Folder Issue1

February 2010

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A critical review of public-public partnerships in water services

Gemma Boag
School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, UK gemmaboag@gmail.com
David A. McDonald
Global Development Studies, Queen'€™s University, Kingston, Canada dm23@queensu.ca

ABSTRACT: There is a profusion of literature on the commercialisation of water services around the world, but relatively little of this research speaks of alternatives to privatisation. The literature that does exist tends to be scattered in its regional and thematic orientation and inconsistent in its analytical frameworks. The writing on public-public partnerships (PUPs) is arguably the best known and most rigorous of this literature, but even this is relatively thin, with a tendency to uncritically celebrate PUP initiatives and to gloss over ambiguous conceptual frameworks. This paper provides a critical review of the PUPs literature, in part to reveal some of these problematic trends, but ultimately in an effort to advance our understanding and practice of public alternatives in the water sector (and beyond). Specifically, it analyses the different partnership arrangements available, discusses the advantages and critiques of the PUP model in both theoretical and practical terms, and considers the recent emergence of Water Operator Partnerships (WOPs).

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Opponents and supporters of water policy change in the Netherlands and Hungary

Saskia E. Werners
Wageningen University and Research Centre, the Netherlands; saskia.werners@wur.nl
Jeroen Warner
Wageningen University and Research Centre; Twente University, the Netherlands; jeroen.warner@wur.nl
Dik Roth
Wageningen University and Research Centre, the Netherlands; dik.roth@wur.nl

ABSTRACT: This paper looks at the role of individuals and the strategies that they use to bring about or oppose major policy change. Current analysis of the role that individuals or small collectives play in periods of major policy change has focussed on strategies that reinforce change and on the supporters of change. This paper adds the perspective of opponents, and asks whether they use similar strategies as those identified for supporters. Five strategies are explored: developing new ideas, building coalitions to sell ideas, using windows of opportunity, playing multiple venues and orchestrating networks. Using empirical evidence from Dutch and Hungarian water policy change, we discuss whether individuals pursued these strategies to support or oppose major policy change. Our analysis showed the significance of recognition of a new policy concept at an abstract level by responsible government actors, as well as their engagement with a credible regional coalition that can contextualise and advocate the concept regionally. The strategies of supporters were also used by opponents of water policy change. Opposition was inherent to policy change, and whether or not government actors sought to engage with opponents influenced the realisation of water policy change.


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Learning to voice? The evolving roles of family farmers in the coordination of large-scale irrigation schemes in Morocco

Nicolas Faysse
CIRAD, G-EAU Research Unit, France; Ecole Nationale d'€™Agriculture de Meknes, Meknes, Morocco; faysse@cirad.fr
Mostafa Errahj
Ecole Nationale d'€™Agriculture de Meknes, Meknes, Morocco; merrahj@yahoo.fr
Marcel Kuper
CIRAD, G-EAU Research Unit, France; Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II, Rabat, Morocco; kuper@cirad.fr
Mohamed Mahdi
Ecole Nationale d'€™Agriculture de Meknes, Meknes, Morocco; aitmahdi@gmail.com

ABSTRACT: In Morocco, large-scale irrigation schemes have evolved over the past twenty years from the centralised management of irrigation and agricultural production into more complex multi-actor systems. This study analysed whether, and how, in the context of state withdrawal, increased farmer autonomy and political liberalisation, family farmers currently participate in the coordination and negotiation of issues that affect them and involve scheme-level organisations. Issues related to water management, the sugar industry and the dairy sector were analysed in five large-scale irrigation schemes. Farmer organisations that were set up to intervene in water management and sugar production were seen to be either inactive or to have weak links with their constituency; hence, the irrigation administration and the sugar industry continue to interact directly with farmers in a centralised way. Given their inability to voice their interests, when farmers have the opportunity, many choose exit strategies, for instance by resorting to the use of groundwater. In contrast, many community-based milk collection cooperatives were seen to function as accountable intermediaries between smallholders and dairy firms. While, as in the past, family farmers are still generally not involved in decision making at scheme level, in the milk collection cooperatives studied, farmers learn to coordinate and negotiate for the development of their communities.


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Finding practical approaches to Integrated Water Resources Management

John Butterworth
IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, the Hague, the Netherlands; butterworth@irc.nl
Jeroen Warner
CSTM Centre for Clean Technology and Environmental Policy, Twente University; and Disaster Studies Group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands; jeroenwarner@gmail.com
Patrick Moriarty
IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, the Hague, the Netherlands; moriarty@irc.nl
Stef Smits
IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, the Hague, the Netherlands; smits@irc.nl
Charles Batchelor
IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, the Hague, the Netherlands; wrmltd@aol.com

ABSTRACT: Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) has often been interpreted and implemented in a way that is only really suited to countries with the most developed water infrastructures and management capacities. While sympathetic to many of the criticisms levelled at the IWRM concept and recognising the often disappointing levels of adoption, this paper and the series of papers it introduces identify some alternative ways forward in a developmental context that place more emphasis on the practical in-finding solutions to water scarcity. A range of lighter, more pragmatic and context-adapted approaches, strategies and entry points are illustrated with examples from projects and initiatives in mainly 'developing' countries. The authors argue that a more service-orientated (WASH, irrigation and ecosystem services), locally rooted and balanced approach to IWRM that better matches contexts and capacities should build on such strategies, in addition to the necessary but long-term policy reforms and river basin institution-building at higher levels. Examples in this set of papers not only show that the 'lighter', more opportunistic and incremental approach has potential as well as limitations but also await wider piloting and adoption.


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The cathedral and the bazaar: Monocentric and polycentric river basin management

Bruce Lankford
School of International Development, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK; b.lankford@uea.ac.uk
Nick Hepworth
LTS International, Penicuik, UK; nick-hepworth@ltsi.co.uk

ABSTRACT: Two contemporary theories of river basin management are compared. One is centralised 'regulatory river basin management' with an apex authority that seeks hydrometric data and nationally agreed standards and procedures in decisions over water quality and allocation. This model is commonplace and can be identified in many water training curricula and derivatives of basin management policy. The other, 'polycentric river basin management', is institutionally, organisationally and geographically more decentralised, emphasising local, collective ownership and reference to locally agreed standards. The polycentric model is constructed from the creation of appropriate managerial subunits within river basins. This model emphasises the deployment of hydrologists, scientists and other service providers as mediating agents of environmental and institutional transformation, tackling issues arising within and between the basin subunits such as water allocation and distribution, productivity improvement and conflict resolution. Significantly, it considers water allocation between subunits rather than between sectors and to do this promulgates an experimental, step-wise pragmatic approach, building on local ideas to make tangible progress in basins where data monitoring is limited, basin office resources are constrained and regulatory planning has stalled. To explore these issues, the paper employs the 'Cathedral and Bazaar' metaphor of Eric Raymond. The discussion is informed by observations from Tanzania, Nigeria and the UK.

KEYWORDS: Adaptive management, IWRM, regulatory water management, river basin management, sub-Saharan Africa


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Multiple-use services as an alternative to rural water supply services: A characterisation of the approach

Stef Smits
IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, the Hague, the Netherlands; smits@irc.nl
Barbara van Koppen
International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Pretoria, South Africa; b.vankoppen@cgiar.org
Patrick Moriarty
IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, the Hague, the Netherlands; moriarty@irc.nl
John Butterworth
IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, the Hague, the Netherlands; butterworth@irc.nl

ABSTRACT: Multiple-use services (MUS) have recently gained increased attention as an alternative form of providing rural water services in an integrated manner. This stems from the growing recognition that users anyway tend to use water systems for multiple purposes. This paper aims to characterise this practice on the basis of case evidence collected in eight countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The cases show that people almost universally use water for both domestic and productive activities at and around the homestead. Although seldom the main source of people'€™s income or food production, these activities are of considerable importance for people'€™s livelihoods. The extent to which people use water for multiple purposes is closely related to the level of access to water expressed in the form of a water ladder in this paper. The case studies presented demonstrate how access is created by different types and combinations of well-known technologies. Additional financial and management measures are required to ensure sustainability of services. Despite the practical feasibility of the MUS approach, it is not yet widely applied by service providers and sector agencies due to observed barriers in institutional uptake. A better characterisation of MUS, alongside a learning-driven stakeholder process was able to overcome some of these barriers and improve the consideration of multiple uses of water in policy and practice.

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Developing a practical approach to 'light IWRM' in the Middle East

Patrick Moriarty
IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, the Hague, the Netherlands; moriarty@irc.nl
Charles Batchelor
IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, the Hague, the Netherlands; wrmltd@aol.com
Peter Laban
International Union for Conservation of Nature -€“ ROWA; peter.laban@iucn.org
Hazem Fahmy
CARE Egypt; hfahmy@egypt.care.org

ABSTRACT: This paper outlines the development of an approach (and a set of tools) for 'light' integrated water resources management (IWRM): that is, IWRM that is opportunistic, adaptive and incremental in nature and clearly focused on sustainable service delivery. The approach was developed as part of the EC funded EMPOWERS project in three middle-eastern countries: Egypt, Jordan and Palestine. Developed specifically for use at the intermediate and local levels (that is, sub-national and sub-basin) it is based on a facilitated process of stakeholder dialogue for concerted action supported by a strategic planning framework. The paper describes and discusses the justification for the approach, and sets out its main elements as well as experiences gained during its application. The main lesson of the EMPOWERS project is the seemingly simple -€“ in fact, rather complex and time-consuming -€“ work on facilitating dialogue, taking a structured approach to examining problems, collecting and sharing context-specific information, and helping to formulate a shared vision and strategies to achieve it all of which contribute to improved decision making. However, a major limitation to effective action is lack of appropriately decentralised finance, with local authorities reliant on financing from the national level that is often earmarked and over which they had very little control.

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The fine art of boundary spanning: Making space for water in the east Netherlands

Jeroen Warner
CSTM Centre for Clean Technology and Environmental Policy, Twente University; and Disaster Studies Group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands; jeroenwarner@gmail.com
Kris Lulofs
CSTM Centre for Clean Technology and Environmental Policy, Twente University, the Netherlands; k.r.d.lulofs@utwente.nl
Hans Bressers
CSTM Centre for Clean Technology and Environmental Policy, Twente University, the Netherlands; j.t.a.bressers@utwente.nl

ABSTRACT: The desire to comply with the European Water Framework Directive, which seeks to promote Integrated Water Management, has led to a large number of proposed projects that in turn make huge demands on the financial and administrative capacity of water managers, who need to combine multiple fields of interest and participation such as agricultural interests, regional economic development, natural values, water safety and water quality issues to complete each project. To achieve these goals, water managers will often need to negotiate and strike alliances with actors in other policy areas such as spatial planning and local and regional economic development. The article first introduces 'boundary spanning' in a water management context. The concept builds on the concept of 'boundary work' as a strategy to arrive at organisational goals -€“ to reduce uncertainty and deal with complexity in the organisational environment. The contribution then discusses briefly two recent innovative regional water projects, both located in the East Netherlands: a retention basin project on the river Vecht and the planning of a new channel, the Breakthrough. It further analyses strategies pursued by 'boundary spanners' and integrates the analysis with that of a focus group workshop and interviews held with Dutch boundary spanners working for Dutch regional Water Management Boards. The cases show that it is preferable to apply boundary spanning strategies earlier rather than later, and that opponents are also aware of this option.

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Viewpoint -€“ Water variability, soil nutrient heterogeneity and market volatility -€“ Why sub-Saharan Africa'€™s Green Revolution will be location-specific and knowledge-intensive

Pieter van der Zaag
UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft; and Water Resources Section, Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands; p.vanderzaag@unesco-ihe.org

ABSTRACT: In his interesting Viewpoint article in Water Alternatives, Bruce Lankford suggests that an African Green Revolution cannot come about without irrigation. But he does not convincingly explain why irrigated areas expand only very slowly. This viewpoint article argues that grain yields have remained stagnant in Africa because of high temporal rainfall variability, significant spatial soil nutrient heterogeneity, and weak and volatile markets. This combination calls for location-specific interventions that are aimed at enhancing farmers'€™ capacity to buffer water variations and address nutrient deficits. This finding is consistent with what Lankford dismisses as an "atomised" approach, but which would preferably be called a farmer-centred approach. Thus a massive investment in African agriculture is indeed required, primarily focused on the creation of knowledge that does justice to the local variation in water and nutrient availability. It should aim to empower farmers to experiment and be innovative, and remake agricultural extension and agricultural engineering exciting with cutting-edge disciplines. Irrigation may then emerge as the right thing to do.

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WaA2009 BR41.pdf

Troubled waters -€“ Palestinians denied access to water (Amnesty International, 2009).
Jason Brozek

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WaA2009 BR6.pdf

Interlinking of rivers in India: Issues and concerns (M. Monirul Q. Mirza; Ahsan Uddin Ahmed; Q.K. Ahmad, 2008).
François Molle