Volume 37, Issue 6

November 2021

Research Article

Managing impacts of extreme hydrological events on urban water services: the Australian experience

James Horne

James Horne and Associates, Canberra, Australia

Contact: James Horne | Email: jameshorne@iinet.net.au


Australia experiences a wide range and increasing incidence of extreme hydrological events, including step changes in stream flows, extreme drought, bushfires followed by heavy rain, and storm events, which impact water availability and water quality. This article discusses the management of these events in the provision of water services in urban Australia. These events are being actively and effectively managed by large water service providers, covering around 80% of the population. But the experience for the remaining 20% is mixed, with smaller service providers often struggling to meet community expectations. This suggests a need for further governance reforms.

Pages: 907–928


Research Article

Impacts of climate change on the flow of the transboundary Koshi River, with implications for local irrigation

Santosh Kainia,b, Santosh Nepalc, Saurav Pradhanangac, Ted Gardnera and Ashok K. Sharmaa

aInstitute for Sustainable Industries & Liveable Cities, Victoria University, Footscray Park Campus, Melbourne, Australia; bDepartment of Water Resources and Irrigation, Kathmandu, Nepal; cInternational Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu, Nepal

Contact: Santosh Kaini | Email: santosh.kaini@live.vu.edu.au


This study assesses climate change impacts on the hydrological regime of a river basin and its implications for future irrigation water availability in the Koshi River basin using RCPs 4.5 and 8.5 over short-term (2016-2045), mid-century (2036-2065) and end-of-century (2071-2100) periods. Average flow in the Koshi River is projected to increase. Projections of average minimum monthly river flow suggest that the areas of winter wheat and monsoon paddy rice could be increased. However, the planting period of paddy rice should be delayed by one month (July to August) to capture the expected increased water availability in the river.

Pages: 929–954

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2020.1826292 (Open Access)

Research Article

Water futures along China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Central Asia

Melinda Daviesa and Nathanial Matthewsb

aInternational Water Centre, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia; bDepartment of Geography, King’s College London, London, UK

Contact: Melinda Davies | Email: Melinda.davies@uq.net.au


China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is anticipated to have wideranging impacts on the countries of Central Asia. This includes a significant impact to a complex and fragile water resources landscape, and the closely entwined economic, social, environmental and political context. Water resources considerations are currently not explicit in BRI policies or proposals, despite the vast variety of ways in which the initiative may interact with and influence these dynamics. This article presents an early examination of the key trade-offs and interdependencies across water management in the BRI and it includes recommendations to mitigate detrimental impact and promote sustainable delivery for the future.

Pages: 955–975


Research Article

Water savings from urban infrastructure improvement and wastewater reuse: evidence from Jordan

Marc Jeulanda, Michelle Moffab and Amani Alfarrac

aSanford School of Public Policy and Duke Global Health Institute, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA; bDuke University, Durham, NC, USA; cFood and Agriculture Organization, Rome, Italy

Contact: Marc Jeuland | Email: marc.jeuland@duke.edu


Jordan is extremely water scarce, making careful water resources planning and management essential. This study considers the water-supply-enhancing effects of a significant urban investment, the Jordan Compact, that supports Jordan’s national objective of enhanced water reuse and efficiency. Analysis using a Water Evaluation and Planning model suggests that the Compact generated substantial water savings (averaging 7–8 MCM/y), easing shortages in urban Zarqa and Amman, as well as among irrigators in the Jordan Valley. Though the impacts appear to have fallen short of pre-Compact expectations, policy makers should consider similar improvements to ease water constraints, while incentivizing efficient water utilization.

Pages: 976–995


Research Article

Territory in conflict: land dispossession, water grabbing and mobilization for environmental justice in southern Spain

Ana Prieto Lópeza, Bibiana Duarte-Abadíab,c and Rutgerd Boelensa,b,d,e

aDepartment Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands; bCEDLA Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; cFaculty of Environmental and Rural Studies, Research Group: Institutionality and Rural Development, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, Colombia; dDepartment of Social Sciences, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, San Miguel, Lima, Peru; eFaculty of Agricultural Sciences, Universidad Central del Ecuador, Ciudadela Universitaria, Quito, Ecuador

Contact: Ana Prieto López | Email: prietolopez.ana@gmail.com


This paper analyses the socio-territorial conflict prompted by Los Merinos: a residential–tourism project constructed in an ecological reserve that is vital to Andalusian livelihoods. It examines disputes concerning discourses, authorities and rules in order to understand the struggle over land and water. Using the echelons of rights analysis (ERA) framework, the paper scrutinizes the multiscale forces and strategies adopted by business and opposing movement networks in order to shape territory, thereby engaging local and supra-local governments. The authors’ political–ecology lens on environmental justice and territorialization enhances the understanding of the relevance of social movements in contesting the misappropriation of socio-natural environments.

Pages: 996–1020

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2020.1854693 (Open Access)


Cybercrime, cybersecurity and water utilities

David Lloyd Owen

Envisager, Wales, UK

Contact: David Lloyd Owen | Email: david@envisager.co.uk


A total of 20 known cases of cybercrime attacks on water utilities have been seen in five countries between 2000 and 2021, with a steady increase in their frequency. The actual number of cyberattacks is higher, with 40 recorded in the United States in 2014–15. It is chiefly driven by organized crime and hostile state actors, along with disgruntled former employees. Vulnerabilities occur because of utilities adopting supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems without appropriate cybersecurity measures along with staff who have properly trained to be aware of phishing attacks. Threats such as these highlight the need for water utilities to have a comprehensive risk management system in operation.

Pages: 1021–1026



Environmental benefits from water reuse combined with managed aquifer recharge in the Flemish dunes (Belgium)

Emmanuel Van Houtte and Johan Verbauwhede

Intercommunale Waterleidingsmaatschappij van Veurne–Ambacht, Koksijde, Belgium

Contact: Emmanuel Van Houtte | Email: emmanuel.van.houtte@iwva.be


The Intermunicipal Water Company of Veurne-Ambacht (IWVA) started reusing wastewater effluent for infiltration in its dune water catchment, St-André, in 2002. The treatment train at the Water Production Centre Torreele is based on a multiple-barrier approach with submerged ultrafiltration prior to reverse osmosis. The project improved the ecological values of the dunes. Recently, during longer periods of drought, the combination of reuse and managed aquifer recharge proved more robust than conventional drinking water production sites: groundwater levels at St-André remained high enough to ensure drinking water production and protect its quality. IWVA’s experience shows that water reuse can help mitigate the impact of climate change.

Pages: 1027–1034



Fixing agricultural power tariff without hurting farmers

M. Dinesh Kumara and A. Narayanamoorthyb

aInstitute for Resource Analysis and Policy, Hyderabad, India; bDepartment of Economics and Rural Development, Alagappa University, Karaikudi, India

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


Removal of power subsidies in the agriculture sector has been a very contentious issue in India for decades. Free power and tariffs based on the connected load create incentives for farmers to use groundwater excessively and inefficiently. We argue that a pro rata tariff for electricity in the farm sector that reduces the demand for electricity and irrigation water will not only be socio-economically viable but also improve farm economy and the viability of the power sector. We also propose the use of information and communications technology to reduce the transaction cost of metering of agro wells.

Pages: 1035–1039