Volume 34, Issue 6

November 2018

Editorial »
Cecilia Tortajada

Research Article

Evaluating media framing and public reactions in the context of a water reuse proposal

Daniel Goodwina, Marie Raffinb, Paul Jeffreya and Heather M. Smitha
aCranfield Water Science Institute, Cranfield University, Bedfordshire, UK; bThames Water Utilities Ltd, Reading, UK

Contact: Heather M. Smith | Email: h.m.smith@cranfield.ac.uk


The public is increasingly engaging with information about water reuse proposals through the Internet. Though there are benefits to engaging the public online, there may also be challenges associated with media bias or online advocacy. This study qualitatively examines the public response (online comments, n = 1323) to online news reporting an indirect potable reuse proposal for London. The study found no evidence of the media’s framing of the event strongly shaping the unsolicited online public reactions. Findings suggest that though communications may struggle to counter longer-term news agendas, there may be benefits to experimenting with framing water safety measures and shorter-term gains.

Pages: 848–868

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2017.1347085 (Open Access)

Research Article

Thirsty slums in African cities: household water insecurity in urban informal settlements of Lilongwe, Malawi

Ellis Adjei Adams
Global Studies Institute and Department of Geosciences, Georgia State University, Atlanta, USA

Contact: Ellis Adjei Adams | Email: eadams23@gsu.edu


Over 70% of Malawi’s urban population lives in informal settlements, where households regularly face chronic water insecurity. This article utilizes mixed methods – household surveys (N = 645), field observations, focus groups and interviews – to examine household water insecurity in three urban informal settlements of Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital and largest city. The study finds that water insecurity arises from overdependence on communal water kiosks which are insufficient in number, have high nonfunctional rates, are prone to vandalism, and provide water irregularly; lack of alternative improved water sources; and a significant time burden due to long waiting times and multiple trips to water sources. The findings underscore why water insecurity in Africa’s urban informal settlements deserves urgent policy attention.

Pages: 869–887



Advancing integrated research on European river–sea systems: the DANUBIUS-RI project

C. Bradleya , M. J. Bowesb, J. Brilsc, J. Friedrichd, J. Gaulte, S. Groomf, T. Heing,h, P. Heiningeri, P. Michalopoulosj, N. Panink, M. Schultzk, A. Stanicak, I. Andreil, A. Tylerand G. Umgiessern
aSchool of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK; bCentre for Ecology and Hydrology, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, UK; cDeltares, Utrecht, the Netherlands; dHelmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht, Centre for Materials and Coastal Research, Germany; eMaREI Centre, Environmental Research Institute, University College Cork, Ireland; fPlymouth Marine Laboratory, Plymouth, UK; gInter-university Centre for Aquatic Ecosystem Research, WasserCluster Lunz GmbH, Lunz am See, Austria; hDepartment of Water, Atmosphere and Environment, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria; iBundesanstalt für Gewässerkunde, Koblenz, Germany; jInstitute of Oceanography, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Anavyssos, Attiki, Greece; kNational Institute of Marine Geology and Geoecology, GeoEcoMar, Bucharest, Romania; lRomanian Space Agency, Bucharest, Romania; mBiological and Environmental Sciences, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK; nISMAR -CNR, Venice, Italy

Contact: A. Stanica | Email: astanica@geoecomar.ro


Research at the interface between terrestrial, riverine, estuarine and marine environments is frequently constrained by significant disciplinary and geographical boundaries. This article outlines an international initiative, DANUBIUS-RI, which aims to address these problems by facilitating biogeochemical monitoring and interdisciplinary research on river–sea systems. The scope of the project spans the environmental, social and economic sciences and was accepted into the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures roadmap in 2016. When operational, DANUBIUS-RI will offer researchers access to interdisciplinary expertise, facilities and European river–sea systems, providing a comprehensive platform for multidisciplinary research and training.

Pages: 888–899


Research Article

Avoiding the water-poverty trap: insights from a conceptual human-water dynamical model for coastal Bangladesh

Edoardo Borgomeoa , Jim W. Halla and Mashfiqus Salehinb
aEnvironmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; bInstitute of Water and Flood Management, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Contact: Edoardo Borgomeo | Email: edoardo.borgomeo@ouce.ox.ac.uk


Water-related risks impact development opportunities can trap communities in a downward spiral of economic decline. In this article, the dynamic relationship between water-related risks and economic outcomes for an embanked area in coastal Bangladesh is conceptualized. The interaction between flood events, salinity, deteriorating and poorly maintained water infrastructure, agricultural production and income is modelled. The model is used to test the effect of improvements in the reliability, operation and maintenance of the water infrastructure on agricultural incomes and assets. Results indicate that interventions can have non-marginal impacts on indicators of welfare, switching the system dynamic from a poverty trap into one of growth.

Pages: 900–922


Research Article

Social learning for adaptive delta management: Tidal River Management in the Bangladesh Delta

Mahmuda Mutaharaa, Jeroen F. Warnerb, Arjen E. J. Walsc, M. Shah Alam Khand and Philippus Westere,f
aEducation and Competency Studies, Wageningen University, the Netherlands; bSociology of Development and Change Group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands; cEducation and Competency Studies Chair Group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands; dInstitute of Water and Flood Management, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka; eWater Resources Management, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu, Nepal; fWater Resources Management Group, Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, the Netherlands

Contact: Mahmuda Mutahara | Email: mahmuda.ruma@gmail.com


The article analyzes Tidal River Management in Bangladesh from a social learning perspective. Four cases were investigated using participatory assessment. Knowledge acquisition through transformations in the Tidal River Management process was explored as an intended learning outcome. The study finds that social learning occurred more prominently at the individual stakeholder level and less at the collective level. For Tidal River Management to be responsive and sustainable, especially in times of increased uncertainty and climate vulnerability, more attention needs to be paid to coordination and facilitation of multi-level learning that includes all stakeholders.

Pages: 923–943


Research Article

Profitability of irrigation and value of water in Oklahoma and Texas agriculture

Jadwiga R. Ziolkowska
Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, USA

Contact: Jadwiga R. Ziolkowska | Email: jziolkowska@ou.edu


This article evaluates profitability of irrigated versus non-irrigated agricultural production of major crops (corn, cotton, wheat, soybeans, sorghum) in 2010 (a wet year) and 2011 (an exceptional drought year) in Oklahoma and Texas. It also estimates the economic value of water for agricultural production in both states to answer the question of added value generated with irrigation. Answering those questions is critical in the face of exceptional and severe droughts affecting Oklahoma and Texas in the past decade, in addition to steeply declining groundwater resources in the Ogalalla Aquifer. The results can help with designing mitigation and adaptation measures to water scarcity.

Pages: 944–960


Research Article

The limited success of formal water markets in the Segura River basin, Spain

Javier Calatrava and David Martínez-Granados
Departamento de Economía de la Empresa, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería Agronómica, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, Cartagena, Spain

Contact: Javier Calatrava | Email: j.calatrava@upct.es


The Segura basin in south-eastern Spain is one of the most waterscarce regions in Europe. Its water economy has characteristics that constitute very favourable conditions for water market activity, and there are significant trading opportunities. However, the traded volumes have been rather small even though most of the water market activity in continental Spain is concentrated there. This paper describes the few formal water market experiences in the Segura basin since water trading was legislated on and regulated in 1999. As a result of this analysis, some hypotheses are made regarding the causes of the limited operation of this economic instrument.

Pages: 961–981

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2017.1378628 (Open Access)

Research Article

Participatory scenario planning for sustainable irrigated agriculture when actors seldom communicate: an experiment in Morocco

Nicolas Fayssea, Issam Eddine Sellikab, Jean-Daniel Rinaudoc and Mostafa Errahjd
aCirad G-Eau Research Unit and Asian Institute of Technology, Pathumthani, Thailand; bCap Rural, Meknes, Morocco; cBRGM, Montpellier, France; dEcole Nationale d’Agriculture de Meknes, Meknes, Morocco

Contact: Nicolas Faysse | Email: faysse@cirad.fr


In Morocco, agricultural activities based on groundwater use increasingly face risks of aquifer overdraft and market saturation. However, farmers and public organizations responsible for agriculture and water resources rarely communicate to identify how these risks could be overcome. A participatory scenario-planning process was organized in a small region to identify a pathway towards agricultural activities that are sustainable in terms of groundwater resource use and profitability. Actors jointly determined this pathway thanks to the organization of preparatory workshops held separately with each actor before they met together, and the progressive integration of agriculture development and groundwater use in scenario design.

Pages: 982–1000


Research Article

Farmers’ perceptions of irrigation and constraints on rice production in Benin: a stakeholder-consultation approach

Gbetondji Melaine Armel Nonvidea,b, Daniel B. Sarponga, George T-M. Kwadzoa, Henry Anim-Somuaha and Fulbert Amoussouga Gerob
aDepartment of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana; bFaculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin

Contact: Gbetondji Melaine Armel Nonvide | Email: gmanonvide@st.ug.edu.gh


This article examines rice farmers’ perceptions of irrigation and constraints on rice production in the municipality of Malanville, Benin. Farmers’ positive perceptions of irrigation include the use of irrigation for insurance against drought, crop yield improvement, higher income, food security and poverty reduction. Analysis of constraints reveals that farmers face major constraints such as lack of agricultural credit, poor access to production inputs, inadequate knowledge of water resources management, poor access to agricultural information and markets, and flooding of fields. Specific constraints in the irrigation scheme of Malanville include the high cost of irrigation and unavailability of water.

Pages: 1001–1021


Research Article

Assessing sustainability of rural gravity-fed water schemes on Idjwi Island, D.R. Congo

Ruben Jimenez-Redala, Javier Sorianob, Natalie Holowkoc, Jabier Almandoza and Francisco Arreguib
aDepartment of Hydraulics, Faculty of Engineering, UPV-EHU, San Sebastian, Spain; bITA Instituto Tecnológico del Agua, Polytechnic University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain; cDepartment of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Contact: Ruben Jimenez-Redal | Email: ruben.jimenez.redal@outlook.com


To assess the sustainability of rural gravity-fed water schemes on Idjwi Island, the association between four hypothesized drivers of sustainability – perceived sense of ownership, willingness to pay for maintenance, trust in the water committee, and household involvement in the project – and service reliability, the main outcome variable, was analyzed. Primary data were gathered through in-person surveys of 1253 user households. The results provide two significant insights. First, during the 5–10 years after implementation, in the presence of an external intervention, a lower perceived sense of ownership for the water system was associated with higher service reliability. This stands in contrast with much of the existing literature, which outlines a consistent positive association between sense of ownership and sustainability of rural water systems. Second, despite 77% of beneficiaries stating that they were willing to pay for maintenance service, such contributions were not forthcoming, due to lack of trust in the water committee. In this scenario, almost 42% of the water points are reported as non-functional, 5–10 years after completion.

Pages: 1022–1035


Book Review

Urban water sustainability: constructing infrastructure for cities and nature »