Volume 34, Issue 2

March 2018

Editorial »
Impacts of megatrends on the global water landscape
Cecilia Tortajada and Asit K. Biswas

Research Article

Potential outcomes of multi-variable climate change on water resources in the Santa Basin, Peru

Arnout van Soesbergen and Mark Mulligan
Environmental Dynamics Research Group, Department of Geography, King’s College London, UK

Contact: Arnout van Soesbergen | Email: arnout.van_soesbergen@kcl.ac.uk


Water resources in the Santa Basin in the Peruvian Andes are increasingly under pressure from climate change and population increase. Impacts of temperature-driven glacier retreat on streamflow are better studied than those of precipitation changes, yet present and future water resources are mostly dependent on precipitation, which is more difficult to predict with climate models. This study combines a broad range of projections from climate models with a hydrological model (WaterWorld), showing a general trend towards an increase in water availability due to precipitation increases over the basin. However, high uncertainties in these projections necessitate basinwide policies aimed at increased adaptability.

Pages: 150-165


Research Article

Climate change, water management and stakeholder analysis in the Dongjiang River basin in South China

Liang Emlyn Yanga, Faith Ka Shun Chanb,c,d and Jürgen Scheffrane
aGraduate School of Human Development in Landscapes, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Germany; bSchool of Geographical Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Nottingham Ningbo China; cSchool of Geography, University of Leeds, UK; dWater@Leeds Research Institute, University of Leeds, UK; eResearch Group Climate Change and Security, Institute of Geography, University of Hamburg, Germany

Contact: Liang Emlyn Yang | Email:  lyang@gshdl.uni-kiel.de


This article proposes a systematic analysis of water management and allocation on the scale of a river basin, considering climate impacts and stakeholder networks in the Dongjiang River basin in South China. Specific approaches are integrated to explore various subtopics. Findings indicate a slight increase of precipitation in the basin and strong fluctuations in this century due to climate extremes, which may lead to seasonal or quality-related water shortages. It is highlighted that alternative options for holistic water management are needed in the basin, and participatory water allocation mechanisms and establishment of a basin-wide management framework could be helpful.

Pages: 166-191

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2016.1264294 (Open Access)

Research Article

Conventional and holistic urban stormwater management in coastal cities: a case study of the practice in Hong Kong and Singapore

Mo Wanga, Dong Qing Zhangb, Appan Adhityanc, Wun Jern Ngc, Jian Wen Donga and Soon Keat Tand
aCollege of Landscape Architecture, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou, China; bAdvanced Environmental Biotechnology Centre, Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute, Singapore; cNanyang Environment and Water Research Institute, Singapore; dSchool of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Contact: Jian Wen Dong | Email:  fjdjw@126.com


This study compares stormwater management in two coastal cities: Hong Kong and Singapore. Hong Kong adopted conventional urban stormwater management for flood control and embraced hardengineering infrastructure in the scheme. In contrast, Singapore has put in place a series of holistic management practices to manage urban runoff. By comparing the stormwater management practices in these two cities, the differences in approaches to non-structural and structural practices were elucidated. Life cycle costing and environmental benefit analysis indicate that holistic urban stormwater management can lead to higher economic efficiency, sustainability and environmental friendliness, compared to conventional urban stormwater management.

Pages: 192-212


Research Article

A conceptual market framework for water-bound nitrate pollution

Craig D. Broadbenta, Richard L. Bernknopfb and David S. Brookshirec
aDepartment of Economics, Brigham Young University–Idaho, Rexburg, ID, USA; bDepartment of Economics, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA; cDepartment of Economics (Emeritus), University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Contact: Craig D. Broadbent | Email:  broadbentcr@byui.edu


The conversion of bottomland hardwood and swamp forests to irrigated agriculture has had problematic consequences for water bodies. Many of these problems can be linked to the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers to increase crop production. To date, there is little monitoring of nitrogen use in watersheds, which may be due to large fixed costs. Using market-based techniques which have addressed previous environmental challenges, with remotely sensed data to track a pollutant’s source, may be one alternative, by incentivizing nitrogen users to behave according to abatement costs traced back to the point of origin of a pollutant.

Pages: 213-228


Research Article

Improving sanitation in informal settlements of East African cities: hybrid of market and state-led approaches

Aime Tsindaa,b, Pamela Abbottc, Jonathan Chenowethd, Steve Pedleyand Maurice Kwizeraf
aUrban Planning and Environmental Geography, University of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda; bInstitute of Policy Analysis and Research, Kigali, Rwanda; cSchool of Social Science, University of Aberdeen, UK; dCentre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK; eDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Surrey, Guilford, UK; fWaterAid Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda

Contact: Aime Tsinda | Email:  aime.tsinda@gmail.com


This paper analyzes how sanitation can be improved in the informal settlements of East African cities through a hybrid model. Qualitative research was carried out in eight settlements in three cities. Findings show that all cities apply a hybrid model (with some variation) when providing improved sanitation to their residents. Sanitation services were available in all cities, but there was no evidence of the state actively organizing a functioning sanitation market in Kampala or Kisumu. This implies that a hybrid model with a strong and committed developmental state is the right choice in the context of the informal settlements of East African cities.

Pages: 229-244


Research Article

Commercial farmers’ strategies to control water resources in South Africa: an empirical view of reform

Linda Estelí Méndez-Barrientosa, Jeltsje Sanne Kemerinkb, Philippus Westerc,d and François Mollee,f
aDepartment of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis, USA; bUNESCO-IHE Institutefor Water Education, Delft, the Netherlands; cInternational Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu, Nepal; dWater Resources Management Group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands; eInstitut de Recherche pour le Développement, Montpellier, France; fInternational Water Management Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Contact: Linda Estelí Méndez-Barrientos | Email:  lemendez@ucdavis.edu


This article shows how large-scale commercial farmers, individually and collectively, are responding to land and water reform processes in the Thukela River basin, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. With a high degree of innovative agency, commercial farmers have effectively executed four strategies, enabling them to adapt and use their access to resources to neutralize multiple water reform efforts that once promised to be catalysts for inclusive change in the post-apartheid era. It is likely that policy alone will not facilitate the envisioned transformation, if local practices are not sufficiently understood and anticipated by the governmental officials charged with the implementation of water reform processes.

Pages: 245-258


Research Article

Livelihood assets and institutions for smallholder irrigation farmer market access in Limpopo, South Africa

Vongai G. Murugani and Joyce M. Thamaga-Chitja
African Centre for Food Security, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Contact: Vongai G. Murugani | Emails:  vgmurugani@gmail.com, muruganiv@ukzn.ac.za


Despite having access to irrigation water, many smallholder irrigation farmers in rural South Africa remain subsistence-oriented, with little market participation. Their tangible and intangible assets influence production and market access. Largely qualitative data collected in rural Limpopo Province show that the farmers’ tangible assets supported production but in some instances restricted them from producing efficiently. Likewise, their intangible assets mostly limited their capacity to produce efficiently, to find markets or to organize themselves. These farmers’ tangible assets need to be upgraded and their intangible assets need strengthening to increase production capacity and marketing efficiency.

Pages: 259-277


Research Article

Rainfed areas: poor definition and flawed solutions

M. Dinesh Kumara, V. Ratna Reddyb, A. Narayanamoorthyc, Nitin Bassid and A.J. Jamese
aInstitute for Resource Analysis and Policy, Hyderabad, India; bLivelihoods and Natural Resource Management Institute, Hyderabad, India; cDepartment of Economics and Rural Development, Alagappa University, Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu, India; dInstitute for Resource Analysis and Policy, New Delhi Office, India; eInstitute of Development Studies, Jaipur, India

Contact: M. Dinesh Kumar | Email:  dinesh@irapindia.org


This article questions the criterion used by government of India to classify agricultural areas into ‘rainfed’ and ‘irrigated’, merely on the basis of percentage of area under irrigation, in spite of the vast differences in the biophysical and socio-economic characteristics between areas classified as ‘rainfed’. This criterion fails to consider the agroclimate and hydro-meteorology of the area, which decide whether crops can be grown under rainfed conditions or require irrigation. Watershed development interventions, which are usually prescribed for agricultural development of rainfed areas, are bound to fail when rainfall is low and aridity is high, and strategically, interventions should be based on agro-ecology and hydro-meteorology.

Pages: 278-291


Research Article

Exporting water from the desert? An analysis of the virtual water content of Saudi Arabian agricultural exports

Ali Alsamawia, Joy Murraya, Jorge Gómez-Paredesb and Rachel C. Reyesa
aIntegrated Sustainability Analysis / School of Physics, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; bSchool of Geological Sciences and Engineering, Yachay Tech University, Urcuquí, Ecuador

Contact: Ali Alsamawi | Email: ali.alsamawi@sydney.edu.au


This study applies input-output analysis to evaluate and trace Saudi Arabia’s virtual water exports arising from exports of agricultural products. Saudi Arabia’s total virtual exports in 2011 were around 2.42 km3, mainly to neighbouring Arab countries. This amount is enough to meet the water demand of the country’s entire population. Agricultural exports seem economically beneficial only because they rely on groundwater; however, since the indirect cost of desalinating equivalent amounts of water for domestic purposes is much higher, a better strategy would have been to direct those water resources towards domestic needs.

Pages: 292-304


Research Article

Ecological patterns of fish distribution in the Slave River Delta region, Northwest Territories, Canada, as relayed by traditional knowledge and Western science

Cara Baldwina, Lori Bradfordb, Meghan K. Carrc, Lorne E. Doigd, Timothy D. Jardinee,Paul D. Jonese, Lalita Bharadwajb and Karl-Erich Lindenschmidtc
aSchool of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada; bSchool of Public Health, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada; cGlobal Institute for Water Security, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada; dToxicology Centre, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada; eToxicology Centre and the School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada

Contact: Karl-Erich Lindenschmidt | Email:  karl-erich.lindenschmidt@usask.ca


Indigenous community members along the Slave River in Canada have voiced their concerns for the health of ecosystems under pressure from resource extraction, hydroelectric development and global climate change. We present a test case of traditional knowledge and scientific results about the spawning and migration patterns of fish in the Slave River and Delta. This dual knowledge system approach elucidates the broader connectivity of local study regions and can improve monitoring programmes by extending beyond the usual context/confines of the present or recent past, increasing the spatial
and temporal range of system information.

Pages: 305-324