Urban water conflicts manifested first in Europe in the 19th century and are observed nowadays in various forms throughout the world; in particular, in developing countries. Main causes of these conflicts are characterized by complex socioeconomic and institutional issues related to urban water management. The debate about public water services versus private water supplies is frequently associated with conflicts over water price and affordability. On the other hand, the issue of centralization versus decentralization of water utilities is also often discussed in the context of institutional aspects of urban water management. These issues are intertwined and, thereby, a critical examination of socioeconomic and institutional aspects of urban water management in a holistic way is important for better understanding water conflicts in urban areas.
Urban Water Conflicts – the output of a project by UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme on “Socioeconomic and Institutional Aspects in Urban Water Management” – presents a collection of essays on socioeconomic and institutional aspects of urban water management, focusing on water and sanitation services. The book examines interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and analyzing conflicts that arise from inadequate urban water management. Conflict analysis is addressed in some essays by taking into account economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainability. The issue of institutional conflicts between different levels of government is also discussed in some case studies.
1. Urban water conflicts: Background and conceptual framework 2. Urban water conflicts in recent European history: Changing interactions between technology, environment and society 3. Water, public responsibility and equity: The Barcelona ‘water war’ of the 1990s 4. Full circle? Public responsibility versus privatization of water supplies in the United States 5. Public-private partnership in courts: The rise and fall of concessions to supply drinking water in France (1875–1928) 6. In search of (hidden) Portuguese urban water conflicts: The Lisbon water story (1856–2006) 7. Water supply services in the cities of Brazil: Conflicts, challenges and new opportunities in regulation 8. Urban water conflicts in Buenos Aires: Voices questioning the sustainability of the water and sewerage concession 9. In search of meaningful interdisciplinarity: Understanding urban water conflicts in Mexico 10. Conflict versus cooperation between the state and civil society: A water-demand management comparison between Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa 11. Conflicts of influence and competing models: The boom in community-based privatization of water services in sub-Saharan Africa 12. Governance failure: Urban water and conflict in Jakarta, Indonesia 13. Man-made scarcity, unsustainability and urban water conflicts in Indian cities 14. Urban water conflicts in the western US 15. Urban water reform in Italy: A live bomb behind outward unanimity 16. Water infrastructures between commercialization and shrinking: The case of Eastern Germany 17. Urban water conflicts and sustainability: An ecological-economic approach
Bernard O. Barraqué is a French civil engineer holding a city planning degree from Harvard University, and a PhD in urban socio-economic issues from Paris University. He started his career as a consultant in urban environment policies, and progressively turned to research and teaching. He now is full time Research Director in the CNRS (French Science Centre), with the rank of professor, in environmental policies, in particular water. He is attached to CIRED, Centre International de Recherches sur l’Environnement et le Développement, which is co-tutored by AgroParisTech, PontsParisTech, Univeristy of Paris-Est and Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, and associated to the CNRS. Due to his inter-disciplinary profile, he also was the chair of the French National Committee of the UNESCO International Hydrological Program until 2010. He recently co-ordinated a collaborative project on payments for ecosystem services by water utilities to farmers in France and other developed countries (EVEC, acronym for Eau des Villes, Eau des Champs). He now co-ordinates EAU&3E, a research project on the sustainability of water and sanitation services in large cities in France, in particular with the city of Paris: environmental, economic, social and governance dimensions (see http://eau3e.hypotheses.org). He is member of the editorial boards of Water Policy, Espaces et Sociétés and Water Alternatives.