New website on climate change and climate adaptation in Europe

The European Centre for Climate Adaptation launched a new website  with information on the impacts of climate change and adaptation policies in European countries. The initiators state that “The website aims to help those who are searching for a quick, but well-substantiated summary of the impact of climate change in their country or their field of interest. Read the rest of this entry »

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Statement on the status and future of California water

Recently, Phil Isenberg, Chair of the Delta Stewardship Council in California, gave a speech outlining the history and possible next steps for California’s water supply. The full text can be found here.

A central theme for Chair Isenber and, as he points out, the National Research Council and the Governor of California, is to improve existing water infrastructure while at the same time protecting the environment. This sentiment also reflects the “co-equal goals” of water supply and environmental protection outlined in previous planning efforts for the California Bay-Delta. It should prove to be an interesting time for California water management.

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New issue Water Alternatives is out

The new issue of Water Alternatives has just come out. The issue includes an interesting article by Lilin Kerschbaumer and Konrad Ott on water ethis and water praxis in China’s Yellow River. The abstract reads as follows: “Sustainability of freshwater has become one of the most prominent issues in Chinese river basins. Recently, the Yellow River Conservancy Commission adopted the approach of ‘Maintaining the Healthy Life of the Yellow River’ (HLR) as the top principle in its management scheme. We locate arguments by HLR advocates in an ecocentric line of reasoning within Environmental Ethics. In view of crucial problems of ecocentrism, we conclude that HLR might be better grounded in the paradigm of Strong Sustainability (StS). With the case of the Hetao Irrigation Area at the upstream of the Yellow River, we recommend a StS-scenario with suggestions for policy reforms”. Read the article (open access) here

(Image credits: 

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Call for papers: resilience thinking in water resources management

Academics with an interest in resilience thinking can submit a paper proposal to the organizers of a panel at the International Symposium on Society and Resource Management, to be held in Colorado in June 2013. The call reads as follows: “Traditionally, water resources management has been driven by technical knowledge with an emphasis on establishing systems that can be predicted and controlled. However, the relatively recent recognition of increased climate variability as well as steady long-term climate change and population growth has dramatic implications for traditional water resources management. This recognition coupled with a view of social and ecological components as inherently linked in complex systems, has created ample space for the influence of resilience thinking in water resources management.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Basins at risk – Assessing the likelihood of international river basin conflict or cooperation

Anna Kalbhenn and Thomas Bernauer have just published an open dataset on conflict and cooperation in international river basins, which can be found here. Based on this dataset multiple analyses are possible, including predictions of water conflict and cooperation. The developers of the database suggest  “Rapidly increasing water demand combined with supply constraints is widely believed to raise the risk of violence over scarce water resources. Because many of the world’s freshwater systems extend across national boundaries, this implies an increased potential for international water conflicts. However, which factors make it actually more likely that we observe conflict? Also, is it possible that cooperation emerges? And, most importantly, which freshwater systems are most likely to be affected by conflict or cooperation?” See about these issue issues also a recent article in Foreign Affairs.

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How history is repeating itself

When I started my studies on water governance at Twente University in 1989, my father told me about the small river streams in the Dutch industrialized region of Twente, where he used to live and work in the textile industry in the fifties and sixties. He told me how small rivers changed colour at that time, depending on the colouring used that day, and how fish died massively. When I started my studies that had changed already, mainly because of the very effective regime of the Dutch Surface Water pollution Act, which was adopted in 1970. Since then another change has taken place in the region, as most of the textile industry disappeared and moved to low-income countries in Asia, such as India and Indonesia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Water in the Anthropocene Conference

The Global Water System Project (GWSP) is organizing an international conference on ‘Water in the Anthropocene: Challenges for Science and Governance. Indicators, Thresholds and Uncertainties of the Global Water System’ to be held in Bonn, Germany on 21-24 May 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

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New issue Water Alternatives is out – reflection on the water footprint

The new issue of Water Alternatives has come out, and the theme is “Open for business or opening Pandora’s Box? A constructive critique of corporate engagement in water policy”. You can read the full new issue here. Of interest for the readership of the Water Governance Blog is the article it contains by two WWF representatives on the water footprint. An excerpt from the abstract: “A debate has now emerged about the value, and the shortcomings of using water footprint tools to support better water resources management. This paper tracks the evolution of the water footprint concept from its inception in the 1990s and reviews major applications of water footprint tools, including those by the private sector. Read the rest of this entry »

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Personhood for a river in New Zealand

Text by Stephen Messenger -reposted from the Treehugger. From the dawn of history, and in cultures throughout the world, humans have been prone to imbue Earth’s life-giving rivers with qualities of life itself — a fitting tribute, no doubt, to the wellsprings upon which our past (and present) civilizations so heavily rely. But while modern thought has come to regard these essential waterways more clinically over the centuries, that might all be changing once again.Meet the Whanganui. You might call it a river, but in the eyes of the law, it has the standings of a person. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cell phones enhance water governance?


The iPhone 5. Photo: Getty Images

Recent research from Oxford is arguing that the rapid expansion of mobile communication technology in Africa should be harnessed for enhancing water security. This year, more people in Africa will have mobile phone services than access to improved water services. At the same time, Africa is leading the world in mobile commerce innovations, including mobile water payments. People can now use their mobile phones to pay their water bills. These technological innovations have the potential to change the landscape of water insecurity in the region but they need to be harnessed. Read the rest of this entry »

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