Folder Issue1

February 2013




Cooperation, domination and colonisation: The Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee

Jan Selby
Department of International Relations, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK;

ABSTRACT: Do there exist instances of international (water) policy coordination which are so unequal that they should not even be considered 'cooperation'? This article argues, on both theoretical and empirical grounds, that this is indeed so. Theoretically, it posits that 'cooperation' should be distinguished from 'policy coordination', and that situations of policy coordination without mutual adjustments or joint gains should instead be considered instances of 'domination'. And empirically, it illustrates the existence of such relations of domination through an analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee (JWC), using new evidence from JWC negotiation files, plus interviews with leading Israeli and Palestinian participants. Most startlingly, the article finds that under the constraints of JWC 'cooperation', the Palestinian Authority has been compelled to lend its formal approval to the large-scale expansion of Israeli settlement water infrastructures, activity which is both illegal under international law and one of the major impediments to Palestinian statehood. The article suggests the need for both the complete restructuring of Israeli-Palestinian water 'cooperation', and for further research on relations of domination, and the ideology of cooperation, within international (water) politics.

KEYWORDS: Cooperation; domination; Israel-Palestine; transboundary water politics



The power to resist: Irrigation management transfer in Indonesia

Diana Suhardiman
International Water Management Institute, Vientiane, Lao PDR;

ABSTRACT: In the last two decades, international donors have promoted Irrigation Management Transfer (IMT) as an international remedy to management problems in government irrigation systems in many developing countries. This article analyses the political processes that shape IMT policy formulation and implementation in Indonesia. It links IMT with the issue of bureaucratic reform and argues that its potential to address current problems in government irrigation systems cannot be achieved if the irrigation agency is not convinced about the need for management transfer. IMT's significance cannot be measured only through IMT outcomes and impacts, without linking these with how the irrigation agency perceives the idea of management transfer in the first place, how this perception (re)defines the agency'€™s position in IMT, and how it shapes the agency'€™s action and strategy in the policy formulation and implementation. I illustrate how the irrigation agency contested the idea of management transfer by referring to IMT policy adoption in 1987 and its renewal in 1999. The article concludes that for management transfer to be meaningful it is pertinent that the issue of bureaucratic reform is incorporated into current policy discussions.

KEYWORDS: Irrigation development, irrigation bureaucracy, policy reform, power struggles, Indonesia



Evaluating knowledge production in collaborative water governance

Brent Taylor
Department of Geography, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada;
Rob C. de Loë
Department of Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada;
Henning Bjornlund
Department of Economics, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada; and School of Commerce, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia;

ABSTRACT: Despite the crucial role of knowledge production in environmental decision-making, previous research provides limited practical insight into the knowledge-related outcomes that can be achieved through collaboration, or the associated determinants of success. In this multiple case study, knowledge production is analysed in a collaborative water allocation planning process in South Australia. A theoretical framework was developed and used to systematically evaluate and compare knowledge-related processes and outcome criteria across four planning catchments. Data sources included 62 semi-structured interviews, documents and personal observations. Most of the theorised outcomes were achieved across the cases; however, only one case had generated widespread acceptance among participants of the knowledge that was used to develop the water allocation plan. Comparing processes across the cases revealed key factors that influenced their outcomes. Ultimately, community participants across the cases had limited involvement in technical investigations, suggesting the need to re-examine expectations about the potential for joint fact-finding within collaborative processes that are limited in scope and duration and nested within broader state-driven processes.

KEYWORDS: Collaborative governance, knowledge production, water allocation planning, South Australia



Remaking waste as water: The governance of recycled effluent for potable water supply

Katharine Meehan
Department of Geography, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA;
Kerri Jean Ormerod
School of Geography and Development, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA;
Sarah A. Moore
Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA;

ABSTRACT: Water managers increasingly rely on the indirect potable reuse (IPR) of recycled effluent to augment potable water supplies in rapidly growing cities. At the same time, the presence of waste -€“ as abject material -€“ clearly remains an object of concern in IPR projects, spawning debate and opposition among the public. In this article, we identify the key governance factors of IPR schemes to examine how waste disrupts and stabilises existing practices and ideologies of water resources management. Specifically, we analyse and compare four prominent IPR projects from the United States and Australia, and identify the techno-scientific, legal, and socio-economic components necessary for successful implementation of IPR projects. This analysis demonstrates that successful IPR projects are characterised by large-scale, centralised infrastructure, state and techno-scientific control, and a political economy of water marked by supply augmentation and unchecked expansion. We argue that -€“ despite advanced treatment -€“ recycled effluent is a parallax object: a material force that disrupts the power geometries embedded in municipal water management. Consequently, successful IPR schemes must stabilise a particular mode of water governance, one in which recycled effluent is highly regulated and heavily policed. We conclude with insights about the future role of public participation in IPR projects.

KEYWORDS: Water reuse, indirect potable reuse, waste, power, governance



Hydro-hegemony in the upper Jordan waterscape: Control and use of the flows

Mark Zeitoun
School of International Development, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK;
Karim Eid-Sabbagh
School of Oriental and African Studies, Houghton Square, London;
Michael Talhami
Independent researcher, Amman, Jordan;
Muna Dajani
Independent researcher, Jerusalem;

ABSTRACT: This paper blends the analytical framework of hydro-hegemony with a waterscape reading to explore the use and methods of control of the Upper Jordan River flows. Seen as a sub-component of the broader Lebanon-Israel-Syria political conflict, the struggles over water are interpreted through evidence from the colonial archives, key informant interviews, media pieces, and policy and academic literature. Extreme asymmetry in the use and control of the basin is found to be influenced by a number of issues that also shape the concept of 'international waterscapes': political borders, domestic pressures and competition, perceptions of water security, and other non-material factors active at multiple spatial scales. Israeli hydro-hegemony is found to be independent of its riparian position, and due in part to its greater capacity to exploit the flows. More significant are the repeated Israeli expressions of hard power which have supported a degree of (soft) 'reputational' power, and enable control over the flows without direct physical control of the territory they run through -€“ which is referred to here as 'remote' control. The 2002 Lebanese challenge of the hegemony established shows that full consent has never been achieved, however, and suggests the maintenance of hydro-hegemony in this international waterscape relies on the reconstitution of reputational power.

KEYWORDS: Hydro-hegemony, waterscape, hydropolitics, water security, Jordan River, Lebanon, Syria, Israel



Maintaining a river's healthy life? An inquiry on water ethics and water praxis in the upstream region of China's Yellow River

Lilin Kerschbaumer
Philosophisches Seminar, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Kiel, Germany;
Konrad Ott
Philosophisches Seminar, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Kiel, Germany;

ABSTRACT: Sustainability of freshwater has become one of the most prominent issues in Chinese river basins. Recently, the Yellow River Conservancy Commission adopted the approach of 'Maintaining the Healthy Life of the Yellow River' (HLR) as the top principle in its management scheme. We locate arguments by HLR advocates in an ecocentric line of reasoning within Environmental Ethics. In view of crucial problems of ecocentrism, we conclude that HLR might be better grounded in the paradigm of Strong Sustainability (StS). With the case of the Hetao Irrigation Area at the upstream of the Yellow River, we recommend a StS-scenario with suggestions for policy reforms.

KEYWORDS: The Yellow River, ecocentrism, water ethics, sustainability, Hetao irrigation area



Smallholder irrigators, water rights and investments in agriculture: Three cases from rural Mozambique

Gert Jan Veldwisch
Irrigation and Water Engineering Group of Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands;
Wouter Beekman
Resilience BV, Wageningen, the Netherlands;
Alex Bolding
Irrigation and Water Engineering Group of Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands;

ABSTRACT: In the context of the prevalent neo-liberal discourse on rural development through improved markets, involvement of companies and a strong reliance on foreign investors this article examines the vulnerable position of smallholder irrigators and their water rights. Through the parallel analysis of three contrasting cases of smallholder irrigation in Mozambique and a comparison with formal Mozambican law, it is shown that a big gap exists between formal water rights and water rights in practice. For each case, it is shown how land and water rights are connected and how a successful defence of land rights provides a good basis for a defence of smallholder water rights. Furthermore, as productivity and efficiency arguments are prominent and influential, those smallholders who are able to turn their use into the production of economic value manage best to materialise their claims on both land and water. The paper concludes with recommendations to strengthen the position of smallholders in response to increasing threats of land and water grabbing.

KEYWORDS: Irrigation, smallholder production, water rights, land and water grabbing, Mozambique



Development through bricolage: Rethinking institutions for natural resources management (Cleaver, F. 2012).
Douglas J. Merrey



Turkey's water policy (Kibaroglu, A.; Scheumann, W.; Kramer, A. (Eds.), 2011).
Ariel Dinar