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Water Crises and Governance : Reinventing Collaborative Institutions in an Era of Uncertainty
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Water Crises and Governance critically examines the relationship between water crises and governance in the face of challenges to provide water for growing human demand and environmental needs. Water crises threaten the assumptions and accepted management practices of water users, managers and policymakers. In developed and developing world contexts from North America and Australasia, to Latin America, Africa and China, existing institutions and governance arrangements have unintentionally provoked water crises while shaping diverse, often innovative responses to management dilemmas. This volume brings together original field-based studies by social scientists investigating water crises and their implications for governance.
Contributors to this collection find that water crises degrade environments, place untenable burdens on stakeholders, and produce or exacerbate social conflict, undermining ecological and social conditions that sustain effective collaboration. At the same time, water crises can promote institutional change that "resets" governance, promoting unusual and creative responses appropriate for local contexts. The studies in this volume provide evidence that, while water crises pose serious threats to environments and societies, they also provide opportunities to learn from experience and recraft water governance with coherent visions of more ecologically and socially sustainable futures. This volume was originally published as a special issue of Society & Natural Resources.