Volume 39, Issue 5

September 2023


A system approach to water, sanitation, and hygiene resilience and sustainability in refugee communities

T. Yasmina,b, S. Dhesib, I. Kuznetsovab, R. Cooperb, S. Krausea,b and I. Lyncha,b

aInstitute for Global Innovation, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK; bSchool of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

Contact: T. Yasmin | Email: t.yasmin@bham.ac.uk


This study conducted an in-depth systematic review of literature to explore the context of water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) sustainability and resilience in refugee communities. Our results indicate growing concerns, given the two-decade waiting period for refugees to achieve repatriation/integration into host communities, and the bulk of their accommodation is largely in the Global South. This makes the sustainability of WaSH increasingly complex and depends on understanding the roles and interdependences among the factors in each specific refugee camp, and recognizes that it is not ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions and the sustainability of one camp might not be suitable for other camps.

Pages: 691–723

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2022.2131362 (Open Access)

Research Article

Does financial inclusion improve sanitation access? Empirical evidence from low- and middle-income countries

Tony Cavolia, Sasidaran Gopalanb, Ilke Onurc and Stefanos Xenariosd,e

aBusiness School, University of South Australia (UniSA), Adelaide, SA, Australia; bDepartment of Innovation in Government and Society, College of Business and Economics, United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; cCollege of Business, Government and Law, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, Australia; dCSIRO Environment, Canberra, ACT, Australia; eGraduate School of Public Policy, Nazarbayev University (NU), Kazakhstan

Contact: Sasidaran Gopalan | Email: sasi.gopalan@uaeu.ac.ae


The existing literature does not probe the extent to which promoting financial inclusion can provide an enabling environment to improve access to sanitation services, which is one of the integral objectives of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6. This paper empirically examines if traditional and digital financial inclusion can influence access to sanitation services for 84 low- and middle-income countries covering the period 2000–17. Our results establish that both indicators of traditional and digital financial inclusion generate a strong, positive and robust influence on access to sanitation services in lower and middle-income countries, especially in rural areas.

Pages: 724–745


Research Article

Unsustainable use of surface water due to water balance miscalculation: the Culiacán River basin, Mexico

Sergio Arturo Rentería-Guevaraa, Jesús Gabriel Rangel-Perazab, Antonio Jesús Sanhouse-Garcíac, Fernando García-Páeza, Yaneth A. Bustos-Terronesd and Cuauhtémoc Franco-Ochoaa

aFacultad de Ingeniería, Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa, Culiacán, Mexico; bDivisión de Estudios de Posgrado e Investigación, Tecnológico Nacional de México/Instituto Tecnológico de Culiacán, Culiacán, Mexico; cDepartamento de Tecnología Ambiental, Universidad Tecnológica de Culiacán, Culiacán, Mexico; dDivisión de Estudios de Posgrado e Investigación, CONACYT – Tecnológico Nacional de México/Instituto Tecnológico de Culiacán, Culiacán, Mexico

Contact: Jesús Gabriel Rangel-Peraza | Email: jesus.rp@culiacan.tecnm.mx


The development of instruments for the administration of water use is a pending issue in both developing and developed countries. UNESCO has published guidance on determining water availability in Latin American and Caribbean countries. We applied this method to the Culiacán River basin, the most significant basin in Mexico for agricultural productivity. We find that surface water availability has been overestimated due to the inclusion of non-physical terms in the water balance equation, miscalculation of natural runoff and the omission of ecological water flow. Thus, unsustainable surface water use is allowed based on a miscalculation of physical water availability.

Pages: 746–772


Research Article

Smallholder farmers’ perceptions of and adaptations to water scarcity in an irrigated system in Chiapas, Mexico

David Leroya, Gerardo Boccoa and Sara Barrasa Garcíab

aCentro de Investigaciones en Geografía Ambiental (CIGA), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Morelia, Mexico; bDepartamento de Geografía, Facultad de Geografía e Historia, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Contact: David Leroy | Email: david.univ.leroy@gmail.com


This paper explores smallholder farmers’ perceptions of and adaptations to water scarcity in an irrigated system in south-eastern Mexico. Data from 85 farmers in four communities were collected through semi-structured interviews. The results show that farmers’ adaptations are stimulated by their perceptions of the causes and dynamics of water scarcity. Findings also reveal that differences in perceptions of, and adaptations to, water scarcity within communities are due to characteristics such as irrigation techniques, water intake location, productive systems and access to groundwater. This study recommends the implementation of policies based on local conditions to cope with water scarcity.

Pages: 773–795


Research Article

Cooperative water-sharing agreements between highlands and drylands: the Tambo-Santiago-Ica river basin in Peru

Rosario Gómeza,b and Hans-Peter Weikarda

aDepartment of Social Sciences, Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands; bDepartment of Economics, Universidad del Pacífico, Lima, Peru

Contact: Rosario Gómez | Email: gomez_zr@up.edu.pe


Inefficient water allocations in river basins limit economic benefits and feed conflicts. We study how institutional change triggered by investments and new technologies can improve water-use efficiency and mitigate conflicts. We develop a bargaining framework to analyse the Peruvian Tambo–Santiago–Ica river basin, which has important economic and social inequalities. We model agents’ welfare changes when joint investments are implemented that are instrumental in overcoming conflict. While upstream communities are poor and rely on rainfed agriculture and cattle-raising, downstream agricultural producers are well-off and produce high-value crops. We find that joint investments can increase both regions’ payoffs and gains from cooperation can be strengthened by sidepayments.

Pages: 796–818

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2023.2165048 (Open Access)

Research Article

Media reporting on conflicts and cooperation: what does it mean for the Brahmaputra basin?

Arundhati Dekaa, Natasha Hazarikab, Sumit Vijc,d, Anamika Baruab and Emanuele Fantinie,f

aEnvironment Climate Change & Natural Resource Management, GIZ India, India; bDepartment of Humanities & Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Guwahati, India; cSociology and Development Change Group, Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen, the Netherlands; dInstitute for Environmental Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva Switzerland; eDepartment of Integrated Water Systems and Governance, IHE-Delft Institute for Water Education, Delft, the Netherlands; fDepartment of Human Geography, Planning and International Development Studies, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Contact: Sumit Vij | Email: sumit.vij@wur.nl


This article analyses the media reporting on conflicts and cooperation in the Brahmaputra River basin. We used 2437 newspaper articles published between 2010 and 2020 from the four riparians (China, India, Bhutan and Bangladesh) to explain the science–media interlinkages and what print media reports on conflicts and cooperation. We have found that most articles focus on conflicts, especially relating to hydropower development, data and information asymmetry, and disaster governance. There is limited media reporting on the avenues of cooperation such as informal water diplomacy, collaborative research opportunities, and the community and the culture that brings the riparians together.

Pages: 819–845

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2022.2163478 (Open Access)

Research Article

Rethinking collaborative governance to enhance legitimacy co-production: a multipurpose rural–urban water transfer in Nepal

Kiran Kumari Bhattaraia, John FitzGibbona and Laxmi Prasad Pantb

aSchool of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada; bNatural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, Chatham Maritime, Chatham, UK

Contact: Kiran Kumari Bhattarai | Email: kbhattarai7@gmail.com


This study examines the Sundarijal Water Supply System in Nepal, which involves over a century of experience on a multipurpose water supply project. Research findings suggest that the liberal idea of justice as fairness in the distribution of risks and benefits fails to appreciate the political nature of state interventions to transfer rural water for urban municipal use. The research rejects the neoliberal idea of procedural justice as creating nonargumentative spaces for decision-making common in collaborative governance in favour of the political ecological approach to developing argumentative spaces to facilitate contested coproduction of legitimacy.

Pages: 846–868


Research Article

Domestic practices for accessing water and rural-urban transformations: example of emerging urban centres in Tanzania

Lekumok Kironyia, Jeremia Makindarab and Torben Birch-Thomsenc

aDepartment of Agricultural Economics and Finance, Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere University of Agriculture and Technology, Musoma, Tanzania; bDepartment of Business Management, College of Economics and Business Studies, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania; cDepartment of Geosciences and Natural Resources Management, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Contact: Lekumok Kironyi | Email: leki@ign.ku.dk; kironyison@yahoo.com


The transition from rural to urban spurred by population growth and housing densification has implications for the planning of service provisions, not least domestic water supplies. The objective of this paper is to document the status of domestic water access and examine existing options for domestic water provision along the rural–urban transition. The study employs a combination of research methods in both data collection and analysis. Given the dual character (rural–urban) of the emerging urban centres, there is limited distinction in the domestic water services provided since they tend to be in between the two, in a state of transition.

Pages: 869–894