are competing for limited water supplies and by quantifying the future water demands in the two sectors. The results show that in 2030 the water demands for food and energy are likely to increase by less than 4 km3 and 1 km3, respectively, in the Yellow River basin. The analysis suggests that agricultural water savings and inter-basin water transfers are the main ways to ensure sufficient water flows through the basin to fulfil demand for both sectors while preserving the natural ecosystems.

Pages: 69-80

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2016.1159543 (Free Access)

Research Article

An analysis of the factors that influence industrial water use in Tianjin, China

Yizi Shanga,b, Jianhua Wanga, Yuntao Yea, Xiaohui Leia, Jiaguo Gonga and Hongwang Shia
aState Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of Water Cycle in River Basin, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing, China; bState Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China

Contact: Yizi Shang | Email: yzshang@foxmail.com


This study identifies the driving forces behind maximizing Tianjin’s industrial water use efficiency in China. For this purpose, a decomposition method is developed to quantify the degree of the impact of each factor. The results show that industrial expansion was responsible for an increase in annual water use of 78 million m³, while technical advances and water efficiency measures contributed annual water savings of about 76 million m³. Further, the results highlight that Tianjin has not considered the rise in water efficiency to be the primary goal of restructuring local industries over the past decade.

Pages: 81-92


Research Article

To desalinate or divert? A comparative supply cost analysis for north coastal China

Fei Lia and Eran Feitelsonb
aInstitute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China; bDepartment of Geography, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Contact: Eran Feitelson | Email: msfeitel@mscc.huji.ac.il


Seawater desalination is largely presented as a last resort to address water scarcity in closed basins. The question of whether seawater desalination can substitute for other costly measures, specifically large-scale diversion, has not been adequately assessed. To this end the full unit cost of supplying water to Beijing from the South-toNorth Water Diversion Project, the largest in the world, is compared to desalination. Desalination appears to be much more cost-efficient than diversion, even when the diversion’s environmental externalities are excluded. By implementing desalination and water management options, China could substantially reduce water costs; this suggests that desalination should not be viewed only as a last resort.

Pages: 93-110


Research Article

The interplay of activists and dam developers: the case of Myanmar’s mega-dams

Julian Kirchherra, Katrina J. Charlesa and Matthew J. Waltonb
aSchool of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; bSt Antony’s College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Contact: Julian Kirchherr | Email: julian.kirchherr@sant.ox.ac.uk


Scholars investigating activism against large dam developments in Asia usually focus on those campaigning, but not on those the campaigns are aimed at – the dam developers. Yet the developers’ perspective is crucial to comprehensively understand the dynamics of social and environmental activism in South-East Asia as well as its implications for the region’s energy landscape. This article analyzes the interplay of activists and Chinese dam developers in Myanmar via case studies of the Myitsone Dam and the Mong Ton Dam. The research is based on direct scholarly interaction with both activists and dam developers. It presents evidence of change from both sides: activists have professionalized in recent years; and Chinese dam developers now attempt to engage with civil society, albeit with limited success in the two cases studied. Yet, even with these changes, conflict over dam development persists, and the country may soon face severe limitations on development options for improving energy security. The case of Bhutan is also discussed to illustrate the potential of developing Myanmar’s hydropower resources.

Pages: 111-131

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2016.1179176 (Free Access)

Research Article

Determining overall water quality related to anthropogenic influences across freshwater systems of Thailand

Nuanchan Singkran
Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies, Mahidol University, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand

Contact: Nuanchan Singkran | Email: nuanchan.sin@mahidol.ac.th


Overall water quality in the 48 rivers of Thailand in 2009–2017 was determined using time series and water quality index models. Water quality degradation was mainly caused by high faecal coliform bacteria (FCB) and suspended solids in the North; high nitrate-nitrogen and total phosphorus in the Northeast; and high biochemical oxygen demand and FCB, and low dissolved oxygen in the Central Plains. FCB was a major parameter affecting water quality in the East, the West, and the South. High correlations among water quality and land use variables were detected. Management guidelines are provided to improve overall water quality.

Pages: 132-151


Research Article

Revisiting the history, concepts and typologies of community management for rural drinking water supply in India

Paul Hutchingsa, Richard Franceysa, Snehalatha Mekalab, Stef Smitsc and A.J. Jamesd
aCranfield Water Science Institute, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK; bNational Research Coordinator Community Water Plus, Hyderabad, India; cIRC, The Hague, the Netherlands; dInstitute of Development Studies, Jaipur, India

Contact: Paul Hutchings | Email:  p.t.hutchings@cranfield.ac.uk


Community management has been widely criticized, yet it continues to play a significant role in rural drinking water supply. In India, as with other ‘emerging’ economies, the management model must now adapt to meet the policy demand for ever-increasing technical sophistication. Given this context, the paper reviews the history and concepts of community management to propose three typologies that better account for the changing role of the community and external support entities found in successful cases. It argues that external support entities must be prepared to take greater responsibility for providing ongoing support to communities for ensuring continuous service delivery.

Pages: 152-169


Conference Report:

Water Leaders Summit 2016: Future of World’s Water beyond 2030 – a retrospective analysis »