Volume 40, Issue 2

March 2024

In Memoriam »

Malin Falkenmark: an extraordinary water scientist

Asit K. Biswas

Research Articles

Water governance for water security: analysing institutional strengths and challenges in Finland

Lauri Ahopeltoa,b, Suvi Sojamoa,b, Antti Belinskijb,c, Niko Soininenc and Marko Keskinena

aWater & Development Research Group, Aalto University, Espoo, Finland; bFreshwater Center, Finnish Environment Institute, Helsinki, Finland; cCenter for Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Law (CCEEL), Department of Law, UEF//Water, University of Eastern Finland, Finland

Contact: Lauri Ahopelto; Suvi Sojamo | Email: lauri.ahopelto@aalto.fi; suvi.sojamo@syke.fi


The relationship between water security and water governance across different water-using sectors remains under-researched. We apply the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Water Governance Indicator Framework with revised principles and criteria to analyse three sectors critical to water security in Finland: bioeconomy, mining and water infrastructure. Our findings indicate that water security as a concept helps to both assess and clarify governance priorities, while well-functioning governance with engagement of key actors is a prerequisite for broader water security. Given the differing interests and emerging pressures related to water, ensuring water security requires well-resourced public sector agencies to coordinate interaction across sectors and actors.

Pages: 153–173

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2023.2266733 (Open Access)

Understanding household attitudes to water conservation in Saudi Arabia: towards sustainable communities

Abdulaziz I. Almulhima and Ismaila Rimi Abubakarb

aDepartment of Urban and Regional Planning, College of Architecture and Planning, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia; bCollege of Architecture and Planning, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Contact: Abdulaziz I. Almulhim | Email: aialmulhim@iau.edu.sa


In regions with limited freshwater resources, water conservation is crucial for sustainable resource management. This study investigates the links between household attitudes, information sources and water conservation policies in Saudi Arabia. The results reveal that over half the participants agree that water must be conserved, but three-quarters disagree they are obliged to conserve water. Water conservation behaviours were significantly associated with socio-economic characteristics. The study highlights the importance of human attitudes in developing effective water conserva-tion strategies and complementing top-down public awareness approaches with bottom-up programmes using school curricula. This study can inform policymakers in designing effective water conservation policies.

Pages: 174–193


Individuals’ resistance to saving water: the cases of Argentina and Spain

Francisco J. Sarabia-Sancheza, Juan Manuel Brunob and Isabel P. Riquelmec

aCenter of Development and Innovation, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad Miguel Hernandez de Elche, Elche, Spain; bFaculty of Economic Sciences, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina; cDepartment of Marketing, Universidad de Murcia, Murcia, Spain

Contact: Francisco J. Sarabia-Sanchez | Email: fransarabia@umh.es


Water management requires the participation of individuals who still seem to be reluctant to perform water-saving behaviours. Considering their country-specific water contexts, we analyse whether individuals’ water-saving behaviours depend on their resistance to change. Argentines and Spaniards (n = 1068) participated in two online surveys conducted using two panels and individuals whom interviewers recruited. Both resistance to change and perceived risk positively and significantly affect individuals’ water-saving behaviours. By contrast, the country of origin does not moderate water-saving behaviours. We discuss these findings’ scholarly and water policy implications at the national and supranational levels.

Pages: 194–212


Is policy convergence required to improve women’s empowerment in agriculture? Evidence from West Bengal

Sophie Lountaina, Bethany Coopera, Lin Crasea and Michael Burtonb

aBusiness School, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia; bUWA School of Agriculture and Environment, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia

Contact: Sophie Lountain | Email: sophie.lountain@unisa.edu.au


Farmers’ use of agricultural technology is necessary for reducing poverty. However, women make up most poor smallholder farmers in India and are generally unable to access relevant opportunities. Tandem to supporting women farmers in technology adoption is increasing their empowerment. While women’s empowerment has been on policy agendas in India for several years, progress has been slow and results are mixed. Using primary data from West Bengal, this study finds that female farmers with access to agricultural technologies will likely have social advantages over those without, but institutional and social support is necessary to facilitate real empowerment and overall development.

Pages: 213–233

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2023.2236727 (Open Access)

Water or mirage? Nightmare over dams and hydropower across Iran

Ali Torabi Haghighia, Mehdi Mazaherib, Siamak Amirib, Sahand Ghadimia, Roohollah Nooric,d, Mourad Oussalahe, Alireza Goharif, Mojtaba Nouryg, Ali Akbar Hekmatzadehh and Björn Klövea

aWater, Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland; bDepartment of Water Engineering and Management, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran; cGraduate Faculty of Environment, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran; dFaculty of Governance, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran; eFaculty of ITEE, CMVS, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland; fDepartment of Water Science and Engineering, College of Agriculture, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran; gIran Water Resources Management Company, Ministry of Energy, Tehran, Iran; hDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Shiraz University of Technology, Shiraz, Iran

Contact: Ali Torabi Haghighi | Email: ali.torabihaghighi@oulu.fi


This study examines the influence of human activities and climate variability on 86 dams and hydropower across Iran. The term ‘mirage water’ is introduced to estimate the impact of these factors on inflow. Data analysis shows that out of 1729 m3s−1 of mirage water, 705 m3s−1 are contributed by anthropogenic activities and 1024 m3s−1 by precipitation deficits. This indicates that some parts of Iran’s strategic investments in water resources management over the past 60 years have failed. The study underscores the necessity for enhanced management practices and infrastructure investments to ensure sustainable water resources in arid and semi-arid regions.

Pages: 234–251


Measuring and decomposing profit efficiency changes of water utilities: a case study for Chile

Manuel Mocholi-Arcea, Ramon Sala-Garridoa, Maria Molinos-Senanteb and Alexandros Maziotisb

aDepartament of Mathematics for Economics, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain; bDepartamento de Ingeniería Hidráulica y Ambiental, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile

Contact: Maria Molinos-Senante | Email: mmolinos@uc.cl


Estimating profit inefficiency and its drivers is highly relevant for water utilities and water regulators to reduce water tariffs. We employed a novel methodological approach to compute profit inefficiency and changes to profit efficiency based on the Luenberger productivity indicator. This empirical application focused on the water industry in Chile from 2010 to 2018. Estimated average profit inefficiency was 43.6%, with the main contributor being allocative inefficiency (35.7%). In contrast, the effect of technical inefficiency was more limited (7.9%). Changes to profit efficiency differed among full private and concessionary utilities, with averages of 0.021 and 0.002, respectively.

Pages: 252–267


Water policy and legislative responses to climate change in the Czech Republic

Hana Müllerováa, Tereza Snopkováa and Jiří Zichab

aCentre for Climate Law and Sustainability Studies, Institute of State and Law, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic; bDepartment of Regional Development, Public Sector Administration and Law, Faculty of Management and Economics, Tomas Bata University in Zlin, Zlin, Czech Republic

Contact: Hana Müllerová | Email: hana.mullerova@ilaw.cas.cz


The recurring floods and droughts in the Czech Republic show that climate change requires far-reaching changes in water management. We analyse the responses already reflected in Czech water policy and legislation at three levels: strategic, statutory and constitutional. We first describe the substantial changes that have been satisfactorily introduced into the Czech government’s policies. We then trace the far less successful developments in the law, which have so far essentially been limited to drought plans and restrictions on water extraction during droughts. At the core, we concentrate on the political attempts to constitutionalize water protection.

Pages: 268–283


Integrated assessment of water–energy–food nexus: conceptual framework and application to the Ping River basin, Thailand

Kaushal Chapagaina, Mukand S. Babela, Daniel Kartheb,c,d and Jürgen Stamme

aWater Engineering and Management, Asian Institute of Technology, Pathum Thani, Thailand; bUnited Nations University Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES), Dresden, Germany; cFaculty of Environmental Sciences, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany; dEnvironmental Engineering Section, German–Mongolian Institute for Resources and Technology, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; eFaculty of Civil Engineering, Institute for Hydraulic Engineering and Technical Hydromechanics, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany

Contact: Mukand S. Babel | Email: msbabel@ait.ac.th


Water, energy and food are the three foremost vital resources that need to be protected for human existence and sustainable development. The study develops an indicator-based framework for integrated assessment of the water–energy–food nexus at the river basin scale. The framework is designed to have three successive levels for the assessment. The proposed three-tiered assessment framework can aid concerned resources management authorities to evaluate the water–energy–food nexus and also to identify the action required to enhance resource productivities. The suitability of the framework is demonstrated through its application to the Ping River basin in Thailand.

Pages: 284–318