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Water 2017, 9(12), 934; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9120934

Water Security in Times of Climate Change and Intractability: Reconciling Conflict by Transforming Security Concerns into Equity Concerns

1
Sustainability Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast, 4558 Sippy Downs, Australia
2
Swedish Centre of Education for Sustainable Development, Uppsala University, 75237 Uppsala, Sweden
3
Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), 11523 Stockholm, Sweden
4
Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York, York YO10 5NG, UK
5
Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 75007 Uppsala, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 August 2017 / Revised: 17 November 2017 / Accepted: 25 November 2017 / Published: 1 December 2017
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Abstract

This paper considers how to achieve equitable water governance and the flow-on effects it has in terms of supporting sustainable development, drawing on case studies from the international climate change adaptation and governance project (CADWAGO). Water governance, like many other global issues, is becoming increasingly intractable (wicked) with climate change and is, by the international community, being linked to instances of threats to human security, the war in the Sudanese Darfur and more recently the acts of terrorism perpetuated by ISIS. In this paper, we ask the question: how can situations characterized by water controversy (exacerbated by the uncertainties posed by climate change) be reconciled? The main argument is based on a critique of the way the water security discourse appropriates expert (normal) claims about human-biophysical relationships. When water challenges become increasingly securitized by the climate change discourse it becomes permissible to enact processes that legitimately transgress normative positions through post-normal actions. In contrast, the water equity discourse offers an alternative reading of wicked and post-normal water governance situations. We contend that by infusing norm critical considerations into the process of securitization, new sub-national constellations of agents will be empowered to enact changes; thereby bypassing vicious cycles of power brokering that characterize contemporary processes intended to address controversies. View Full-Text
Keywords: water equity; water conflict; securitization; climate change; governance; wicked problems water equity; water conflict; securitization; climate change; governance; wicked problems
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Powell, N.; Kløcker Larsen, R.; de Bruin, A.; Powell, S.; Elrick-Barr, C. Water Security in Times of Climate Change and Intractability: Reconciling Conflict by Transforming Security Concerns into Equity Concerns. Water 2017, 9, 934.

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