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Edited by Mara Tignino and Christian Bréthaut

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Joe Williams and Erik Swyngedouw

The opening chapter of this book makes the intellectual and political argument for a more critical understanding of seawater desalination as an emerging phenomenon of water governance. Its purpose, in this sense, is to politicise seawater. The chapter provides an overview of the historic and contemporary development of desalting technologies and the global desalination industry. We argue that, rather than seeing desalination as a water management ‘solution’, it should instead be understood as a socio-technical and political ecological ‘fix’, which allows cities, regions and countries to overcome some of the hydrological barriers to growth and accumulation, while creating or intensifying other social and ecological contradictions. These contradictions, we demonstrate, revolve around the governance of water, privatisation and commercialisation, the water-energy nexus, and marine ecology. Finally, we summarise the substantive chapters included in the book.

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David L. Feldman

Cities place enormous pressures on freshwater availability because they are often located some distance from the water sources needed by their populations. This compels them to build infrastructure to divert water from increasingly distant outlying rural areas, thus disrupting their social fabric and their environment. In addition, increasing urbanization due to population growth, economic change and sprawl places huge burdens upon the institutions as well as the infrastructure that delivers and treats urban water. Finally, the spatial “footprint” caused by sprawling horizontal urban development and annexation imposes numerous problems including paving of city streets and commercial districts (which contributes to pollutant runoff and diminished groundwater recharge); consumption of water for parks and outdoor residential use (increasing evapotranspiration and taxing local supplies); and urban waste discharges that affect local to global biogeochemical cycles and climate.
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Uschi Eid

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Claudia Pahl-Wostl, Joyeeta Gupta and Anik Bhaduri

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Edited by Dave Huitema and Sander Meijerink

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Edited by Inger Weibust and James Meadowcroft

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Edited by Inger Weibust and James Meadowcroft

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Inger Weibust