Table of Contents

Handbook on Water Security

Handbook on Water Security

Edited by Claudia Pahl-Wostl, Anik Bhaduri and Joyeeta Gupta

Water security has received increasing attention in the scientific and policy community in recent years. This Handbook covers the wide range of perspectives required to understand water security as a concept guiding water governance and management at different levels and in different regions. It reflects on past, present and future challenges to water security and strategies on how to overcome them. An invaluable resource for scientific scholars, it will also appeal policymakers and practitioners interested in a deeper understanding of this important concept.

Chapter 5: The social construction of water security discourses: preliminary evidence and policy implications from the Middle East

Itay Fischhendler and Daniel Nathan

Subjects: environment, environmental management, water, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy


Water issues are being placed on the agenda by being communicated as security issues. Yet the securitization of water discourses does not only occur through linguistic communication, but through the establishment of institutional mandates and water policies that embody water issues as shared water security constructs. Since language has been recognized as a critical factor in determining how environmental issues are addressed, this chapter seeks to uncover the social construction of water securitization discourses. The chapter first presents the discursive process of securitization from the framework developed by the Copenhagen School of International Relations and through the literature on water security framing; then it focuses on the appeal of employing securitization through an examination of the social conditions that trigger its use and its agenda-setting facilities, all of which will be highlighted by examples from the politically charged Middle East; and finally it presents why the discursive transformation of water into water security is significant at all for decision making.

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