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Water Policy Entrepreneurs

A Research Companion to Water Transitions around the Globe

Edited by Dave Huitema and Sander Meijerink

This major volume focuses on the role of policy entrepreneurs in revolutionizing water management worldwide. Adopting an international comparative perspective, the authors explore the changes taking place in water policy across fifteen countries, at both the global level and within the European Union. Their analysis highlights the importance of groups and individuals in stimulating progress and reveals the crucial part played by policy entrepreneurs.
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Chapter 15: Spanish Water Management in Transition: Transition Management Watered Down?

Nuria Font and Joan Subirats


Nuria Font and Joan Subirats 15.1 Introduction Over the last 20 years water management policy in Spain has shown signs of a gradual transition. The traditional supply-based approach to water policy promoting the construction of state-subsidized hydraulic projects, while not completely abandoned, has been complemented by the adoption of tentative steps towards a concept based more on sustainability of the resource. Many factors have facilitated this gradual transition, the most important of which has been the increasing erosion of the traditional balance in which water policy has long built up. In short, the growing competition for water combined with the emergence of policy entrepreneurs promoting sustainability-related issues has helped to fracture the traditional approach to water management and open new avenues for change. This chapter explores the strategies employed by policy entrepreneurs (Kingdon, 1995) to mobilize new policy ideas, generate knowledge and make use of multiple venues for influencing domestic water politics moving through several stages in a transition period. 15.2 Policy stability and policy change Spain’s traditional problem-solving approach to water policy has consisted of the regulation of the water supply by means of state-subsidized construction of large-scale infrastructure. In recent years this type of policy has been partly replaced by alternative supply-based approaches taken in policy involving more sustainable options. The 2001 National Water Plan in particular, adopted by the Popular Party administration, was revoked three months after the Socialist Party won the national elections in March 2004.1 The national government adopted the AGUA2 programme shortly afterwards, introducing...

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