Focus and Scope

Water Alternatives is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary electronic journal addressing global politics and development related to water. Manuscript submission, peer review and publication are all online and there is no parallel print process. WaA welcomes contributions that address any dimension of water resources development, governance, policy, management and use, in relation with society or the environment. We do not publish technical or descriptive papers: click here for more on subject coverage.

WaA publishes articles that may be empirical or theoretical in scope but are written in a style that is accessible to practitioners, decision makers and students.

The Response option allows readers to interact and further the debates and questions raised by a particular article. Responses are published in subsequent issues and linked to the relevant article.

We encourage readers to submit proposals for special ‘themed’ issues. A set of papers, for example, could be submitted from a common session in a conference or from a research project, or authors could send in manuscripts in response to a Water Alternatives call for themed papers. Papers must include a substantial introductory and/or summary manuscript.

Special Issue editors must collect and submit a minimum of five high-quality papers (in addition to the introductory article) which will go through the normal review process. The editors-in-chief retain the option (in coordination with guest editors) to reject a particular manuscript. If you are interested in submitting a proposal for a Special Issue, please contact the Water Alternatives managing editor for more details:

Peer-Review Process

The editors take about one month to make an initial appraisal of each manuscript. If the topic and treatment are deemed appropriate for the journal, the manuscript is sent to three referees who are selected for their knowledge of both the subject matter and the region under discussion in the paper. Once the review process has been completed, the manuscript is either accepted, referred back to the author for revisions, or rejected. The final decision is made by the editors-in-chief. This procedure is designed to ensure that papers accepted for publication are of the highest scientific quality and reflect the wide interests of an international readership.

Water Alternatives has a ‘double blind’ review process: authors’ names are not revealed to reviewers nor reviewers’ names to authors (though a particular reviewer may wish to communicate their identity to an author or authors). An author can expect a decision on their manuscript within four to eight months of submission. Although the peer review process is accelerated by the use of electronic communication, conventional high quality peer review standards are applied to all manuscripts, and delays in obtaining reviews may thus prolong the process.

Manuscripts are sent out for review electronically and all correspondence takes place via email.

Publication Frequency

WaA publishes a new issue three times per year (including Special Issues). New issues come out in the first week of February, June and October.

Once the article is accepted in its final form and copy-edited, it is made accessible on the website under ‘Issue in Progress’ and then formally published in the subsequent issue. Following formal publication of the new issue, all persons registered as members of the Water Alternatives Network will receive an email alert with a detailed table of contents.

Open Access and Fee Policy

Water Alternatives provides open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. Such access is associated with increased readership and increased citation of an author's work. Rates of downloading from an open access ejournal like Water Alternatives are much higher than those of paid-for journals.

We do not charge publication fees. However, contributors are kindly encouraged to financially support this journal and critical water studies. Authors who have access to funds (e.g. through research projects or institutional  publication allowances) can be billed a standard Article Processing Fee (APF) of €350 that includes professional final copy-editing. This optional financial support is critical for keeping our journal accessible to all.


OpCreativeCommons.jpgen access: Water Alternatives is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits any non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided the original author(s) and source are credited  

As a result:

i) the copyright of the article remains with its author(s),
ii) authors can reuse parts of their work (for example, figures) without restriction, provided mention is made of the first publication in Water Alternatives,
iii) they can also have their full paper republished as a book chapter or in another language as long as the first publication in Water Alternatives is duly mentioned.

Text Formatting Guidelines


Articles, opinions and book reviews should be written in (British) English. Authors with English as a second language may choose to have their manuscripts professionally edited before submission to improve the English, as papers with poor expression will not be accepted.

To reduce the costs of formatting and copyediting it is very important that authors carefully read and follow these guidelines. Manuscripts with inconsistent use of standard, in particular in reference lists, will be returned to the authors. Use    document this MSword template (211 KB) document (218 KB) to start your article. It contains all the standard formats and styles of the journal. Papers submitted in MSWord but without using the template format will not be accepted. For formatting the reference list, please follow the styles defined below; or use WaA EndNote profile  archive EndNote Style (2 KB) . (For more information on how to instal EndNote styles, click here). Contributors using Zotero, Mendeley, Papers, Paperpille, ReadCube or Colwiz can use this csl file (courtesy of L. Ansorge). In particular cases where contributors use another word-processor the template should be imported and the final text saved in RTF format. In other cases, please contact the Managing Editor.

  document < Download WaA's template > (211 KB)

Authors' contacts: The first page of the submission must include title of submission, detailed contact data and affiliation of coauthors, and acknowledgements. This page is not communicated to reviewers.

Style: To create your article use the template provided above.

Abstract: Start your article with an abstract of, preferably, 200 words (or less). Book Reviews do not require abstracts.

Acknowledgements: Acknowledgements must appear on the cover page, after authors' contacts (they will not be communicated to reviewers).

Keywords: Provide around 5 keywords, including one geographic keyword (if relevant).

Body text: The body text should be formatted by using the Normal style of the list. The space between paragraphs is already included in the style (12pt). The font defined is Verdana 10.

Length: There is no fixed length for articles but the number of words should preferably be kept between 6,000 and 10,000 (excluding references). Viewpoints can be down to 5000 words in length.

Formatting of the text ( document import as pdf (218 KB) )

No full points within acronyms (e.g. UK or USA not U.S.A.; Washington, DC; "around 1500 BC"), no full point after contractions: Exceptions include: Dr., Mr., Mrs., Ms., et al., i.e., e.g., Ltd., Inc., Jr. (not Jnr.), Co., No. (for number). Note: i.e. and e.g. are not followed by a coma.
In the 1960s, mid-1970s, 18 January 1967, on the 18th, on 18 January, ‘from 1997 to 2002’ not ‘in the last 5 years’, 1967-1969 (not 1967-69), 1991/2 and 1989/90 (for financial year, growing season, etc.), 19th century.

Geographic features. Use: Nile River Basin, Van Vieng Province, Chitradurga District, Jordan Valley, Mediterranean Sea, Hoover Dam, Lake Victoria, Middle East, West Africa, sub-Saharan Africa.
Cold War, World War II, the French Revolution, the Middle Ages, the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization, but "the state".

Capitalize titles, positions, divisions, departments, and offices in a government or an institution, when they are specific (Examples: the Government of Sri Lanka, the Director General, the Ministry of Agriculture) but use lower case for general use (Example: an irrigation engineer).

Use a comma before "and" or "or" in a series of three or more words or phrases, especially when the penultimate phrase has "and" or "or" in it (Example: seeds, fertilizer and pesticides, and machinery).

A spaced en dash (the character – with one space on each side) – rather than an em dash – is used to introduce parenthetical material or a positive phrase where commas might result in confusion (Example: The agent's promises – reallocation of land, equitable water distribution, and lower fees – never materialized).

Write the day, month, and year in this form: 24 December 1947, or 2 February 1951, with no commas in between. Do not use "st," "nd," and "th" after figures in dates to indicate ordinals (January 23, not January 23rd). Use slash marks for numerical dates in tables with day listed first, month second, and year last (Example: 24/12/93 for 24 December 1993).

Figures should be inserted in the Word text. Right click on the picture and use option "in line with text". Center them or, better, use the 'Figure' style of the style sheet. Please ensure that all text in your figures is legible, even after a 50% reduction in size. Arial font should be used preferably. Solid black bars in bar graphs tend to overwhelm other parts of the graph; use colored, shaded, or hatched bars in preference to black ones. Color figures are accepted, but authors should make sure that figures are also legible when viewed or printed in black and white.

If the figures imported into the text are too large, use the <compress> option: right-click on a figure, choose format figure/compress button/and select options: Apply to all pictures in document + change resolution: print. In the text refer to the figure as follows: "... as shown in Figure 3 and Table 4 (see also Table 6).

Use automatic MSWord footnotes (on menu bar, go to Insert and then highlight endnote on dropdown menu), numbered sequentially throughout the text. When associated to a word that ends a sentence, the footnote number must be inserted after the period, as in: (…) was reported by various observers.1

Foreign words
Foreign words such as warabandi, subak, mirab, junta, acequias, wadi, saquia, khettara, confederación, and names of local growing seasons (maha, yala, rabi, boro, etc.) and other foreign words used frequently in the text should be italicized and defined at first use, and may not be italicized subsequently.
Common Latin words or expressions such as: a priori, a fortiori, de jure, de facto, status quo, etc. should not be italicized.

Use the headings pre-defined in the template. When selecting the styles "heading 1", "heading 2", "heading 3" from the list, your titles will adopt the styles included in the template. Use no more than three levels of headings.
Only the first word is capitalized.

The rules governing the use of hyphens are not stable. In general, use hyphens as little as possible. Most words formed with the following prefixes are not hyphenated: anti-, ante-, inter-, macro-, meta-, micro-, mid-, mini-, multi-, over-, post-, re-, semi-, sub-, super-, supra-, trans-, ultra-, un-, under-. Examples: microanalysis, overexploited, multilevel, nonagricultural, underpricing, cooperation, comanagement, etc. But: pre-eminence, counter-hegemonic, pre-existing, non-existent, in-depth, etc. In case of uncertainty refer to
Words with the prefixes listed above should be hyphenated if the prefix is combined with a proper noun (Example: non-Indian), with more than one word (Example: pre-World War II).
Compound adjectives (adj+noun, noun+adj, noun+noun, noun+verb -ing) are hyphenated (small-scale system, low-income groups, price-based incentives, site-specific mixes, state-level agencies, cost-recovery, etc); but worldwide. "The decision-making process was transparent", but "Decision making can be a difficult process".
If two hyphenated compound adjectives modify the same noun, the second component of the adjective need not be written twice, but the first component retains the hyphen, followed by a space (Examples: low- and high-income groups, small- and large-scale farms).
If two prefixes that are not usually hyphenated are used with the same noun, the prefix standing alone carries the hyphen (Example: micro- and macroeconomics).
The combination of an adjective and an adverb ending in "ly" is not hyphenated (locally managed system, highly valued crop, mutually reinforcing).
Words with the prefixes listed above should be hyphenated if the prefix is combined with a proper noun (Example: non-Indian), with more than one word (Example: pre-World War II).
"Well" words are hyphenated when they precede their subjects (well-known varieties) unless they carry a modifier (very well known varieties). They are not hyphenated when they follow their subjects (This variety is well known among farmers).
"Self" words are also generally hyphenated (Examples: self-sufficient, self-contained; exceptions: selfish).
Hyphenate cardinal numbers with units of measurement when they precede a noun (Examples: four-year plan, seventy-hectare plot). However, percent is never preceded by a hyphen (Example: 14 percent increase).
Never use the automatic hyphenation option of wordprocessors

In text spell out numbers up to ten, but use numerals for 11 onwards and in all cases where the number is followed by a unit of time, length, area, volume, weight. Always use numerals when a unit is given (e.g. 7 ha). Use a comma as separator for a number with 5 digits or more (e.g. 12,500, but 7000).

Quotation marks (" ") must be used for direct quotations. Short quotations should be embedded in the text (unless there is some particular to empahsize it) but quotations of more than 45 words (4 lines and over) should be shown as separate indented paragraphs, without quotation marks (use the "long quote" predefined style). Single quotation marks (' ') are to be used for a quotation that occurs within another quotation, words defined by the author, and words used in unusual contexts.
Note that commas or periods ending the quote are not included within the quotation marks, as in: (…) must be subject to the test of "reasonable use".
In case the quote is followed by a reference, insert the reference before the full stop, as in: (…) and unfavourable research was ignored" (Banerjee et al., 2006).
When a part of the quote is not reported insert (…) where the quote is discontinued.

Before submitting the manuscript, check each citation in the text against the References to ensure that they match exactly. Delete citations from the list if they are not actually cited in the text of the article. All journal titles should be spelled out completely. In the titles of articles, capitalization of the common names of organisms and the spellings of all words should agree exactly with those used in the original publication. Provide the publisher's location and name (separated by a colon). When you cite symposia or conference proceedings, distinguish between the conference date and the publication date if both are given.

Checklist for references:

  • First and middle names are initialized; in case of multiple initials do not insert a space between them. Initials are followed by a period (full stop).
  • Only the first word of a title, or the first word after a colon, is capitalized.
  • In case of multiple authors, "and" must be added before the last author's name (note: there is no semicolon before the "and")
  • For journal articles, there is no comma after the journal name, no space between volume and issue numbers ("12(4)"), but there should be a space between the colon and the page range [12(4): 12-24].
  • Titles of books, published reports and published scientific journals must be italicized.
  • For published documents, the reference ends with the place of publication, followed by a colon, and then by the name of publisher.
  • (Ed), (Eds) with no full stop; "(Ed)." in titles, and "(Ed)," in book chapters.
  • MSc, PhD thesis, (no full stop, no capital letter for 'thesis')
  • (for documents accessed on the web): "(accessed [no capital letter] on 2 May 2000)" [no comma before, no full stop after; no 'http://' if URL starts with www]
  • For chapters in edited volume: give the page range after a coma following the book title. No colon after the 'In' (as in: 'In Molden, D. (Ed),…'). The book title must be italicized (no capital letters, except after colon).
  • Name of publisher to be spelled out
  • "GWP (Global Water Partnership). 2000" [not Global Water Partnership (GWP). 2000]
  • Check chronological order of multiple bibliographical references
  • Do not specify the total number of pages for books or reports
  • Specify page of reference, e.g. (Smith, 2000: 234), for quotes.

Citations in the text
According to Smith and Coward (1995) and Powel's (2003) declaration,… …as shown by recent research work (Mollinga, 1999; Sardoy and Hume, 2000; Svendsen et al., 2007) and surveys (Abott, 1998a 1998b, 2000)... Indicating page reference as in (Abott, 1980: 10) is required for sentences quoted. Personal communications should be cited as normal references (Harvey, 1999) and details given in the reference list. Use (Kibaroglu, n.d.) when the date of publication is unknown.
use 'Smith and Powell, 2012' for two authors, and Smith et al. (2012) for three authors or more.
When referring to a reference not on hand and cited in another document use normal entries, list the two reference in the bibliography and add " Cited in xxx" at the end, as in:
Rhodes, R. 1997. The new governance: Governing without government. Political Studies 44(4): 652-667. Cited in Bell and Quiggin (2008).
Use italics when referring to names of books, as in: In the Western hemisphere, deliberative democracy has been informed by Habermas’ Theory of Communicative Action.

References (in the reference list) (follow the styles defined below or use   archive EndNote Style (2 KB) )
Article in a print journal
Malano, H.M.; Bryant, M.J. and Turral, H.N. 1999. Management of water resources: Can Australian experience be transferred to Vietnam? Water International 24(4): 307-315.

Article in an online journal
Cumming, G.S.; Cumming, D.H.M. and Redman, C.L. 2006. Scale mismatches in social-ecological systems: Causes, consequences, and solutions. Ecology and Society 11(1): 14,
(note: if there is no page range, the number of pages is indicated)

Mollinga, P. and Bolding, A. (Eds). 2005. The politics of irrigation reform. Contested policy formulation and implementation in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.

Note: Use (Ed) and (Eds) for edited books and chapters of edited books.

Organization as author or government publications
IIMI (International Irrigation Management Institute). 1993. Advancements in IIMI's research 1992. Colombo, Sri Lanka: IIMI.
[in the text, refer to IIMI (1993)]
World Bank. 2003. World Bank water resources sector strategy: Strategic directions for World Bank engagement. Washington, DC: World Bank.
US Bureau of Reclamation. 1978. The story of the Columbia Basin Project. Washington, DC, US: US Government Printing Office.

Chapter in book
Molle, F. 2003. Allocating and accessing water resources: Practice and ideology in the Chao Phraya delta. In Molle, F. and Srijantr, T. (Eds), Perspectives on social and agricultural change in the Chao Phraya Delta, pp. 45-70. Bangkok: White Lotus.

Conference papers (with proceedings)
Heyns, P.S.H. 2004. Strategic and technical considerations in the assessment of transboundary water management with reference to southern Africa. In Proceedings of the International Expert Workshop on Water, Development and Cooperation, pp. 120-134. Bonn, Germany, 27 February 2004.

Frederick, K.D. 1993. Adaptive responses to climate change: Demand management. In Ballentine, T.M. and Stakhiv, E.Z. (Eds), Proceedings of the First National Conference on Climate Change and Water Resources Management, pp. IV/54-60. Alexandria, VA, US: Institute for Water Resources.

Conference papers (no proceedings), unpublished reports
Meinzen-Dick, R.; Mendoza, M.; Sadoulet, L.; Abiad-Shields, G. and Subramanian, A. 1994. Sustainable water user associations: Lessons from a literature review. Paper presented at the World Bank Water Resources Seminar, Lansdowne, Virginia, US, 13-15 December 1994.
National Irrigation Administration (NIA). 1986. Irrigation water management: Precluding activities, requirements and practices. Quezon City, The Philippines: NIA. Mimeo.

Reports (published)
Keller, A.; Keller, J. and Seckler, D. 1996. Integrated water resources systems: Theory and policy implications. Research Report No. 3. Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Irrigation Management Institute.

Smith, J. 2000. Water politics in the Middle-East: New threats and opportunities. MSc thesis. University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

Newspaper articles
Middle East Times. 2006. Turkey, Israel scrap water project. 23 April 2006.
Kenon, H. 2003. Deal to buy water from Turkey finalized. Jerusalem Post, 23 July 2003.

Harvey, J.H.M. 1999. Personal communication. By email. 12 October 1999.
FAO. 2001. The challenges after Rio. (accessed 2 September 2002)

Work accepted for publication but not yet published should be referred to as "in press"

Use British spellings. Please use "labour", not "labor", "behaviour", not "behavior", "centre", not "center", and "organisation", not "organization", "calibre", not "caliber", "fuelled", not "fueled", "fulfil", not "fulfill", modelling" not "modeling", "programme", not "program". Use –ise/isation endings rather than –ize/ization: characterise, maximise, legitimise, supervise, organise, analyse.

Leave each table within the file and place it after the first paragraph that refers to it. Do not insert tables as graphics from other programs; please ensure they are in MSWord and not imported. Before each table add a brief descriptive caption on a separate line. Tables should be numbered sequentially. Try to avoid tables which are very long or too short. Do not insert vertical lines. For large tables, select the table and choose the format "landscape" in the menu File/Page setup/. Use tabulations or MSWord tables with cells.

Use SI (Système International) and metric units throughout. Leave a space between the numbers and units e.g. (56 ha, 56-78 ml). Use kg/m, not kg m-1; but 75% (close up). 47-50 oC, not 47-50o C.
Billion is taken as 109; use Mm3 and Bm3 for million cubic meters and billion cubic meters, respectively.
Fifteen thousand american dollars should be: US$15,000.

If you include material, whether figures or tables, from other published sources (even your own work), permission to reproduce such material must be sought from the copyright owner.

Technical problems or questions:
For all technical queries please contact Support