1st Edition

Urban Water Conflicts UNESCO-IHP

By Bernard Barraque Copyright 2011
    344 Pages
    by CRC Press

    344 Pages
    by CRC Press

    Urban water conflicts manifested first in Europe in the 19th century and are observed nowadays in various forms throughout the world; in particular, in developing countries. Main causes of these conflicts are characterized by complex socioeconomic and institutional issues related to urban water management. The debate about public water services versus private water supplies is frequently associated with conflicts over water price and affordability. On the other hand, the issue of centralization versus decentralization of water utilities is also often discussed in the context of institutional aspects of urban water management. These issues are intertwined and, thereby, a critical examination of socioeconomic and institutional aspects of urban water management in a holistic way is important for better understanding water conflicts in urban areas.

    Urban Water Conflicts – the output of a project by UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme on “Socioeconomic and Institutional Aspects in Urban Water Management” – presents a collection of essays on socioeconomic and institutional aspects of urban water management, focusing on water and sanitation services. The book examines interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and analyzing conflicts that arise from inadequate urban water management. Conflict analysis is addressed in some essays by taking into account economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainability. The issue of institutional conflicts between different levels of government is also discussed in some case studies.

    1 Urban water conflicts: Background and conceptual framework
    1.1 UNESCO-IHP Taskforce on Urban Water Conflicts
    1.2 Socioeconomic and institutional aspects of urban water management
    1.3 Definition of urban water: an impure public good
    1.4 A few methodologies for analysing urban water conflicts
    1.5 Conclusions

    2 Urban water conflicts in recent European history: Changing interactions between technology, environment and society
    2.1 Introduction
    2.2 Governments intervene to provide long distance supply of clean water
    2.3 From quantity at a distance to quality close at hand
    2.4 The crisis of municipal water supply services
    2.5 European water services and the three Es of sustainability
    2.6 The new social issue of sustainability
    2.7 Conclusion

    3 Water, public responsibility and equity: The Barcelona ‘water war’ of the 1990s

    4 Full circle? Public responsibility versus privatization of water supplies in the United States
    4.1 Urban water supply before 1830
    4.2 The rise of the public water utility, 1830–1920
    4.3 Expansion of water supply systems, 1920–1945
    4.4 Metropolitan expansion and new demands on water supplies, 1945–1970
    4.5 From infrastructure crisis to privatization, 1970–2004 46
    4.6 Conclusion

    5 Public-private partnership in courts: The rise and fall of concessions to supply drinking water in France (1875–1928)
    5.1 Corpus and context
    5.2 The origin of conflicts: is drinking water a profit-oriented service?
    5.3 CE position: under a concession contract, drinking water is a profit-oriented activity
    5.3.1 Amendments should be negotiated by the parties on the grounds of the initial contract’s status quo
    5.3.2 Local authorities had no right to renegotiate access to private service
    5.3.3 The CE restrictions on contract termination
    5.4 The consequence of CE decisions on water supply management
    5.5 Conclusion

    6 In search of (hidden) Portuguese urban water conflicts: The Lisbon water story (1856–2006)
    6.1 A century of Portuguese water services: evolution, accomplishments and failures
    6.2 The Lisbon water story
    6.2.1 Liberal waters (1858–1926)
    6.2.2 Authoritarian waters (1926–1974)
    6.2.3 Democratic waters (1974–2006)
    6.3 Urban water conflicts: from the unfinished welfare state to the new regulatory state
    6.4 Concluding remarks: hidden conflicts or potential conflicts?

    7 Water supply services in the cities of Brazil: Conflicts, challenges and new opportunities in regulation
    7.1 Introduction
    7.2 The institutional conflicts and challenges
    7.3 Economic conflicts and challenges
    7.4 Socio-environmental challenges and conflicts: social inequality and environmental degradation
    7.5 New opportunities in water and services management: regulation and conflict-resolution

    8 Urban water conflicts in Buenos Aires: Voices questioning the sustainability of the water and sewerage concession
    8.1 Introduction
    8.1.1 The social urban context
    8.1.2 Water services before privatization
    8.1.3 The private sector operating the largest water concession in the world
    8.1.4 Development of the chapter
    8.2 Economic sustainability issues leading to political conflict and conflict among users
    8.2.1 Financing the expansion of the network: the SUMA conflict
    8.2.2 Devaluation of the Argentinean peso: renegotiation of the concession contract
    8.3 Social sustainability issues: bringing water services to the poor
    8.3.1 Bringing water and sewerage networks to poor neighbourhoods
    8.3.2 The social tariff: a response to the recent inability of Argentina’s middle class to cope with the water bill
    8.4 The evolution of the ‘environmental question’ in the context of the water sector privatization and the concession process
    8.4.1 Water table rise, flooding and environmental conflict
    8.4.2 Urban water conflict and environmental conflict: the Lomas de Zamora Water Forum
    8.4.3 The ‘environmental problem’ and the need for a responding institution
    8.5 Conclusion

    9 In search of meaningful interdisciplinarity: Understanding urban water conflicts in Mexico
    9.1 Introduction
    9.2 Urban water conflicts in Mexico from a historical perspective
    9.3 Urban water conflict events in Mexico
    9.4 Explaining urban water conflicts
    9.5 Concluding remarks

    10 Conflict versus cooperation between the state and civil society: A water-demand management comparison between Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa
    10.1 Background to the South African water context
    10.2 Case study 1: Johannesburg
    10.2.1 Institutional profile of water service provision in Johannesburg
    10.2.2 The Gcin’ Amanzi Project
    10.2.3 Community response
    10.3 Case study 2: Cape Town
    10.3.1 The state of municipal debt: the driver behind Cape Town’s WDM approach
    10.3.2 Mfuleni pilot project
    10.3.3 Water saving device options
    10.4 CSO response
    10.5 The political terrain of the two cities 161
    10.6 Conclusion

    11 Conflicts of influence and competing models: The boom in community-based privatization of water services in sub-Saharan Africa
    11.1 Water supply systems in urban areas with no network connection
    11.1.1 Dispelling a myth: the spread of public-private partnerships from large cities
    11.1.2 Project-based rationale and systems involving decentralized players: behind the profusion, a model
    11.2 The limitations of community-based privatization
    11.2.1 Dysfunctions of the model . . .
    11.2.2 . . . or an unsuitable model?
    11.3 The community-based model versus the public model: ideological domination at stake
    11.3.1 The need for efficient sectoral approaches and depoliticization of management
    11.3.2 The supposed advantages of community-based regulation
    11.3.3 A deep distrust of local public authorities
    11.4 Conclusion

    12 Governance failure: Urban water and conflict in Jakarta, Indonesia
    12.1 Introduction: watering Jakarta
    12.2 Splintered urbanism: fragmented access to urban water supply
    12.3 Urban governance: the production of thirst
    12.4 Going private: conflict over the water supply concession contract for the city of Jakarta
    12.4.1 The private sector participation contract in Jakarta
    12.4.2 Re-regulation: tariffs, profits and conflictual re-negotiation of the contract
    12.4.3 Conflicts with water utility workers: labour-led protests and unrest
    12.4.4 Connecting the poor? Conflict over tariffs and pricing
    12.4.5 Pro-poor initiatives
    12.5 Conclusions: governance failure

    13 Man-made scarcity, unsustainability and urban water conflicts in Indian cities
    13.1 Introduction
    13.2 Our understanding of urban water conflicts
    13.3 The issue of water access in Delhi
    13.3.1 Users’ strategies and cross-bred networks
    13.3.2 The question of sustainability
    13.3.3 A chaotic reform process and unexpected outcomes
    13.4 Chennai: expanding needs and growing conflicts with peri-urban users
    13.4.1 The central role of the peripheral groundwater
    13.4.2 Short-term winners and losers: a transition towards conflict?
    13.5 Conclusion: a common framework of weak and ineffective conflict resolution mechanisms

    14 Urban water conflicts in the western US
    14.1 Water development and the environment
    14.2 Water in California and the transfer from agriculture to urban areas
    14.3 Introduction to the Imperial Valley case
    14.4 The decision-making process leading to trading
    14.5 Decision-making in San Diego
    14.6 Institutions, spatial scale and inter-regional relations
    14.7 Conclusion

    15 Urban water reform in Italy: A live bomb behind outward unanimity
    15.1 The weaving of Penelope
    15.2 Path towards the reform: the crisis of the traditional model
    15.3 The reform
    15.4 A new model for providing WSS: challenges and trade-offs
    15.5 Implementing the WFD: the first challenge for the privatized water system
    15.6 Conclusions

    16 Water infrastructures between commercialization and shrinking: The case of Eastern Germany
    16.1 Introduction
    16.2 The German water market in transition: the main transformations in water supply and wastewater disposal
    16.3 From ‘flourishing landscapes’ to shrinking regions: post-reunification developments in Eastern Germany
    16.4 Conflicts about infrastructure supply and privatization: the case of Brandenburg and Frankfurt (Oder)
    16.5 Learning from shrinking regions

    17 Urban water conflicts and sustainability: An ecological-economic approach
    17.1 Introduction
    17.2 Sustainability and carrying capacity in the water domain
    17.3 The parabola of urban water systems
    17.3.1 The ‘further from farther’ crisis
    17.3.2 Modernization and sustainability of urban water management
    17.3.3 Drivers of modernization
    17.4 Towards a general understanding of UWC
    17.4.1 Conflicts as indicators of urban water sustainability
    17.4.2 Interpretative frames: actors in conflict
    17.4.3 Interpretative frames: categories of conflict


    Bernard O. Barraqué is a French civil engineer holding a city planning degree from Harvard University, and a PhD in urban socio-economic issues from Paris University. He started his career as a consultant in urban environment policies, and progressively turned to research and teaching. He now is full time Research Director in the CNRS (French Science Centre), with the rank of professor, in environmental policies, in particular water. He is attached to CIRED, Centre International de Recherches sur l’Environnement et le Développement , which is co-tutored by AgroParisTech, PontsParisTech, Univeristy of Paris-Est and Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, and associated to the CNRS. Due to his inter-disciplinary profile, he also was the chair of the French National Committee of the UNESCO International Hydrological Program until 2010. He recently co-ordinated a collaborative project on payments for ecosystem services by water utilities to farmers in France and other developed countries (EVEC, acronym for Eau des Villes, Eau des Champs ). He now co-ordinates EAU&3E, a research project on the sustainability of water and sanitation services in large cities in France, in particular with the city of Paris: environmental, economic, social and governance dimensions (see http://eau3e.hypotheses.org). He is member of the editorial boards of Water Policy, Espaces et Sociétés and Water Alternatives .