Browse by title

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 15,105 items :

  • Environment x
Clear All
You do not have access to this content

Michael Webber, Jon Barnett, Brian Finlayson and Mark Wang

This chapter brings together the physical hydrology of the river catchment and the estuary, population growth and water demand, management of wastewater and polluting behaviours, people’s trust in the government, and the styles of government decision-making to model the possible futures for Shanghai’s water supply using a Bayesian Belief Network. Three scenarios, each with two variants, are modelled: high growth rate with an authoritarian socio-political order; slower growth, authoritarian and inflexible; slower growth, flexible, participatory and pluralist. The variants are environmental states: (a) the environment imposes increasing challenges; (b) the environment is relatively benign. This model combines quantitative forecasting techniques with a qualitative understanding of broader structural changes. The results indicate that lower growth leads to a greater quantity of water in the Changjiang and that more inclusive forms of governance have additional benefits for water quality, water quantity and trust in the water that is delivered.

You do not have access to this content

Mark Usher

While it may no longer be particularly controversial to highlight water as a matter of politics, to describe water’s matter as political still challenges mainstream understandings of natural resource management. Indeed, water provides a sticky medium for the formation and consolidation of broader social, economic and discursive relations, which are enabled or constrained by the production history or ‘cultural biography’ of the commodity. This has been widely demonstrated in relation to capitalist urbanization and neoliberal accumulation in the field of political ecology, with both processes shown to be dependent on the prior commodification of water. This chapter will provide an original perspective on water commodification by demonstrating how desalination technology has allowed for the commercialization and ‘worlding’ of the water sector in Singapore, elucidating the close linkage between economic clustering and resource management. Before the 2000s, when desalination and recycled water were introduced, Singapore was dependent on imported water from Malaysia, requiring ongoing and contentious diplomatic negotiations. The politicized character of the supply network prevented the restructuring and commercialization of the sector, but with the fourfold increase in privately manufactured desalinated water, the Singapore government could apply its cluster development policy to the embryonic industry. The sector, now home to 180 water companies and 26 research centres, has been designated a key growth frontier, with water acting as an agent of worlding in the global knowledge economy.

You do not have access to this content

Michael Webber, Jon Barnett, Brian Finlayson and Mark Wang

Chapter 9 reinforces the central messages of this book. The Changjiang, government institutions, infrastructures and ordinary people comprise an assemblage of interacting actors. The river is a central actor that depends on inputs from the precipitation system, perhaps modified by land uses, dams, extractions and pollution. The river’s interactions with the tidal system produce a propensity to salt intrusions that can interrupt Shanghai’s water supply. Whether or not people drink this water depends on the cleanliness of the water but more on their willingness to trust the government bureaucracies to supply clean water. In other words, technical choices about forms of infrastructure and water management not only have political bases but also have political consequences. An important consequence of this conclusion is that policy models have different effects in different places: the management of water expresses hydrologic processes, and social–political–economic structures.

You do not have access to this content

David Saurí, Santiago Gorostiza and David Pavón

This chapter traces the origins of desalination in Spain in the 1960s which we relate to the parallel emergence of nuclear power. Contrary to the latter, however, desalination did not take off because of its high costs, and, more importantly, because of the preference of Spanish water planners for conventional hydraulic works such as dams, reservoirs and aqueducts. After decades of obscurity, desalination resurfaced in the 1990s, when a series of droughts hit the country, and especially after 2004, when social opposition to conventional hydraulic solutions (the Ebro water transfer) made this alternative the selected option for Eastern and Southeastern Spain through the so-called AGUA Programme. The crisis of 2007 and its devastating effects on the urbanization of the Mediterranean coast showed the limits of the ambitious AGUA Programme with many desalination plants canceled or working at very low capacities amidst accusations of overspending and corruption.

You do not have access to this content

Water Supply in a Mega-City

A Political Ecology Analysis of Shanghai

Michael Webber, Jon Barnett, Brian Finlayson and Mark Wang

With the increasing threat of depleted and contaminated water supplies around the world, this book provides a timely and much needed analysis of how cities should manage this precious resource. Integrating the environmental, economic, political and socio-cultural dimensions of water management, the authors outline how future mega-city systems can maintain a high quality of life for its residents.
You do not have access to this content

Jamie McEvoy

In the last 40 years, environmental governance broadly, and water governance more specifically, has been influenced by a set of policy principles emphasizing decentralization, private sector involvement, and public participation. Simultaneously, growing water demands and uncertainty about climate change and the future quality and quantity of water supplies have led to an increased interest in desalination technology to augment water supplies in many regions. In coastal northwestern Mexico, desalination technology has been identified as a solution to address regional water scarcity. Using two large-scale desalination projects in the state of Baja California Sur (BCS) as case studies, this chapter examines how desalination fits within the contemporary water governance framework. The chapter concludes that the adoption of desalination technology in BCS facilitates some policy principles (e.g., semi-decentralized and semi-privatized), but also deviates in important ways (e.g., lacks genuine stakeholder participation).

You do not have access to this content

Nahui Zhen

Chapter 7 investigates the relationship between two other actors within the Shanghai assemblage – the water-supplying institutions of the municipal government and the residents of the city. A survey of people in Shanghai indicates that people do not trust the water that is supplied to them – large majorities do not believe that state-owned water companies tell the truth about water quality, treat residents in different places equally or are competent to supply clean water. Larger numbers of aged people than young ones think water companies are fair. People who are less educated and people with rural hukou tend to have more trust in water companies. As a consequence, almost everyone treats water in some way before drinking it – they boil it, or filter it, or buy it in bottles – in order to remove contamination. As a result, drinking water absorbs a high proportion of residents’ disposable incomes.

You do not have access to this content

Tapping the Oceans

Seawater Desalination and the Political Ecology of Water

Edited by Joe Williams and Erik Swyngedouw

Increasingly, water-stressed cities are looking to the oceans to fix unreliable, contested and over-burdened water supply systems. Desalination technologies are, however, also becoming the focus of intense political disagreements about the sustainable and just provision of urban water. Through a series of cutting-edge case studies and multi-subject approaches, this book explores the political and ecological debates facing water desalination on a broad geographical scale.
You do not have access to this content

Michael Webber, Jon Barnett, Brian Finlayson and Mark Wang

Chapter 4 explains the properties of China’s system of water management, as it relates to water supply in Shanghai. The chapter treats this system as an outcome of scale-making, in which socio-environmental regions – such as basins or jurisdictions – are constructed to serve water politics. The chapter introduces in turn China’s administrative hierarchy, with its divisions of responsibilities between ministries and overlapping responsibilities between different levels of government. New scales of government have emerged, such as river basin commissions and other reorganisations at a more local scale, and new attempts to manage the use of water and levels of pollution. The scales over which governments exercise power are being altered, partially in response to the scales at which corporations, non-government organisations and corporations act.

You do not have access to this content

Michael Webber, Jon Barnett, Brian Finlayson and Mark Wang

Chapter 6 examines in detail the effects of the interaction of river and infrastructures on the quality of water in Shanghai. The specific risk analysed is that of salt intrusions into the estuary of the Changjiang, through which the water at Shanghai’s intake points becomes more saline than can be made potable in the water treatment plants. The chapter calculates the historical risks of salt intrusions severe enough to threaten Shanghai’s water supply and then examines how the constructions and operation of the Three Gorges Dam and the South–North Water Transfer Project are modifying those risks. Depending on the operating rules of these infrastructures, the risk of an intrusion that could disrupt Shanghai’s water supply has been more than doubled by these constructions.