Volume 38, Issue 6

November 2022

Editorial »

Future of desalination in the context of water security

Asit K. Biswas and Cecilia Tortajada

Research Article

Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 associated with wastewater treatment: a seroprevalence study

B. Muñoz-Palazona, P. R. Bouzasb, J. González-Lópeza and M. Manzaneraa

aInstitute for Water Research and Department of Microbiology, University of Granada, Granada, Spain; bDepartment of Statistics, University of Granada, Granada, Spain

Contact: M. Manzanera | Email: manzanera@ugr.es


The detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) during wastewater treatment leads to concerns about whether this process may represent a focal point for the transmission of COVID-19. An epidemiological analysis, based on a COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test Cassette, performed on 134 wastewater workers from 59 wastewater treatment plants from the province of Granada (Spain) showed a seroprevalence of 8.95% in IgG for SARS-CoV-2, which is similar to the incidence rate found for the general population of the province (9.6%; 95%CI = 7.2–12.8). These findings suggest that current safety measures are sufficient for the protection of workers against SARS-CoV-2.

Pages: 928–937


Research Article

Perceived vs measured water supply service: evidence from New Zealand

Anna Robak

Research & Innovation, WSP Canada, Fredericton, NB, Canada; University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada

Contact: Anna Robak | Email: anna.robak@wsp.com


The aim of this research was to identify correlations between measured water supply performance attributes and consumer perceptions, to provide water suppliers with an improved understanding of the significance of consumers’ perceptions. Over 1900 New Zealand potable water consumers were surveyed and their perceptions were compared with measured aggregated attributes from their water supply system or region using logit and regression models. The analysis identified significant correlations between measured and perceived performance for all attributes. The exception is perceived protection from microorganisms, where other values such as fluoride preferences and Maori values are significant.

Pages: 938–963


Research Article

Value of groundwater to public supply in west-central Florida

Philip E. Van Beynen

School of Geosciences, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA

Contact: Philip E. Van Beynen | Email: vanbeyne@usf.edu


This study provides a monetary value for groundwater by estimating the cost for the year 2020 to replace its use in public supply for 5 million people in west-central Florida, USA. The alternatives include building reservoirs and desalinization plants, water reuse, and conservation measures, with the most expensive being building more reservoirs at US$4.5 billion and least is conservation at US$840 million. This region’s regulators recognize the need to reduce the reliance on groundwater and have implemented programmes to promote the above alternatives. While water conservation is the most sustainable option, barriers related to policies and investment reduce the effectiveness of this approach.

Pages: 964–984


Research Article

Comparative assessment of alternative water supply contributions across five data-scarce cities

Janez Sušnika, Osman Jussaha, Mohamed O. M. Orabia, Muhammed C. Abubakara, Richmond F. Quansaha, Wahid Yahayaa, Justin A. Adonadagaa, Carlos Cossab, Jose Ferratob, Castigo A. Cossac, Wahyono Hadid, Adhi Yuniartod, Bowo Djoko Marsonod, Alfan Purnomod, Franҫoise Bichaia,e and Chris Zevenbergenf

aLand and Water Management Department, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, Delft, the Netherlands; bAguas da Região de Maputo (AdeM), Maputo, Mozambique; cFundo de Investimento e Patrimonio do Abastecimento de Agua (FIPAG), Beira, Mozambique; dSchool of Environmental Engineering, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember, Surabaya, Indonesia; eDepartment of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering, Polytechnique Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada; fCoastal and Urban Risk and Resilience Department, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, Delft, the Netherlands

Contact: Janez Sušnik | Email: j.susnik@un-ihe.org


Alternative water sources offer opportunities to contribute to the water supply to meet non-potable urban demand, closing water supply–demand gaps. Detailed assessments of these schemes are often data intensive, which can be a barrier in resource-scarce locations. A data-light approach is proposed and applied to assess the potential contribution of alternative water sources in five cities in the Global South, and to identify barriers preventing their widespread uptake. These barriers include perception, space, cost, home ownership and capacity constraints. This approach is applicable elsewhere, supporting assessment for city water planners/managers for preliminary planning to promote discussion on alternative sources to water security.

Pages: 985–1008


Research Article

From ‘merchants and ministers’ to ‘neutral brokers’? Water diplomacy aspirations by the Netherlands – a discourse analysis of the 2011 commissioned advisory report

Farhad Mukhtarov, Des Gasper, Aditya Alta, Neha Gautam, Maria Sattwika Duhita and Diego Hernández Morales

International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Contact: Farhad Mukhtarov | Email: mukhtarov@iss.nl


Water diplomacy agents typically manage tensions between promoting peace and securing self-interest. This paper conducts a discourse analysis of a commissioned policy report by a leading Netherlands think-tank that helped inform Dutch policy on water diplomacy. We first establish the importance of the report. We then identify its focus on the theme of ‘neutral broker’ and apply vocabulary analysis, argumentation analysis and metaphor analysis, together leading up to frame analysis. From this report and the larger water diplomacy literature, we propose that water diplomacy must be viewed in connection with discursive politics and trade promotion. We illustrate relevant methods for future enquiry.

Pages: 1009–1031

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2021.1929086 (Open Access)

Research Article

Reforming for resilience: delivering ‘multipurpose hydropower’ under water and energy risks

Paul R. Wyrwolla and R. Quentin Graftonb

aInstitute for Water Futures and Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia; bCrawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

Contact: Paul R. Wyrwoll | Email: paul.wyrwoll@anu.edu.au


Multipurpose hydropower reservoirs are regularly framed as water security and climate change solutions. Although multipurpose projects can and do deliver a range of water services, ‘win-win’ outcomes are not guaranteed. Emerging water and energy risks are altering the net benefits from operating reservoirs to deliver hydropower generation, water supply, flood control, or other purposes. This paper shows that new hydropower governance approaches are needed to efficiently and fairly reallocate water under risks. We demonstrate that dynamic water reallocation is fundamental to the resilience of multipurpose reservoir systems and examine three potential reforms: periodic relicensing, water tariffs, and hydropower sustainability performance bonds.

Pages: 1032–1061

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2021.1944844 (Open Access)

Research Article

Local empowerment and irrigation devolution in Ethiopia

Rahel Deribe Bekelea and Dawit Mekonnenb

aCenter for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany; bInternational Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Contact: Rahel Deribe Bekele | Email: rahelwderibe@gmail.com


This paper investigates the effect of devolved irrigation water management systems and complementary irrigation technologies on collective empowerment in Ethiopia. We find that households’ monetary, in-kind and labour contributions for irrigation water provision and appropriation are more common in farmer-managed gravity irrigation schemes compared with farmer-managed pump systems and jointly managed schemes. The most frequent conflict occurrence was observed in jointly managed gravity irrigation systems, followed by farmer-managed gravity systems. Our results indicate that irrigation users’ degree of participation, decision-making capacity and strength of local governance are also affected by several household, plot, village, scheme and climatic factors.

Pages: 1062–1088


Research Article

Hedging the risk of hydrological drought in irrigated agriculture: the role of precautionary savings

José A. Gómez-Limón, M. Dolores Guerrero-Baena and José A. Fernández-Gallardo

WEARE – Water, Environmental and Agricultural Resources Economics Research Group, Universidad de Córdoba, Spain

Contact: José A. Gómez-Limón | Email: jglimon@uco.es


This paper explores the viability of precautionary savings as a hydrological drought risk management instrument in irrigated agriculture. To that end, first, the drought savings account (DSA) is proposed as a personal savings account to which farmers make regular contributions, with withdrawals allowed in the event of water supply gaps to guarantee a minimum income. Second, the implementation of the proposed instrument is empirically assessed in an illustrative case study using an innovative simulation approach. Results obtained suggest the DSA is actuarially sound, supporting its implementation as a cost-effective instrument to hedge hydrological drought risk.

Pages: 1089–1113