This Special Issue on water governance features a series of articles that highlight recent and emerging concepts, approaches, and case studies to re-center and re-theorize “the political” in relation to decision-making, use, and management—collectively, the governance of water. Key themes that emerged from the contributions include the politics of water infrastructure and insecurity; participatory politics and multi-scalar governance dynamics; politics related to emergent technologies of water (bottled or packaged water, and water desalination); and Indigenous water governance. Further reflected is a focus on diverse ontologies, epistemologies, meanings and values of water, related contestations concerning its use, and water’s importance for livelihoods, identity, and place-making. Taken together, the articles in this Special Issue challenge the ways that water governance remains too often depoliticized and evacuated of political content or meaning. By re-centering the political, and by developing analytics that enable and support this endeavor, the contributions throughout highlight the varied, contested, and important ways that water governance needs to be recalibrated and enlivened with keen attention to politics—broadly understood.
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