Call for papers

Farmer-led irrigation development in Sub-Saharan Africa

Investment, policy engagements & agrarian transformation

Guest editors: Gert Jan Veldwisch, Hans Komakech, Jean-Philippe Venot

Debates about irrigating sub-Saharan Africa are not new but have re-emerged at the start of the century (World Bank, 2006; AfDB et al. 2008; Lankford, 2009; AgWa 2010) following renewed concerns over stagnant African agricultural productivity (NEPAD 2003; Commission for Africa, 2005; World Bank, 2008) and the 2007-8 increase in food commodity prices. Key to the debate is “the form that irrigation must take” in sub-Saharan Africa given mounting evidence that past irrigation development has fared much below expectations on a variety of criteria (Svendsen et al., 2009; Inocencio et al. 2007; Woodhouse, 2012). In this context, the idea that smallholders can be a driving force of irrigation development has started to get some traction as illustrated by the 2018 international water for food forum organized by the Daugherty Global Institute and the World Bank and entitled Farmer-led irrigated agriculture: Seeds of opportunity.

Farmer-led irrigation might well be on its way to become “a new investment model” promoted by major development players in conjunction with national governments. This interest partly builds on a growing number of empirical studies that have documented an intensification and expansion of agricultural water management, often by small-scale producers using a variety of technologies and often in circumstances where legal and regulatory frameworks have not been developed to address such patterns of water use and agricultural development (de Fraiture and Giordano, 2013; Veldwisch et al., 2013; Woodhouse et al., 2017). However, the debate has remained largely framed in dual terms whereby farmer-led irrigated agriculture (often characterized as small scale) is often opposed to investments (often thought to be of a larger scale) by the state and private companies with or without support of development aid agencies and NGOs.

In this special issue, we take a slightly different view. Instead of framing farmer-led irrigation as another (neatly) bounded and fixed irrigation category we focus on farmer-led irrigation development (FLID). We define farmer-led irrigation development as a process in which farmers drive the establishment, improvement and/or expansion of irrigated agriculture, often in interaction with other actors: government agencies, NGOs, etc. This type of irrigation development cuts across existing irrigation typologies defined on the basis of scale, technologies, crops, modes of management, etc. It has become a reality of rural sub-Saharan landscapes: it is widespread and increasing and embedded in institutional and governance arrangements that are situation specific. This special issue aims at shedding light on the multiplicity of farmer-led irrigation development by tackling questions that include but are not limited to:

  • The “knowledge dimensions” of farmer-led irrigation development. How to assess its extent: what tools and methods can be used to map and share information on these dynamics? What can they reveal, what do they miss? What are the political consequences of generating new knowledge and data on farmer-led irrigation development on these very processes?
  • The “governance dimensions” of farmer-led irrigation development. How do different stakeholders (researchers, NGOs, Government agencies, private companies, and aid agencies) perceive, frame and then engage with FLID? In which multi-level governance arrangements are FLID embedded in?
  • The “policy dimensions” of farmer-led irrigation development. How does farmer-led irrigation development feature in national and continental plans to enhance agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa? Notably, how does FLID relate to initiatives promoting large scale agricultural entrepreneurship (for instance growth pole, growth corridors, and outgrowers’ schemes, etc)?
  • The “institutional dimensions” of farmer-led irrigation development. What institutional arrangements emerge and underpin FLID, what are the property rights and land tenure regimes associated with such dynamics, what strategies farmers adopt to engage with different “external” actors, for what purposes?
  • The “water dimensions” of farmer-led irrigation development. What is the water use efficiency of FLID at scales (local, system, watershed), what possible water allocation trade-offs it implies, and what environmental effects in a local and river basin perspectives, etc?
  • The “agricultural and social dimensions” of farmer-led irrigation development. How productive is FLID? What investment processes underpins it? Does it lead to widespread poverty alleviation and prosperity? Does it create new inequalities across class, gender and generational gaps?

For this special issue we are looking for contributions that start from empirical work (single and/or comparative case studies) to draw broader analytical and/or theoretical arguments on what farmer-led irrigation development tells us about the discourses, policies and practices of irrigation development, agricultural intensification and water resources management in sub-Saharan Africa. Contributions may be grounded in a variety of fields and disciplines ranging from agricultural and irrigation/water engineering, to economics, physical and human geography, anthropology, sociology, political ecology and policy science. They should however shed light on the politics related to knowing and characterizing farmer-led irrigation development.

We are calling for long abstracts (1000 to 1500 words) that should briefly present the analytical framework, the methodology used, the main lessons of the case study/ies, and stress the main (analytical) arguments put forth in the paper.

Send your abstracts to: gertjan.veldwisch@wur.nl and jean-philippe.venot@ird.fr, with copy to managing_editor@water-alternatives.org.

Standard review process will apply: upon selection of the abstracts, submitted papers will be sent to two external reviewers chosen by the guest editors together with the editors of Water Alternatives. Guest editors will be responsible for the final decision of accepting papers on the basis of reviews received from the reviewers and the editors of Water Alternatives (see http://www.water-alternatives.org/index.php/guide to format your contribution).


Time line

Launch of the call                                                                20 February 2018

Deadline for submission of abstracts (1000-1500 words)  15 March 2018

Notification of authors                                                         15 April 2018

Submission of selected papers                                           15 July 2018

Reviews sent back to authors                                             30 October 2018

Submission of revised papers                                             15 December 2019

Publication                                                                           1 February 2019

Key references

AfDB et al 2008. Investment In Agricultural Water for Poverty Reduction and Economic Growth. A collaborative Program of AFDB, FAO,IFAD, IWMI and the World Bank. Synthesis Report http://www.fanrpan.org/documents/d00508/1-agric_water_investments_World_Bank.pdf

AgWA. 2010. AgWA governance, institutional and operational architecture. Agricultural Water for Africa. http://www.ukia.org/agwa/AgWA%20Architecture%20Inception%20Report.pdf

De Fraiture, C. and Giordano, M. 2013. Small private irrigation: A thriving but overlooked sector. Agricultural Water Management 131: 167-174.

Lankford, B., 2009. Viewpoint—the right irrigation? Policy directions for agricultural water management in sub-Saharan Africa. Water Alternatives 2 (3), 476–480.

Merrey, D. 2018. Pathways to Increasing Farmer-led Investments in Sustainable Agricultural Water Management in sub-Saharan Africa. Background paper for the recent World Bank-USAID-DWFI conference on farmer-led irrigation development in Africa.

NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development). 2003. Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program. Pretoria, South Africa: NEPAD. http://www.nepad.org/foodsecurity/agriculture/land

Svendsen, S., Ewing, M., Msangi, S., 2009. Measuring irrigation performance in Africa. IFPRI Discussion Paper 894. International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, D.C.

Veldwisch, G.J.; Beekman, W. and Bolding, A. 2013. Smallholder irrigators, water rights and investments in agriculture: Three cases from rural Mozambique. Water Alternatives 6(1): 125-141.

Woodhouse, P. 2012. “Water in African Agronomy.” In Contested Agronomy: Agricultural Research in a Changing World, edited by J Sumberg and J Thompson, 102–15. London: Earthscan.

Woodhouse, Philip, Gert Jan Veldwisch, Jean-Philippe Venot, Dan Brockington, Hans Komakech, and Ângela Manjichi. 2017. “African Farmer-Led Irrigation Development: Re-Framing Agricultural Policy and Investment?” The Journal of Peasant Studies 44 (1):213–33.

World Bank. 2006. Reengaging in agricultural water management: Challenges and Options. Washington D.C: The World Bank.

World Bank. 2007. World Development Report 2008. Washington, DC: The World Bank.

Call for papers (closed)

 Local- and national-level politics of groundwater overexploitation

Groundwater overexploitation is a worldwide phenomenon with worrying consequences and few effective solutions. Work on groundwater governance often emphasizes formal state-centered policies and tools but empirically-grounded work is more limited. Another strand of work examines community-based governance and common-pool resources approaches to managing groundwater, but not many convincing cases have been documented in detail. This special issue will seek to gather and synthesize knowledge on the three following main issues:

  • The politics of groundwater policy-making: how are state groundwater policies established? What actors, networks, interests and knowledge are mobilized? What do the lack of enforcement and the gap between objectives and results on the ground reveal? How are regulation targets at the aquifer level conceived of, scientifically grounded, negotiated, and to what extent do they aptly consider the various third-party effects of groundwater abstraction. What are the relationships between groundwater policies and other sectoral policies?

  • Implementation and local dynamics: how do local actors ignore, circumvent, deflect, appropriate, cope with or adjust to state policies? What does this reveal about state-community relationships and the limits of state power? Who is impacted and how/to whom is water reallocated? What are the implications of observed dynamics for policy-making?

  • Groundwater as a common-pool resource: what examples do we have of community-based management, or co-management, of aquifers? What are the conditions and contexts conducive to such arrangements? How effective and reproducible are they? Can state regulations 'enable' local management – both in regulating access to existing groundwater resources or in promoting groundwater recharge? What is the specific role of state actors but also of NGOs or corporate actors?

Priority will be given to empirically grounded case studies.


Time line

Launch of the call                                                                     1 September 2017

Deadline for submission of abstracts (300-500 words)            15 October 2017

Notification of authors                                                              15 November 2017

Final submission                                                                      15 March 2018

Final papers, after review                                                         30 August 2018

Publication                                                                                1 October 2018


Contact the Guest Editors

François Molle                                  molle@water-alternatives.org

Elena López-Gunn                           elopezgunn@gmail.com

Frank van Steenbergen                   fvansteenbergen@metameta.nl


Or send your abstract to:              
managing_editor@water-alternatives.org

Call for papers

 Dam removal: new environments and new landscapes? Social, cultural and political issues

Since the mid-1990s new principles have been adopted for the ecological management of rivers. To improve water quality and aquatic environments, it is no longer considered sufficient to reduce pollution. It becomes necessary to take into account the very structure of river environments in order to re-establish the bio-physical processes which have a positive impact on river dynamics. Among the most emblematic ecological restoration actions, removal of dams and weirs is a solution which is increasingly advocated not only by environmental associations, but also by institutional actors. The removal of hydraulic works is associated with a physical and symbolic “liberating” of rivers. The promotion of dam removal would appear to go hand in hand with the quest for the wild river. The ecological impact of these actions, (in terms of processes, improvement and risk factors), as well as their technical aspects, are well documented by the scientific community, although many uncertainties remain.

However, the removal of such hydraulic structures also raises several issues in terms of the decision process, change of use, landscape and values. In both Europe and North America, there are an increasing number of such actions in a context which can sometimes become conflicting. The success and failure of consultation processes, public participation and the role of local communities, the linking of ecological restoration operations and local development projects are among the issues studied by researchers in the social sciences. This special issue specifically intends to bring together international specialists in order to better apprehend the dam removal movement based on a comparative analysis of its implementation and its spatial implications, between North America (where it first began) and Europe (where the implementation of the Water Framework Directive has modified river management principles).

This special issue aims to focus on social, cultural and political issues of dam removal in order to explore the following overarching questions:

  • What does the increase of dam removal projects tell us about the representation of rivers today?
  • What are the arguments and objectives put forward by the different actors who promote dam removal projects?
  • What is the constellation of drivers that encouraged the dam removal and the shift of river management?
  • What is the role of state services, NGO, fish services… in the dam removal process and what kind of interactions they have with local people toward dam removal?
  • How are river restoration projects received and debated at local scale?
  • How to resolve conflicts generated by dam removal decision? Which tools can be useful to improve river diagnosis and build a share vision for the river?
  • How to conciliate ecological objectives with local development issues and inhabitants expectations?

One of the aims of this Special Issue is to propose an overview of social issues concerning dam removal in different areas, more specially North America and Europe, in order to understand what the specificities of each region are. To this end, we invite both empirically grounded and theoretical reflections on these issues from those interested in exploring social dimensions of dam removal.

  • Papers may concern a specific case study at local scale (conflicts analysis, landscape river representations, consultation processes). They may also propose a regional or national analysis (institutional context, politic debates). They may be focused on a comparison between different countries or regions.
  • Papers may be based on a more general approach. They may address the spread of river management principles and “wild river” model from North America to Europe. They may focus on methodological aspects to take into account social dimensions of rivers and to improve dialogue on river future. Consultation and participation tools useful for water governance may be described. Papers may describe case studies where debates were organized on dam removal.


Time line

Launch of the call                                          25 August 2016

Deadline for submission of abstracts            20 September 2016

Notification of authors                                   1 October 2016

Draft papers                                                  31 January 2017

Final papers, after review                             30 June 2017

Publication                                                    1 October 2017


Contact the Guest Editors

Régis Barraud                                    regis.barraud@univ-poitiers.fr

Chris Sneddon                                   christopher.s.sneddon@dartmouth.edu

Marie-Anne Germaine                       marie-anne.germaine@u-paris10.fr


Or send your abstract to:              
managing_editor@water-alternatives.org

The call is now closed

Special Issue on

Critical Thinking on the ‘New Security Convergence’ in Energy, Food, Climate and Water:
Is the Nexus Secure … and for Whom?

With the financial support of the ESRC funded STEPS Centre

Guest Editors:
Jeremy Allouche (IDS STEPS Centre)
Dipak Gyawali (Nepal Water Conservation Foundation)
Carl Middleton (Chulalongkorn University)

The concept of the ‘nexus’ has gained salience over time, through the Bonn Conference in 2011, the Sixth World Water Forum in Marseilles, France and the Rio +20 negotiations in 2012, making it the new vocabulary to define sustainable development (Gies, 2012). The idea started with the World Economic Forum in 2008 and the different resource ‘crises’ in terms of food and energy. In a nutshell, nexus underpins the acute pressure on world’s natural resources generated through a combination of factors as climate change and the human response to climate change, global demographic trends of burgeoning population size and increased consumption levels. The ‘nexus’ debate is primarily a debate about natural resource scarcity.

The nexus approach highlights the interdependence of water, energy and food security and the natural resources that underpin that security - such as soil, land, and nutrient cycles. The German government was promoting the concept at Bonn then Rio based on the belief that a better understanding of the interdependence of water, energy and climate policy will provide an informed and transparent framework for determining trade-offs and synergies that meet demand without compromising sustainability.

Water security remains central to the concept of nexus; in short food and energy security can only be achieved through water security. Climate change is a string amplifier but not the primary driver for change (Bogardi, 2012). The concept has led to the proliferation of high-level workshops, seminars and conferences, as well as new policies and perspective papers from the Global Water Partnership, World Economic Forum and the German Government (to name a few) that make the nexus and water security out to be the new ‘development imperative’.

The impact of this new “WEF nexus” concept is uncertain but the links between water, energy and climate create a renewed interest for project around hydropower and storage. Lall (World Economic Forum, 2011) argues that in the backdrop of climate change and climate variability, the key question that global society faces is “how should our water best be stored and which stores should be used to minimize risks due to long term climate variability and change?” Storage is argued to guarantee reliability in water supply, which in turn means food security, electricity generation and industrial growth.

Water Alternatives will publish a special issue on Critical Thinking On the ‘New Security Convergence’ in Energy, Food, Climate and Water. We invite papers both from academics and practitioners that could be published as part of this special issue. Specifically, the papers should seek to address one or several of the following points:

  • Who are the key actors driving the ‘nexus’, how and why, and what intended and unintended purposes does it serve?
  • What dominant narratives are driving energy, climate and water security at scales ranging from the local to the global? Is there a growing convergence between these various securities, and the way that they are framed? Which types of risk and uncertainties are formally recognised, which remain unrecognised -how and why?
  • What are the implications of insights from the concept of “dynamic sustainabilities” for how notions of food, water and energy securities are framed and applied, given the implicit connotation of stability within the concept of security? With what consequences?
  • Is the nexus replacing or complementing the IWRM paradigm?
  • What are the links between the nexus thinking and the green economy?
  • Is the nexus the new buzzword? What is new about nexus that did not exist in common knowledge?

Timeline

  • Launch of the call by September 15, 2013
  • Submission of abstracts by December 15, 2013
  • Notification of authors by January 15, 2014
  • Draft papers by May 15, 2014
  • reviews by August 15, 2014
  • Final papers by December, 2014
  • Publication by February 2015

Contact the guest-editors

Jeremy Allouche (STEPS Centre, IDS), j.allouche@ids.ac.uk
Dipak Gyawali (Nepal Water Conservation Foundation), gyawalidipak@gmail.com
Carl Middleton (Chulalongkorn University, Thailand), carl.m@chula.ac.th

or send your abstract to: managing_editor@water-alternatives.org

Full papers can be develooped following WaA editorial guidelines

CALL FOR PAPERS

Special Issue on

Trends and Developments in Rural Water Supply Services Delivery

With the financial support of International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC)

Guest Editors:
Stef Smits (IRC)
John Butterworth (IRC)
Richard Franceys (Cranfield University)

Since the turn of Millennium and its trumpeted development goals we’ve seen much progress in extending access to rural water supplies. According to the UN’s Joint Monitoring Program, the water goal has now been achieved, 5 years before the 2015 target date. But over the same period, the challenges of providing sustainable rural water supply services have become more and more apparent. An estimated 30-40% of rural handpumps in Sub-Saharan Africa are not functional at any given moment. Similar percentages of rural water supply systems in Asia and Latin America are performing well below the expected design criteria. The reasons for failure and under-performance are manifold and summarised in the 10 myths of rural water supply (RWSN, 2009). These all point to the limitations of community-based management as the dominant approach in rural water supply, and the inadequate ways in which rural water supply systems are financed and supported.

Recognition of this ‘sustainability crisis’ is resulting in changes to the main underpinning concepts and paradigms for rural water supply. Central to most solutions is the adoption of a service delivery approach, in which rural water is seen as a service to be provided, rather than a system that needs to be put in place. The adoption of a service delivery approach will have profound implications for the ways in which the sector is organised. It means for example, setting and monitoring service level targets rather than just coverage targets. Realising that community management alone is often insufficient to provide services that last and all the services that people want, direct support to community-based service providers is needed, and in some case complementary management models, such as self-supply and small private operators have a high potential to improve services. A service delivery approach benefits from the adoption of a services costing approach towards the financing of rural water supplies.

Various countries have started addressing these challenges and making the shift towards a more service-oriented approach, implementing some of the measures mentioned above. However, marked differences are seen in the speed and way this shift is made. The political economy of rural water supply seems to be playing an important role.

Water Alternatives will publish a special issue on trends and developments in rural water supply services delivery, highlighting challenges and changes to the hitherto mainstream approaches to rural water supply. In addition, the special issue will seek to create a better understanding how political economy influences changes in rural water supply. We invite papers that could be published as part of this special issue. Specifically, we seek both papers which provide a theoretical background to the changing approaches towards rural water supply and papers based on empirical study of service-delivery focused approaches. Topics on which we would expect papers would include, amongst others:

  • Service delivery approaches for rural water supply. Papers on this topic could provide a clear conceptual framework to service delivery approaches, examine critically how the approach and the concept have developed, and differ, from past approaches, in the wider debate about available approaches to rural water supply.
  • Political economy of rural water supply. Papers on this topic should address the question on how the political economy shapes the development of the rural water supply sub-sector, and its reform processes. Given the high aid-dependency of the sub-sector in many countries, specific emphasis should be given on the role of aid on the political economy of rural water supplies.
  • Human right to water. The recognition of the human right to water is giving a new impetus to policy discussions on rural water supplies.
  • Historical perspectives on rural water supplies in developed countries. The focus in this special issue is on rural water supply in countries that still need to extend coverage. But papers that describe the historical development of rural water supply in the developed world, with insights for elsewhere, are also welcomed. Those should particularly address how, and at what level of national wealth, developed countries have addressed issues of financial sustainability of rural water supplies.
  • Costing and financing of services. Papers are requested that describe how services/life-cycle costing approaches are applied and the implications of the findings of such work for financing arrangements, in view of long-term affordability of services.
  • Monitoring and support to service delivery. This refers to institutional arrangements for on-going monitoring and support to rural service providers. Particularly, we would seek papers that describe the costs and impacts of such mechanisms in terms of changes in sustainability.
  • What are the business strategies of different informal providers and what is the nature of the relationship of informal operators with their customers and how does this relationship influence service provision?

Timeline

  • Water policy at global and national levels
  • Launch of the call by May 15, 2012
  • Submission of abstracts by July 15, 2012
  • Notification of authors by August 30, 2012
  • Draft papers by December 31, 2013
  • Reviews by April 1st
  • Final version by July 31
  • Publication by October 2013

Contact the guest-editors

Stef Smits, IRC , smits@irc.nl
John Butterworth, IRC, butterworth@irc.nl
Richard Franceys, Cranfield University, r.w.a.franceys@cranfield.ac.uk

or send your abstract to: managing_editor@water-alternatives.org

CALL FOR PAPERS

Special Issue on

Informal Space in the Urban Waterscape

With the financial support of UNESCO-IHE

Guest Editors:
Rhodante Ahlers (UNESCO-IHE, Delft)
Frances Cleaver (Bradford University, UK)
Klaas Schwartz (UNESCO-IHE, Delft)

Cities in developing countries have grown into heterogonous urban landscapes. These cities are perhaps best described as “a city of fragments” in which “physical environment, services, income, cultural values and institutional systems can vary markedly from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, often from street to street” (Balbo 1993). The fragmented urban landscape is reflected in the prevailing governance structures. The city encompasses multiple sites (or arenas) of governance, incorporating a variety of actors (varying from more formal to informal) who exert various modes of power (Lindell 2008). In these multiple arenas, which are strongly intertwined, an important role is played by the ‘informal’ sector. The ‘informal' sector is characterized by the "political bargaining and the social struggles involved in determining the changing and continuously contested boundary between ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ spheres" (Hossain, 2011). Fragmentation and heterogeneity manifest themselves in the growth, coexistence and overlap of formal and informal institutions shaping urban life.

In African cities approximately 75% of basic services are provided by ‘informal’ providers (Simone, 2005) who utilize a wide variety of water sources and supply options, which in turn determine variegated infrastructural configurations. Far from being a ‘backward’ sector or a survival strategy of the poor, the ‘informal’ water services sector includes stable enterprises and dynamic businesses representing a variety of scales, business structures, levels of sophistication and capital intensity (Ahlers et al., 2011, Chen, 2007; Kariuki and Schwartz, 2005; Owusu, 2007, Sansom, 2006; Solo, 1999).

Water and sanitation provision in developing countries has been compared to archipelagos with formal provision consisting of “spatially separated but linked ‘islands’ of networked supply in the urban fabric” (Bakker, 2003). The urban waterscape is thus composed of highly diverse and often ’informal’ providers, adhering to different operational and service delivery models. This special issue seeks to explore the water and sanitation provision realities in ‘informal’ urban spaces unserved, or partially served, by formal utilities. Much of the literature on urban informal service provision falls under instrumental policy-focused analysis, while urban informality has more traction with critical scholars using Lefebvrian or political ecological approaches to analyze the mutually constitutive political and spatial practices of informality and their socio-technical manifestations. Hence we have identified the two following overarching questions:

  • How is the spatial configuration of ‘informal’ service provision historically and socio-ecologically produced?
  • What is the relation between service provision, technology and flows of power in these ‘informal’ urban spaces?

To this end we invite both empirically grounded and theoretical reflections on these issues from those with interest or involvement in informal provision of water and sanitation services in fragmented urban areas. Illustrative, but by no means exhaustive examples, of topics that can be addressed by submissions include:

  • Urbanization, the development of informal spaces and provision of water services.
  • The nature and evolution of hybrid economic, social and political arrangements of service provision in urban areas
  • How are informal providers embedded in the wider social-political landscape and how has this embeddedness shaped the service provision modalities in a particular area?
  • What are the policies and discourses of government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and donors regarding the role of informal operators in providing water and sanitation services? How do these policies impact these operators and the development of the sector? Given that this sector is far from homogenous (differing in size, technology, source of water, consumer –base, profit margins, etc.), policies are likely to have different impacts on different operators.
  • What are the business strategies of different informal providers and what is the nature of the relationship of informal operators with their customers and how does this relationship influence service provision?

To develop this special issue, we will organize a 2.5 day workshop in Delft, the Netherlands. For this workshop the authors of the accepted abstracts will be invited (and their costs covered). Invited authors will have two tasks. Firstly, they will present their own paper (which they are to submit about 6 weeks before the workshop). Secondly, each author will be asked to comment on the paper of another author prior to the workshop. These comments will be shared following the presentation of that paper at the workshop. Both the presentation and peer-review comments will form the basis for a discussion amongst the participants. The peer-review and the discussion will then provide inputs to finalize the paper. The final paper will then be subject to the standard Water Alternatives review process.

Timeline

  • Launch of the call by May 10, 2012
  • Submission of abstracts by July 15, 2012
  • Notification of authors by August 30, 2012
  • Draft papers by October 30, 2012
  • Delft Workshop, 4-5 December, 2012
  • Final papers for review process by february 1st 2013
  • Publication by October 2013

Contact the guest-editors

Rhodante Ahlers r.ahlers@unesco-ihe.org
Frances Cleaver f.d.cleaver@bradford.ac.uk
Klaas Schwartz k.schwartz@unesco-ihe.org

or send your abstract to: managing_editor@water-alternatives.org

Access call at: Access call at:
http://www.water-alternatives.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=162&Itemid=1

CALL FOR PAPERS

Special Issue on

Open for business or opening Pandora’s box?

A constructive critique of corporate engagement in water policy

With the financial support of WWF, TNC and GIZ

Guest Editors:
Nick Hepworth (Water Witness International)
Jason Morrison (Pacific Institute)
Upmanu Lall (Columbia Water Centre)

Over the past decade the corporate world has awoken to the realisation that improved water management is a fundamental precursor to future prosperity. Its response, supported by substantial investment, has been wide ranging, from supply chain water footprinting and risk assessments, to catchment management projects and the creation of water credit and offset trading schemes. Private sector engagement in the water policy arena is now growing at a formidable pace but the mainstream water management and research community have not fully grasped the significance of this new interest. The many potential hazards and opportunities within these uncharted waters are yet to be navigated or even mapped with any certainty. There are many intellectual, practical and ethical imperatives raised by the growing corporate engagement and influence on the way society uses water and this is a topic ripe for analysis, debate and constructive critique.

Corporate engagement in water policy has the potential to lift the lid on a Pandora’s box of controversies or to inject a much needed tonic of vigour, creative thinking and investment to unlock some of our most intractable water challenges. Pioneering new ways to engage with those who control so much of the world’s commodity, finance and resource flows offers both huge opportunities and poses significant risks for positive change in water management.

This special issue seeks to explore the opportunities and hazards brought by this growing private sector interest in water policy and the dazzling array of new tools for water management which accompanies it. It responds to an absence of rigorous questioning and transparency, to open the range of bilateral and multilateral corporate initiatives, public-private and private-NGO partnerships to greater scrutiny and debate. To this end we invite both empirically grounded and theoretical reflection on these issues from those with interest or involvement in the business-water nexus. Submissions could describe or explore the genesis and motivations behind corporate water engagement and initiatives; real or potential applications, performance and outcomes; set out useful guiding parameters, insights and principles or explore polemical stances around the issues.

Illustrative but by no means exhaustive examples include:

  • The emergence of water credits which now sees water resources in Africa available for sale online. Marketed as a sage and ethical investment, on one hand water credits could generate new forms of investment and incentives for management, yet on the other they risk a new commodification of the resource towards largely unconsidered but nefarious ends.
  • Some of the world’s largest corporations have joined forces to conduct basin-by-basin analyses of future availability against projected demand in order to develop cost curves of investment needed to ‘release’ water, and promote its reallocation to ‘higher value uses’. Such a sophisticated economic lens for forecasting could be exactly what is needed to plan water security, but whose water security will be prioritized when that lens can only be peered through by the most powerful water users?
  • Water footprint analysis has entered the zeitgeist and has arguably done more to elevate water up the political and business agendas than any other concept or tool in memory. Yet its methodological imperfections and potential to drive perverse outcomes remain largely unexplored or debated, despite widespread and growing application.
  • Water offsetting and the concept of water neutrality also grow in popularity, with companies already investing in good works in distant catchments to ostensibly offset their water ‘impacts’ in others. Elsewhere Payment for Watershed Services are promoted to facilitate cash or in kind transfers between downstream corporate water users and poor upstream communities. As a way of leveraging investment such approaches represent a potential jackpot for some, but how technically credible, socially ethical and administratively sustainable are these schemes, and whose legitimacy and interests are at stake?
  • Water mapping tools and ‘hotspot’ identification have become de rigueur for multi-national companies to help them identify risk and focus investment, despite the epistemological agonies associated with such analyses. One iteration of imperfectly defined water risk after another flag much of the developing world as an alarming red, potentially discouraging investment where it is needed most.
  • Further, a global initiative is now underway to develop water stewardship standards to define, guide and reward 'equitable and sustainable water use'. This effort aspires to develop universally applicable definitions, criteria and indicators for these lofty goals in the face of the persisting anxieties inspired by these concepts in terms of operational application.

We look forward to a rich, timely and above all constructive debate which will open new doors of inquiry and collaboration towards a genuinely secure and equitable shared water future. Whilst issues of water privatisation may be relevant in this debate we urge a focus instead on the nascent issue of corporates as large-scale water users and emergent actors in public water policy.

Timeline

  • Abstract (300 words) by October 20, 2011
  • Decision to authors by November 15, 2011
  • Full papers by Mars 1, 2012
  • Peer reviewed comments by May 15, 2012
  • Final version of paper by July 15, 2012 for publication on the first of October 2012

Contact the guest-editors

Nick Hepworth (Water Witness International) nickhepworth@waterwitness.org
Jason Morrison (Pacific Institute) jmorrison@pacinst.org
Upmanu Lall (Columbia Water Centre) upmanulall@gmail.com

or send your abstract to: managing_editor@water-alternatives.org

CALL FOR PAPERS

Special Issue on

Voices of Water Professionals:
Shedding Light on Socio-Political Processes in the Water Sector

With the financial support of GIZ

Guest Editors:
Gilbert Levine (Fulbright Advisor, ex- Cornell University)
Mercy Dikito-Wachtmeister (Global Water Partnership)
Miguel Solanes (ex-Economic Commission for Latin America, UN)

Water Alternatives is intended to build bridges across disciplines and between water scientists and practitioners. Most of the existing literature dealing with water and society is written by the former, as the latter often feel constrained by time or bound by professional confidentiality while exercising in international or governmental spheres. Yet, they are central witnesses of the social and political processes at work in water law or policy making, water resources development and planning, river basin, irrigation system or water utility management, and often find themselves at the interface between commercial or political interests and collective values of resource use efficiency, social equity and environmental sustainability.

This special issue of Water Alternatives is dedicated to tapping the often silent and unarticulated wealth of experience related to social and political processes in real-life professional practice, that often escapes academic scrutiny and usually dissipates after the retirement of key actors of the water sector, including experts and researchers, private consulting/construction companies, managers and policymakers, politicians, bankers and officials working in national and international aid or cooperation agencies, or NGOs at the forefront of social or environmental struggles.

The collection of papers in this issue is meant to go beyond sanctioned and official discourses, cosmetic intentions and conventional justifications, or plain accounts of past experiences. We would like buzzwords to be dissected and contributions that analyse in a direct and open manner real-world constraints and processes, actors’ behaviours and strategies (strategic action, political manoeuvring, etc), where various diverging/opposed values, ideologies and forms of power confront one another.

We expect to learn from active or retired water professionals who will find value in reflecting critically along these lines on their past experience and share their personal (and not institutional) perspective with the readers of Water Alternatives. We invite submissions on the following topics:

  • Insights on the social and political processes at work in water law or policy-making, water resources development and planning, river basin, irrigation system or water supply scheme management
  • The interface/antagonism between commercial or political interests and collective values of resource use efficiency, social equity and environmental sustainability
  • Actors’ behaviours and strategies
  • Problems and barricades that prevent a better link between science and practice

Contributions can be made in the form of conventional scientific papers that will be peer-reviewed, or in the form of reflexive “viewpoints/experiences” that may be shorter – with a minimum word count of 3000 – and reviewed by the editors/guest-editors.

Timeline

  • Abstract (300 words) by September 30, 2012
  • Decision to authors by October 15, 2012
  • Full papers by January 15, 2012
  • Peer reviewed comments by March 1, 2013
  • Final version of paper by April 30, 2013 for publication on the first of June 2013

Contact the guest-editors

Gilbert Levine   gl14@cornell.edu
Mercy Dikito-Wachtmeister   mercy.dikito-wachtmeister@gwpforum.org
Miguel Solanes   mrsolanes@yahoo.es

or send your abstract to: managing_editor@water-alternatives.org

 

CALL FOR PAPERS

Special Issue on

Open for business or opening Pandora’s box?

A constructive critique of corporate engagement in water policy

With the financial support of WWF, TNC and GIZ

Guest Editors:
Nick Hepworth (Water Witness International)
Jason Morrison (Pacific Institute)
Upmanu Lall (Columbia Water Centre)

Over the past decade the corporate world has awoken to the realisation that improved water management is a fundamental precursor to future prosperity. Its response, supported by substantial investment, has been wide ranging, from supply chain water footprinting and risk assessments, to catchment management projects and the creation of water credit and offset trading schemes. Private sector engagement in the water policy arena is now growing at a formidable pace but the mainstream water management and research community have not fully grasped the significance of this new interest. The many potential hazards and opportunities within these uncharted waters are yet to be navigated or even mapped with any certainty. There are many intellectual, practical and ethical imperatives raised by the growing corporate engagement and influence on the way society uses water and this is a topic ripe for analysis, debate and constructive critique.

Corporate engagement in water policy has the potential to lift the lid on a Pandora’s box of controversies or to inject a much needed tonic of vigour, creative thinking and investment to unlock some of our most intractable water challenges. Pioneering new ways to engage with those who control so much of the world’s commodity, finance and resource flows offers both huge opportunities and poses significant risks for positive change in water management.

This special issue seeks to explore the opportunities and hazards brought by this growing private sector interest in water policy and the dazzling array of new tools for water management which accompanies it. It responds to an absence of rigorous questioning and transparency, to open the range of bilateral and multilateral corporate initiatives, public-private and private-NGO partnerships to greater scrutiny and debate. To this end we invite both empirically grounded and theoretical reflection on these issues from those with interest or involvement in the business-water nexus. Submissions could describe or explore the genesis and motivations behind corporate water engagement and initiatives; real or potential applications, performance and outcomes; set out useful guiding parameters, insights and principles or explore polemical stances around the issues.

Illustrative but by no means exhaustive examples include:

  • The emergence of water credits which now sees water resources in Africa available for sale online. Marketed as a sage and ethical investment, on one hand water credits could generate new forms of investment and incentives for management, yet on the other they risk a new commodification of the resource towards largely unconsidered but nefarious ends.
  • Some of the world’s largest corporations have joined forces to conduct basin-by-basin analyses of future availability against projected demand in order to develop cost curves of investment needed to ‘release’ water, and promote its reallocation to ‘higher value uses’. Such a sophisticated economic lens for forecasting could be exactly what is needed to plan water security, but whose water security will be prioritized when that lens can only be peered through by the most powerful water users?
  • Water footprint analysis has entered the zeitgeist and has arguably done more to elevate water up the political and business agendas than any other concept or tool in memory. Yet its methodological imperfections and potential to drive perverse outcomes remain largely unexplored or debated, despite widespread and growing application.
  • Water offsetting and the concept of water neutrality also grow in popularity, with companies already investing in good works in distant catchments to ostensibly offset their water ‘impacts’ in others. Elsewhere Payment for Watershed Services are promoted to facilitate cash or in kind transfers between downstream corporate water users and poor upstream communities. As a way of leveraging investment such approaches represent a potential jackpot for some, but how technically credible, socially ethical and administratively sustainable are these schemes, and whose legitimacy and interests are at stake?
  • Water mapping tools and ‘hotspot’ identification have become de rigueur for multi-national companies to help them identify risk and focus investment, despite the epistemological agonies associated with such analyses. One iteration of imperfectly defined water risk after another flag much of the developing world as an alarming red, potentially discouraging investment where it is needed most.
  • Further, a global initiative is now underway to develop water stewardship standards to define, guide and reward 'equitable and sustainable water use'. This effort aspires to develop universally applicable definitions, criteria and indicators for these lofty goals in the face of the persisting anxieties inspired by these concepts in terms of operational application.

We look forward to a rich, timely and above all constructive debate which will open new doors of inquiry and collaboration towards a genuinely secure and equitable shared water future. Whilst issues of water privatisation may be relevant in this debate we urge a focus instead on the nascent issue of corporates as large-scale water users and emergent actors in public water policy.

Timeline

  • Abstract (300 words) by October 20, 2011
  • Decision to authors by November 15, 2011
  • Full papers by Mars 1, 2012
  • Peer reviewed comments by May 15, 2012
  • Final version of paper by July 15, 2012 for publication on the first of October 2012

Contact the guest-editors

Nick Hepworth (Water Witness International) nickhepworth@waterwitness.org
Jason Morrison (Pacific Institute) jmorrison@pacinst.org
Upmanu Lall (Columbia Water Centre) upmanulall@gmail.com

or send your abstract to: managing_editor@water-alternatives.org

CALL FOR PAPERS  (closed)

Special Issue on

Water Grabbing? Focus on the (Re)appropriation of Finite Water Resources

With the financial support of Future Agricultures Consortium

Guest Editors:
Lyla Mehta (Institute of Development Studies, Brighton)
Gert Jan Veldwisch (Wageningen University)
Jennifer Franco (Transnational Institute)

In many river basins in the world, water resources have become the object of increasing competition between food production and other sectors. The rush to acquire new lands as sources of alternative energy, food crops, and environmental services have led to the so called “land rush” or “land grabbing” that have made headlines and which contributed to skyrocketing global food prices in 2008. By drawing on notions of ‘marginal’, ‘waste’ and ‘unproductive’ lands, powerful transnational and national actors have moved into large-scale agriculture to take advantage of potential windfall gains in sub-sectors such as biofuels and major commodities (sugarcane, rice, wheat and other cash crops). New demands for land have also arisen due to climate change mitigation measures in the form of carbon forestry (REDD and tree planting for carbon sequestration). Land acquisition has ranged from buying or leasing land that may or may not be cultivated and/or occupied, and sometimes merely by organising smallholder production and controlling output markets. The process is part of a global re-alignment of political economic relations – the rise of new political and economic power centres through diverse trajectories of neoliberalisation.

Despite headline attention to ‘land grabbing’ the implications for existing surface and groundwater water resources have so far not been adequately examined. There are indications that in many cases ‘land grabbing’ is motivated by the desire to capture water resources. This is because in many cases, the land coveted or acquired by investors is not ‘marginal’ but of prime quality and associated with irrigation facilities or the potential for sourcing freshwater from river systems or aquifers (e.g., in arid areas land is plentiful and agricultural expansion will not create conflict until water is used). This raises the crucial question of whether this water is truly available or will be reallocated from existing users. Hydrologic complexity, in particular surface water/groundwater interactions and inter-annual variability, often obscures how reallocation takes place and what are the associated third party impacts on the environment or other social groups.

Acquisition of land and water resources, therefore, may or may not be related to one another, and each of them may amount to resource “grabbing” or not, depending on whether local people have been deprived from these same resources. (Re)appropriation may be effectuated through various means, ranging from violent expulsion to different types of compensations, to legal purchase, “legality” referring to what dominant discourses and the state consider as acceptable and lawful. There is obviously a fine line, and often a fuzzy overlap, between what some would consider as “resource grabbing” and others as lawful reallocation, be it organised or orchestrated by the state or through market mechanisms.

This special issue will focus explicitly on instances of “water grabbing”, where powerful actors are able to reallocate to their own benefits water resources already used by local communities or feeding aquatic ecosystems on which their livelihoods are based, as well as processes of contestation and resistance. It will in particular focus on how material, discursive, administrative and political power is mobilised to enable such water reallocation and on the impacts of the latter on local livelihoods, rights, gender, class and other social relations. The call is focused on two generic situations:

  • Landlords, agribusiness firms or other corporations investing in large-scale irrigated agriculture and consequently displacing small-users of water
  • Powerful (trans)national actors tapping, extracting and polluting surface or groundwater resources in rural and peri urban areas in a way that is detrimental to other existing farmers or to aquatic ecosystems that are the basis of local livelihoods and wellbeing.

In order to avoid conflating and addressing all water allocation issues and conflicts, the call is limited to these situations. In particular it excludes situations of sectoral competition (e.g. between cities and agriculture) as well as water grabbing by touristic resorts.

Timeline

  • Abstract (300 words) by June 30, 2011 (call is now closed)
  • Decision to authors by July 31, 2011
  • Full papers by November 31, 2011
  • Peer reviewed comments by February 28, 2012
  • Final version of paper by April 25, 2011 for publication on the first of June 2012

Contact the guest-editors

Lyla Mehta (Institute of Development Studies, Brighton) L.mehta@ids.ac.uk
Gert Jan Veldwisch (Wageningen University) gertjan.veldwisch@wur.nl
Jennifer Franco (Transnational Institute) jennycfranco@gmail.com

or send your abstract to: managing_editor@water-alternatives.org

CALL FOR PAPERS

Special Issue on

Policies, politics and realities of small irrigation dams in the rural South

Guest Editors: Jean-Philippe Venot, Hammou Laamrani, Jyothi Krishnan

Interest and investments in small scale irrigation in general, and in small dams in particular, have been cyclical and motivated by fluctuating priorities, discourses and changes in the broader polity. The early 1990s for example witnessed a boom in development investment and academic interest in small-scale irrigation, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Two phenomena may explain this interest. First, controversies around large-scale multi-purpose dams, which led to the establishment of the World Commission on Dams (see the special issue of Water Alternatives, Vol 3[2]), became increasingly common. Second, calls for decentralization of decision-making and participation of local users in the management of natural resources entered mainstream development and environment discourses. Small-scale dams and associated irrigation were seen as an alternative to large infrastructure.  They were less costly and more rapidly implemented, and could be distributed widely, potentially benefiting large numbers of people.  They epitomized the belief that "small is beautiful": high in demand among local communities and cast as a priority by national governments, they attracted funding from international development agencies.

This does not mean that there is a consensus on the need for, and sustainability of, small scale dams and irrigation. Far from converging towards common ground, knowledge claims are varied and contradictory, while actors in policy level debates  seem little concerned to explain current controversies. On the one hand, small dams are said to limit rural out-migration and related challenges (uncontrolled urbanization, spread of HIV/AIDS, etc.), enhance local incomes, contribute to food security, and mitigate the impacts of climate change. On the other hand, they are seen as under-performing and contributing to environmental deterioration - in terms of erosion, pollution, and decreasing water quality, adverse health impacts and increasing inequalities notably around large urban centers. Small scale dams for irrigation would then share many commonalities with large scale projects. Nevertheless, they continue to gain purchase among local communities, national government, and development agencies, notably in sub-Saharan Africa.

This special issue of Water Alternatives aims at understanding why. In 1994, the Land Use Policy journal published a special issue that helped frame the understanding of small scale irrigation in developing nations. More than 15 years later, it is time to examine new insights on small scale irrigation in the rural South. The focus of this special issue is on small scale dams for multiple uses -including irrigation- that assume or involve some kind of communal management by a group of individuals or a local organization (namely small reservoirs and micro-dams in sub-Saharan and North  Africa, tanks in South Asia, açudes in Northeast Brazil, etc); rather than on individual/privately-led initiatives.

We invite papers bringing insights from different regions of the world, and notably sub-Saharan and North Africa, South Asia, and Latin America on the following topics:

  • Dynamics and challenges of knowledge production on small multipurpose dams;
  • Global discourses and politics of small reservoirs development and management (roles and interactions between international agencies, national government and local communities);
  • Linkages between small irrigation dams and broader policy trends (decentralization, IWRM);
  • Small dams and land dynamics (incl. land planning and multiple tenure systems);
  • Local politics and institutional arrangements for the management of small dam-based irrigation projects (including the determinants and challenges of collective action for water management and the impacts of private initiative on communally managed irrigation);
  • Poverty and equity (incl. gender) dimensions of small reservoirs;
  • Multiple dimensions and uses of small dam based irrigation projects;
  • Economics of small reservoirs and socio-political limitations of economic-based assessment;

Timeline

  • Abstract (300 words) by November 15, 2010;
  • Decision to authors by November 30, 2010;
  • Full papers by February 28, 2011;
  • Peer reviewed comments by April 30, 2011;
  • Final version of paper by July 25, 2011 for publication on Oct 1st 2011

CALL FOR PAPERS

Special Issue on

Policies, politics and realities of small irrigation dams in the rural South

Guest Editors: Jean-Philippe Venot, Hammou Laamrani, Jyothi Krishnan

Interest and investments in small scale irrigation in general, and in small dams in particular, have been cyclical and motivated by fluctuating priorities, discourses and changes in the broader polity. The early 1990s for example witnessed a boom in development investment and academic interest in small-scale irrigation, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Two phenomena may explain this interest. First, controversies around large-scale multi-purpose dams, which led to the establishment of the World Commission on Dams (see the special issue of Water Alternatives, Vol 3[2]), became increasingly common. Second, calls for decentralization of decision-making and participation of local users in the management of natural resources entered mainstream development and environment discourses. Small-scale dams and associated irrigation were seen as an alternative to large infrastructure.  They were less costly and more rapidly implemented, and could be distributed widely, potentially benefiting large numbers of people.  They epitomized the belief that "small is beautiful": high in demand among local communities and cast as a priority by national governments, they attracted funding from international development agencies.

This does not mean that there is a consensus on the need for, and sustainability of, small scale dams and irrigation. Far from converging towards common ground, knowledge claims are varied and contradictory, while actors in policy level debates  seem little concerned to explain current controversies. On the one hand, small dams are said to limit rural out-migration and related challenges (uncontrolled urbanization, spread of HIV/AIDS, etc.), enhance local incomes, contribute to food security, and mitigate the impacts of climate change. On the other hand, they are seen as under-performing and contributing to environmental deterioration - in terms of erosion, pollution, and decreasing water quality, adverse health impacts and increasing inequalities notably around large urban centers. Small scale dams for irrigation would then share many commonalities with large scale projects. Nevertheless, they continue to gain purchase among local communities, national government, and development agencies, notably in sub-Saharan Africa.

This special issue of Water Alternatives aims at understanding why. In 1994, the Land Use Policy journal published a special issue that helped frame the understanding of small scale irrigation in developing nations. More than 15 years later, it is time to examine new insights on small scale irrigation in the rural South. The focus of this special issue is on small scale dams for multiple uses -including irrigation- that assume or involve some kind of communal management by a group of individuals or a local organization (namely small reservoirs and micro-dams in sub-Saharan and North  Africa, tanks in South Asia, açudes in Northeast Brazil, etc); rather than on individual/privately-led initiatives.

We invite papers bringing insights from different regions of the world, and notably sub-Saharan and North Africa, South Asia, and Latin America on the following topics:

  • Dynamics and challenges of knowledge production on small multipurpose dams;
  • Global discourses and politics of small reservoirs development and management (roles and interactions between international agencies, national government and local communities);
  • Linkages between small irrigation dams and broader policy trends (decentralization, IWRM);
  • Small dams and land dynamics (incl. land planning and multiple tenure systems);
  • Local politics and institutional arrangements for the management of small dam-based irrigation projects (including the determinants and challenges of collective action for water management and the impacts of private initiative on communally managed irrigation);
  • Poverty and equity (incl. gender) dimensions of small reservoirs;
  • Multiple dimensions and uses of small dam based irrigation projects;
  • Economics of small reservoirs and socio-political limitations of economic-based assessment;

Timeline

  • Abstract (300 words) by November 15, 2010;
  • Decision to authors by November 30, 2010;
  • Full papers by February 28, 2011;
  • Peer reviewed comments by April 30, 2011;
  • Final version of paper by July 25, 2011 for publication on Oct 1st 2011

Contact the guest-editors

Jean-Philippe Venot: j.venot@cgiar.org
Hammou Laamrani: hlaamrani@idrc.org.eg
Jyothi Krishnan: jyothikr07@gmail.com

or send your abstract to: managing_editor@water-alternatives.org

Call for papers

Special issue: WCD+10: Revisiting the Large Dam Controversy

Large dams - over 15 m tall or with a capacity over 3 million m3- total roughly 50,000 worldwide, not considering millions of smaller dams and reservoirs. Few rivers remain that have been untouched by some type of dam. As stated by the World Commission on Dams (WCD) nearly ten years ago, “Dams have made an important and significant contribution to human development, and the benefits derived from them have been considerable. In too many cases an unacceptable and often unnecessary price has been paid to secure those benefits, especially in social and environmental terms, by peoplePak Mun2.jpg displaced, by communities downstream, by taxpayers and by the natural environment.” The WCD – an independent, international commission comprised of leaders from all sides of the debate surrounding big dams – issued its report in 2000 with findings about the development effectiveness of large dams globally and proposed guidelines for improving dam performance and governance, including -among others- principles of participation, equity, transparency and comprehensive option assessment. Ten years later, this special issue of Water Alternatives will look at the influence and the impact of the WCD on dam construction and the practice of various main actors: financiers, construction companies, bureaucracies, developers or the civil society.
Despite the WCD process, the legacies and controversies of large dams remain: the conflict between providing hydropower, water supply, flood control, irrigation and other benefits to some while devastating the basic rights and livelihoods of others, and damaging shared rivers and ecosystems. Dams may control floods and regulate irregular water regimes, generate hydropower, provide storage for domestic, industrial or agricultural use, or allow the development of recreation. But these benefits are not well distributed socially, often favouring urban dwellers, industries and certain types of farmers disproportionally; and they come with large social and environmental costs that have long been overlooked. Displaced populations, totalling at least 60 million, have frequently been resettled with minimal or no compensation, often in marginal lands, and in the overwhelming majority have become and remained poorer. Large scale alteration of natural hydrologic regimes has had massive impacts on fisheries, water-based livelihoods, aquatic ecosystems and environmental services as a whole. Some scientists also believe that many dams generate large amounts of greenhouse gas, up to 5% of all human-induced GHG emissions. Civic movements emerged in the 1990s to protest the impacts of large scale dam projects and demand consultation and compensation. These movements and a number of national and international NGOs stalled a number of projects and prompted global efforts at improving dam project decision-making processes. Prominent among these efforts was the World Commission on Dams (WCD).Sardar SAROVAR.jpg

What has happened in the decade since the WCD report was published? While social and environmental costs and risks are better understood and dam construction has significantly slowed down in the past decade, several changes have recently emerged. Energy demand and the price of fossil fuel have prompted a renewed interest in hydropower; traditional development banks and developers have been increasingly challenged by competitors from emergent countries; while opponents have also become more sophisticated in their modes of action. An upsurge of dam projects has been witnessed during the past five years (but the recent global economic meltdown might temporarily reverse this trend). Does the governance of these projects show substantial progress compared with earlier decades? Has the performance of dams improved? Has the WCD instilled a new ethics and greater consideration of social and environmental impacts? What are the prospects for advancing in a debate that remains very polarized?

This special issue, targeted for the June 2010 issue of Water Alternatives, will include a number of articles, some written by authors chosen by the editors, others selected among proposals to a call for papers. The overarching questions we would like to explore in this issue are: What has changed in the dams and development arena in the last decade, and is the WCD still relevant?

While the call for papers is open the following issues are suggested:

Generic issues

  • Ten years later: what has the WCD changed?
  • The WCD process and outcomes
  • Follow up to the WCD and civil society-initiated national dialogues
  • Trends in dam building worldwide: justifications, actors, governance, contestations
  • Dams, resettlements and social risks
  • Dams and the environment
  • Dams and the special case of indigenous peoples
  • Codes of conducts: financiers and developers
  • Dams and development banks evolving policies
  • Dams and climate change
  • Dams, civil society, advocacy, democratization
  • Experience with non-dam alternatives for water supply and management
  • The performance of existing dams: has management been improved?
  • The EU's Linking Directive and the WCD framework

Case studies

  • Regional case studies (e.g. Mekong, Nile, etc)
  • Dam case studies
  • Looking back at early dams (e.g. Assuan, Akosombo, Itaipu, etc)

Guest editors

Deborah Moore (Former WCD commissioner), John Dore (AusAid)

Important dates

  • Call for papers (detailed abstracts): May 2009
  • End of call: 30 June 2009
  • Final selection of abstracts: 30 July 2009
  • Submission of final papers: 15 November 2009
  • Review Process: until 15 February 2010
  • Final selection and revisions: until 31 March 2010
  • Editing/copyediting/formatting and publishing : 1 June 2010

 

Send your abstract to Water Alternatives

     

Special issue: WCD+10: Revisiting the Large Dam Controversy

With the collaboration and financial support of UNEP

 

Guest editors

Deborah Moore (Former WCD commissioner), John Dore (AusAid), Dipak Gyawali (Nepal Water Conservation Foundation)

Large dams - over 15 m tall or with a capacity over 3 million m3- total roughly 50,000 worldwide, not considering millions of smaller dams and reservoirs. Few rivers remain that have been untouched by some type of dam. As stated by the World Commission on Dams (WCD) ten years ago, “Dams have made an important and significant contribution to human development, and the benefits derived from them have been considerable. In too many cases an unacceptable and often unnecessary price has been paid to secure those benefits, especially in social and environmental terms, by peoplePak Mun2.jpg displaced, by communities downstream, by taxpayers and by the natural environment.” The WCD – an independent, international commission comprised of leaders from all sides of the debate surrounding big dams – issued its report in 2000 with findings about the development effectiveness of large dams globally and proposed guidelines for improving dam performance and governance, including -among others- principles of participation, equity, transparency and comprehensive option assessment. Ten years later, this special issue of Water Alternatives will look at the influence and the impact of the WCD on dam construction and the practice of various main actors: financiers, construction companies, bureaucracies, developers or the civil society.
Despite the WCD process, the legacies and controversies of large dams remain: the conflict between providing hydropower, water supply, flood control, irrigation and other benefits to some while devastating the basic rights and livelihoods of others, and damaging shared rivers and ecosystems. Dams may control floods and regulate irregular water regimes, generate hydropower, provide storage for domestic, industrial or agricultural use, or allow the development of recreation. But these benefits are not well distributed socially, often favouring urban dwellers, industries and certain types of farmers disproportionally; and they come with large social and environmental costs that have long been overlooked. Displaced populations, totalling at least 60 million, have frequently been resettled with minimal or no compensation, often in marginal lands, and in the overwhelming majority have become and remained poorer. Large scale alteration of natural hydrologic regimes has had massive impacts on fisheries, water-based livelihoods, aquatic ecosystems and environmental services as a whole. Some scientists also believe that many dams generate large amounts of greenhouse gas, up to 5% of all human-induced GHG emissions. Civic movements emerged in the 1990s to protest the impacts of large scale dam projects and demand consultation and compensation. These movements and a number of national and international NGOs stalled a number of projects and prompted global efforts at improving dam project decision-making processes. Prominent among these efforts was the World Commission on Dams (WCD).

What has happened in the decade since the WCD report was published? While social and environmental costs and risks Sardar SAROVAR.jpgare better understood and dam construction has significantly slowed down in the past decade, several changes have recently emerged. Energy demand and the price of fossil fuel have prompted a renewed interest in hydropower; traditional development banks and developers have been increasingly challenged by competitors from emergent countries; while opponents have also become more sophisticated in their modes of action. An upsurge of dam projects has been witnessed during the past five years (but the recent global economic meltdown might temporarily reverse this trend). Does the governance of these projects show substantial progress compared with earlier decades? Has the performance of dams improved? Has the WCD instilled a new ethics and greater consideration of social and environmental impacts? What are the prospects for advancing in a debate that remains very polarized?

This special issue, targeted for the June 2010 issue of Water Alternatives, will include a number of articles, some written by authors chosen by the editors, others selected among proposals to a call for papers. The overarching questions we would like to explore in this issue are: What has changed in the dams and development arena in the last decade, and is the WCD still relevant?

While the call for papers is open to all relevant topics the following issues are suggested:

Generic issues

  • Ten years later: what has the WCD changed?
  • The WCD process and outcomes
  • Follow up to the WCD and civil society-initiated national dialogues
  • Trends in dam building worldwide: justifications, actors, governance, contestations
  • Dams, resettlements and social risks
  • Dams and the environment
  • Dams and the special case of indigenous peoples
  • Codes of conducts: financiers and developers
  • Dams and development banks evolving policies
  • Dams and climate change
  • Dams, civil society, advocacy, democratization
  • Experience with non-dam alternatives for water supply and management
  • The performance of existing dams: has management been improved?
  • The EU's Linking Directive and the WCD framework

Case studies

  • Regional case studies (e.g. Mekong, Nile, etc)
  • Comprehensive dam case studies
  • Looking back at early dams (e.g. Assuan, Akosombo, Itaipu, etc)

Important dates

  • Call for papers (detailed abstracts): May 2009
  • End of call: 15 July 2009
  • Final selection of abstracts: 30 July 2009
  • Submission of final papers: 15 November 2009
  • Review Process: until 15 February 2010
  • Final selection and revisions: until 31 March 2010
  • Editing/copyediting/formatting and publishing : 1 June 2010
Abstracts should preferably include between 250 and 500 words

 

Call for papers closed

     


Special issue: Hydraulic Bureaucracies: Flows of Water and Power

GCtop-valves_cr.jpgSince the 19th century large-scale water resource development has led to the extensive development of irrigation areas, supply of water to ever expanding megacities, and the construction of massive infrastructures for hydropower and flood control. But it has also been associated with an ideology of domination of nature by steel and concrete. In many countries this 'hydraulic mission' has been carried out by –and has also given rise to- powerful water bureaucracies that, often up to these days, have acquired and sustained enormous power. This power was bureaucratic, through the command of large budgets and the control of decision-making on what to build and where, but also expanded socially (i.e. the prestige attached to the engineering profession), politically (through close relationships between both local and national politicians and state bureaucrats), and economically (due to their proximity with construction companies and consulting firms, either national or foreign). Relatively little scholarly work has investigated the role of these state water bureaucracies in the development of water resources, environmental transformations and state-citizen relationships, although exceptions include institutions like the Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps of Engineers, in the US. Many other countries like France, Spain, Netherlands, UK, Australia, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, etc. have seen the emergence of powerful water bureaucracies. This special issue will include case studies from various countries that will emphasize the inner historical transformations and the role of these water bureaucracies in the transformation of landscapes, as well as in the formation of the state and wider social relationships.

Potential contributors interested in this topic can send an abstract to WaA before the 1st of March 2009. After selection of articles authors will be requested to send their articles before the 30th of May. Papers will be reviewed and published as a special issue in the WaA issue of October 1.

 

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