Tapping the Oceans
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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.
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Chapter 10: Politicizing the salt of the seas

Erik Swyngedouw and Joe Williams


This concluding chapter returns to the overarching purpose of the book, which is to move beyond the reductionist and techno-managerial framings which have hitherto dominated debates on seawater desalination, and to make a concerted appeal for greater attention to be paid to the implications of desalination for the wider politics of water. Furthermore, we identify five areas for further political and intellectual engagement, particularly around the social and ecological contradictions of desalination, its implications for relative resource scarcities, the politics of supply-side water management, and unequal access to water services.

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