Volume 39, Issue 3

May 2023

Research Article

Seeing beyond negotiations: the impacts of the Belt and Road on Sino-Kazakh transboundary water management

Justin Brassetta, Moldir Akmadib and Troy Sternbergc,d

aWater Science, Policy and Management, Wadham College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; bDepartment of Sociology and Social Work, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Almaty, Kazakhstan; cCentre for International Studies, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; dISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal

Contact: Justin Brassett | Email: justinbrassett@gmail.com


China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and infrastructural development has led to growing concerns regarding the future of Central Asia’s water resources. However, few attempts have been made to assess the impacts this will have on specific transboundary basins within the region. This article explores how the context of the BRI transcends its physical impacts within the Ili and Irtysh basins, creating a sanctioned discourse that forecloses the possibility of ‘successful’ negotiations at an official level. As such, pathways to transboundary water management that exist beyond the negotiations are shown to have greater plausibility and potential effectiveness.

Pages: 361-381

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2022.2090905 (Open Access)

Research Article

Causes and consequences of the Macta basin closure, Algeria

Nabil Kherbachea,b and François Molleb

aFSECSG, Laboratoire d’économie et Développement (LED), University of Bejaia, Bejaia, Algeria; bUMR G-eau, IRD, Montpellier, France

Contact: Nabil Kherbache | Email: nabil.kherbache@univ-bejaia.dz


The Macta River basin in Algeria is under pressure. A water accounting of the basin demonstrates the severity of the crisis, with a net water depletion rate estimated at 93–142%, depending on the assumptions made. This reflects the overexploitation of the aquifers whose annual depletion is estimated at between 86 and 126 Mm3. This paper first discusses the causes of basin overbuilding and the over-allocation of water, and then analyses the economic, social and environmental consequences. It calls for a stricter water accounting of river basins in Algeria as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDG 6 are implemented.

Pages: 382-403


Research Article

Institutional bricolage in community-based water management: some insights from non-representational theory

Richard Nunesa and Nicholas Fielmuab

aDepartment of Real Estate and Planning, University of Reading, Reading, UK; bDepartment of Planning, SD Dombo University of Business & Integrated Development Studies, Wa, Ghana

Contact: Richard Nunes | Email: r.j.nunes@reading.ac.uk


Drawing on non-representational theory, using as an example the work of Gilles Deleuze, we offer a complementary perspective on critical institutionalism. We examine four case studies of community-based water management in the Upper West Region of Ghana, which has empowered communities and encouraged democratically accountable approaches, while also underpinning discriminatory practices. We find this can be attributed to institutional bricolage, but we argue that non-representational theory also provides an alternative orientation to our data. It allows the agency of disempowered individuals to be recast as acts of hope.

Pages: 404-432

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2022.2078288 (Open Access)

Research Article

Structural and institutional arrangements impacting collective actions in WUAs of West Bengal, India

Indranil Dea, Soumyadip Chattopadhyayb, Hippu Salk Kristle Nathana, Prabhat Mishrac,d, Akhilesh Pareyd and Subhasish Duttad

aInstitute of Rural Management Anand, Anand, India; bDepartment of Economics and Politics, Visva-Bharati University, Bolpur, India; cWater Resources Investigation & Development Department, Government of West Bengal, Kolkata, India; dWest Bengal Accelerated Development of Minor Irrigation Project (WBADMIP), India

Contact: Indranil De | Email: india.indranil@gmail.com


This study provides empirical evidence of major debates in collective action theory concerning resource and member heterogeneity by conducting a survey on 63 randomly selected water-user associations promoted by the West Bengal state government of India. The functioning and governance of these institutions were evaluated by efficiency in resource mobilization (collection of membership fees), members’ perception of transparency and democratic decision-making, and dependency on third-party involvement in the future. The study finds that a larger command area, larger proportion of smaller farmers, optimum membership fee, frequent general body meetings, certain documentation, and power structure improve the functioning and governance indicators.

Pages: 433-458


Research Article

Storm water systems’ performance: assessment framework application to Portuguese water utilities

Liliana Ferreira Santosa,b,c, Maria Adriana Cardosob and Ana Fonseca Galvãoc

aItecons, Instituto de Investigação e Desenvolvimento Tecnológico para a Construção, Energia, Ambiente e Sustentabilidade, Coimbra, Portugal; bUrban Water Unit, LNEC, Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil, Lisbon, Portugal; cCERIS, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal

Contact: Liliana Ferreira Santos | Email: liliana.santos@tecnico.ulisboa.pt


Performance assessment is recognized as an important management tool for urban water systems. This article describes the application of a performance assessment framework for storm water systems, in collaboration with two Portuguese urban water utilities. A performance assessment system was built for each water utility, including objectives, assessment criteria and performance metrics. The results showed the existence of areas vulnerable to flooding occurrences and the need for investment in rehabilitation. The application of the performance assessment framework supports the identification of systems’ vulnerabilities and priorities for intervention. Opportunities and suggestions for improving data collection procedures are identified.

Pages: 459-484


Research Article

Water management practices in Euro-Mediterranean hotels and resorts

Esther Mendozaa,b, Giuliana Ferreroc,d, Yness March Slokard, Xavier Amoresb,e, Arianna Azzellinof and Gianluigi Buttiglieria,b

aTechnologies and Evaluation Area, Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA-CERCA), Girona, Spain; bUniversitat de Girona, Girona, Spain; cWash Consulting, Delft, the Netherlands; dDepartment of Environmental Engineering and Water Technology, The Delft Institute for Water Education, Delft, the Netherlands; eCatalan Water Partnership, Girona, Spain; fDICA, Politecnico di Milano, Dica, Milan, Italy

Contact: Gianluigi Buttiglieri | Email: gbuttiglieri@icra.cat


The Mediterranean region, which is one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, is vulnerable to climate change and impacted by human water demand. Tourism is recognized as a major water-consuming sector, and the growth in tourism establishments has been matched by a growth in water demand. Hotels represent the highest water consumption rates in the tourist sector. In this study, a survey was carried out in the Mediterranean region. Responses from 80 hotels of different categories and countries were gathered, discussed and compared regarding water supply, water consumption and monitoring, water-saving strategies, and environmental awareness and willingness for future improvements.

Pages: 485-506


Research Article

High impact water conservation: factors explaining residents’ intent to reduce irrigated area in the yard

Laura A. Warnera and John M. Diazb

aDepartment of Agricultural Education and Communication, Center for Land Use and Efficiency, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA; bDepartment of Agricultural Education and Communication, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Plant City, FL, USA

Contact: Laura A. Warner | Email: Lsanagorski@ufl.edu


As water scarcity worsens, social scientists seek strategies that facilitate water conservation behaviours. This study analyses the factors driving engagement in a high-impact behaviour in residential landscapes, eliminating irrigated areas in one’s yard, to guide future social marketing efforts to reduce water usage. Feelings of internal commitment (i.e., personal norms) had the strongest relationship with this behaviour followed by social pressure (i.e., subjective norms), demonstrating the influence perceived personal and societal obligations have on water conservation. Practitioners, policymakers and scientists working on urban water issues should focus on these normative influences to ensure proliferation of the identified practice.

Pages: 507-529


Research Article

Handwashing behaviour among adults in rural Vietnam: a cross-sectional mixed methods study

Chunwen Xiaoa, Duy Anh Leb and Nikita Makarchevc

aCentre of Development Studies, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK; bFaculty of Development Economics, University of Economics and Business, Vietnam National University, Hanoi, Vietnam; cOxford School of Global and Area Studies, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Contact: Nikita Makarchev | Email: makarchev.nikita@wolfson.ox.ac.uk


Rural Vietnam has seen numerous sanitation and hygiene-related interventions. However, these have produced limited improvement in handwashing with soap. This study examines handwashing with soap practices and predictors in Giong Trom, Vietnam, based on a 792-person household survey and 78 stakeholder interviews. Descriptive statistics indicate handwashing with soap remains unsatisfactory. Regression analysis reveals its association with two contextual and five socio-psychological predictors. Interviews provide further elaboration with reference to local conditions. The findings underscore the importance of targeted multidimensional interventions, the limitations of exclusively infrastructural focuses, and the highly contextual nature of even the most popular handwashing with soap predictors.

Pages: 530–547

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2021.2014303 (Open Access)