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Special Issue "Sustainable Water Management: Economics and Governance"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sustainability and Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2019) | Viewed by 19947

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Meine Pieter van Dijk
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Maastricht School of Management (MSM), POBox 1203 6201 BE Maastricht, The Netherland
Interests: urban water management; eco-cities; resilience; climate change; adaptation; role of private sector; financial issues
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Yong Jiang
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
IHE Delft Institute for Water Education (formerly UNESCO-IHE), Westvest 7, 2611AX Delft, The Netherland
Interests: water economics and policy, market-based instruments, economic valuation, nature-based solutions, planning and management, integrated assessment
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Water is a unique resource that meets the fundamental needs of both human beings and ecosystems, while underpinning the drivers of growth and development. In sharp contrast to its critical importance to human well-being, water, however, is chronically poorly managed by fragmented institutions, as manifested by how the water crisis escalated from an ‘environmental concern’ to ‘societal risk’, one of the top five global risks consecutively identified by the World Economic Forum each year since 2012. On top of that concern is the changing world, characterized by an uncertain future climate and hydrological cycles, population growth and rapid urbanization, and extensive socio-economic development which has an ever-increasing impact on water and the environment. How to sustainably manage critical water resources represents an unprecedented challenge, threatening sustainable development and in urgent need of timely solutions.

This Special Issue is dedicated to sustainable water management, with a focus on the economics and governance aspects, or the fundamental basis of the role institutions can play. The aim of the Special Issue is to disseminate current knowledge and recent developments to demonstrate good practices, share experience and lessons learned, stimulate discussion and reflection, and, thus, promote a paradigm shift and transformative change towards sustainable water management. Of particular interest are innovative approaches and tools available for supporting, operationalizing and delivering sustainable water management that is inclusive, resilient and adaptive. We hope to cover the full spectrum of water use and conservation to glean management lessons, identify barriers for transformative change, and inform on the global water agenda and initiatives for sustainable development.

Prof. Dr. Meine Pieter Van Dijk
Dr. Yong Jiang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainability
  • water resources
  • management
  • resilience
  • economics
  • governance
  • adaptation to climate change

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Article
Evaluating the Willingness to Pay for Using Recycled Water for Irrigation
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5220; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195220 - 24 Sep 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1264
Abstract
The present study attempts to estimate individuals’ willingness to pay for recycled water irrigation, in order to enhance the water supply and ensure the continuation of irrigated agriculture in Nestos catchment. Contingent valuation method has been developed for the investigation of farmers’ preferences, [...] Read more.
The present study attempts to estimate individuals’ willingness to pay for recycled water irrigation, in order to enhance the water supply and ensure the continuation of irrigated agriculture in Nestos catchment. Contingent valuation method has been developed for the investigation of farmers’ preferences, in monetary terms, to adopt this alternative water source for irrigation purposes. The applied method is regularly followed in the framework of environmental valuation. The results of the survey are based on data collected from questionnaires, which were answered by respondents at a river basin scale. In a representative sample of 302 farmers, we find that 64.2% of them expressed a positive stance towards using recycled water, a fact that results in lower environmental impacts. However, findings indicate that participants are willing to pay a significantly less amount of money than they already pay, for freshwater. Additionally, the analysis demonstrates that the use of recycled water in agriculture is more acceptable to respondents who are aware of its environmental benefits. Therefore, the provision of complete information on the welfare of using recycled water for irrigation to farmers may lead to greater adoption intention and a greater environmental benefit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Management: Economics and Governance)
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Article
Urban Water Management Paradigms in Chinese Cities
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3001; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113001 - 28 May 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1425 | Retraction
Abstract
Three paradigms used in China to deal with urban water issues are compared. The analysis focuses on their definition and objectives, the role of different stakeholders, the issues they deal with and the possible solutions suggested. The use of these paradigms in Chinese [...] Read more.
Three paradigms used in China to deal with urban water issues are compared. The analysis focuses on their definition and objectives, the role of different stakeholders, the issues they deal with and the possible solutions suggested. The use of these paradigms in Chinese cities is compared on different dimensions to conclude when and where they can be used for which purpose. The paradigms differ substantially in their scope (from the narrow focus of the sponge city paradigm to the broad goals of eco-city paradigms) and in terms of the governance mechanisms used to coordinate between different actors. The resilient and sponge paradigms mainly use government structures to achieve their objectives, while the idea is to also involve the private sector (certainly in case of the sponge city paradigm). This has not happened most of the times because project money had to be spent in time. In the eco-cities approach the citizens want to be involved through newly created governance structures. In resilient cities potential victims may be involved. Resilient and eco-city initiatives emphasize the involvement of stakeholders, while in the sponge cities approach the initiative is often taken by local government. Finally, in terms of expected solutions, the paradigms want to avoid disaster, create an eco-city or improve water management. Only in the case of eco-cities there is more space for different water management practices and using alternative technologies. Water-related technologies are available, generating energy from wastewater or underground water and diminishing the dependence on fossil fuels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Management: Economics and Governance)
Article
Multilevel Governments’ Decision-Making Process and Its Influencing Factors in Watershed Ecological Compensation
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 1990; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11071990 - 03 Apr 2019
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 1529
Abstract
Transboundary water pollution is a long-standing problem in China, although the Chinese government has been committed to the protection of water resources. Due to the different interests of multilevel governments and the regionalization of management, there is still no unified plan to solve [...] Read more.
Transboundary water pollution is a long-standing problem in China, although the Chinese government has been committed to the protection of water resources. Due to the different interests of multilevel governments and the regionalization of management, there is still no unified plan to solve the transboundary water pollution in China. Watershed ecological compensation as a holistic plan to deal with transboundary water pollution is being promoted currently. Taking the South-to-North Water Transfer Project’ eastern route as an example, this paper firstly analyses stakeholders’ strategies and establishes a tripartite game model based on evolutionary game theory. Secondly, by introducing Cobb Douglas production function creatively, the supervision level of the central government is refined into supervisory attitude and supervisory skills. Thirdly, the numerical simulation is used to analyze the sensitivity of influencing factors. The results show that: (1) whether the central government supervises the local governments mainly depends on the benefits of water environment improvement and supervision costs; (2) the initial negotiation plan of the stakeholders has a significant impact on their optimum strategies; (3) the fines imposed by the central government on the local governments have a small impact on the stable state of the system; (4) the higher the eco-compensation fee, the lower their likelihood of cooperation; (5) the central government’s supervisory attitude and supervisory skills have significant effect on the sustainability of the optimum arrangement, even when willingness of upstream and downstream governments to cooperate is low; (6) the initial ecological benefits of downstream governments have no effect on the optimum strategy. Therefore, considering these insights is helpful to improve the watershed ecological compensation mechanism in order to solve transboundary water pollution and achieve the sustainability of water resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Management: Economics and Governance)
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Article
A Framework for Ecological Compensation Assessment: A Case Study in the Upper Hun River Basin, Northeast China
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1205; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041205 - 25 Feb 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1624
Abstract
With the rapid socio-economic development, human disturbances are believed to have resulted in the degradation of the watershed ecosystem. The ecological damage to and environmental pollution of river basins have caused great losses. It is widely agreed upon that the protection and restoration [...] Read more.
With the rapid socio-economic development, human disturbances are believed to have resulted in the degradation of the watershed ecosystem. The ecological damage to and environmental pollution of river basins have caused great losses. It is widely agreed upon that the protection and restoration of river ecosystems should be on the agenda. Ecological compensation, an important tool to prevent the deterioration of water environments and achieve sustainable watershed development, has attracted increasing interest as a research subject. In this study, the upper reach of Hun River basin was selected as a typical study area. The primary purpose was to determine the allocation costs of ecological compensation in different regions for the river basin. The amount of willingness-to-pay (WTP) for the eco-compensation was estimated at 3.2 million dollars by the Contingent Valuation Method (CVM). Based on linear programming techniques, a Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) created a primary value of the allocation costs. Considering the different weights of each region, a modified coefficient was introduced to correct the primary result on the basis of a questionnaire survey of river ecological protection and construction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Management: Economics and Governance)
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Article
Decoupling and Driving Factors of Economic Growth and Groundwater Consumption in the Coastal Areas of the Yellow Sea and the Bohai Sea
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4158; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114158 - 12 Nov 2018
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1140
Abstract
Seawater intrusion has occurred in the coastal area of the Yellow Sea and the Bohai Sea as early as the 1970s, and the situation is worsening, with rapid socioeconomic development in recent years. Substantial amounts of groundwater have been exploited to support socioeconomic [...] Read more.
Seawater intrusion has occurred in the coastal area of the Yellow Sea and the Bohai Sea as early as the 1970s, and the situation is worsening, with rapid socioeconomic development in recent years. Substantial amounts of groundwater have been exploited to support socioeconomic activities, especially agricultural activities, causing a reduction in the groundwater level, and hence the intrusion of seawater. This issue seriously restricts the sustainable socioeconomic development of these coastal areas. To this end, this paper applied the improved Tapio decoupling theory to analyze the degree of decoupling, and the spatial difference between the economic growth and the groundwater consumption of the five provinces and cities in the coastal areas of the Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea in the period of 2003–2016. Based on the improved STIRPAT (Stochastic Impacts by Regression on Population, Affluence, and Technology) model and panel data, we determined the driving factors of groundwater consumption in the coastal areas of the Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea. The results demonstrated that the effective irrigation area of farmland should be expanded, new water-saving technology should be introduced, the crop planting structure should be readjusted, and the consumption of groundwater should be reduced. By implementing these measures, it would be possible to contain seawater intrusion in the coastal areas of the Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Management: Economics and Governance)
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Article
Fostering Cross-Sector Collaboration to Promote Innovation in the Water Sector
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4154; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114154 - 12 Nov 2018
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3165
Abstract
Ongoing global climate change, growing population and the intensification of economic activities, increase pressure on water resources, a situation many see as a water governance crisis. Water-related issues are becoming a limiting factor for sustainable economic growth and require a collaborative and interdisciplinary [...] Read more.
Ongoing global climate change, growing population and the intensification of economic activities, increase pressure on water resources, a situation many see as a water governance crisis. Water-related issues are becoming a limiting factor for sustainable economic growth and require a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach, to foster innovative solutions. This paper provides an evidence-based contribution to understanding Triple Helix Model (THM) relations and the path to innovation policy in the water sector. The analysis focuses on the interaction between university–industry–government, with specific reference to the Murcia region in Southeast Spain. This region combines a chronic shortage of water and a leading role for agriculture. Starting from the experience of a researcher, working for the General Water Council of the Murcia Region, this paper is based on both desk research and in-depth personal interviews with representatives of THM actors. In addition, a questionnaire was forwarded to all those companies in charge of providing water services in the Murcia region. The study has found that stakeholders are not fully cooperative in seeking innovation. The main challenges are the renewal of water-related facilities and the improvement of remote control systems, denitrification and desalination technologies and achieving better energy efficiency. To this aim, THM approach is suggested as a source of local innovation policies, identifying a series of tools to foster a collaborative approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Management: Economics and Governance)
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Article
Resilient or Not: A Comparative Case Study of Ten Local Water Markets in China
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4020; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114020 - 02 Nov 2018
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1118
Abstract
Despite the global expansion of water markets, their resilience has received little scholarly attention, even though they are vulnerable to external and internal disturbances. Since the 1990s, the water market has been actively promoted by China as an important institutional coordination mechanism for [...] Read more.
Despite the global expansion of water markets, their resilience has received little scholarly attention, even though they are vulnerable to external and internal disturbances. Since the 1990s, the water market has been actively promoted by China as an important institutional coordination mechanism for efficient water use. This article examines what contextual factors, in configurations, contribute to the resilience of water markets in China. We distinguish between resilient and factitious water markets as two outcome variables and distil four conditions from market environmentalism to explain the variance in their outcomes: ownership of water entitlements, market intermediaries, water pricing, and spot/forward trade categories. Using crisp-set qualitative comparative analysis (csQCA), we analyzed seven resilient and three factitious water markets in China. Our findings show that a water market’s framework is multidimensional and complex and that no necessary conditions contribute to resilience. Two sufficient solutions display the configurational complexity of water markets’ resilience. Path 1 includes strong intermediary, uncompetitive price, and forward water trade. Path 2 includes privatization of water entitlements, spot contracts, and competitive pricing. Weak intermediary together with forward water trade determines factitious water markets. The QCA results reveal that there exist multiple paths that a resilient water market can follow and develop. Therefore, policymakers must be cautious about pushing for water market indiscriminately, especially by over-privatization and unlimited investment in water banks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Management: Economics and Governance)
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Article
Quantitative Measurement of the Sustainable Water Resource Development System in China Inspired by Dissipative Structure Theory
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 3996; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10113996 - 01 Nov 2018
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1631
Abstract
In an attempt to ensure sustainable water resource development, this paper constructs a comprehensive scientific index evaluation system focused on the macro socio-economic-ecological environment. Inspired by the theory of dissipative structure, the sustainable development system of water resources is regarded as a complex [...] Read more.
In an attempt to ensure sustainable water resource development, this paper constructs a comprehensive scientific index evaluation system focused on the macro socio-economic-ecological environment. Inspired by the theory of dissipative structure, the sustainable development system of water resources is regarded as a complex and huge dissipative system. In order to effectively measure the coordinated development status and orderly evolution trend of the system, this paper uses the information entropy method to construct the measurement model of the water resources system and analyze its internal entropy flow changes. The empirical analysis of the water resources in China from 2007 to 2016 found that coordinated water resource subsystem development could achieve sustainable development, and that over the examined period, the sustainable water resource development system in China became more orderly and coordinated; therefore, the sustainable development aim is gradually being achieved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Management: Economics and Governance)
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Article
Agricultural Water Productivity-Based Hydro-Economic Modeling for Optimal Crop Pattern and Water Resources Planning in the Zarrine River Basin, Iran, in the Wake of Climate Change
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 3953; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10113953 - 30 Oct 2018
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2129
Abstract
For water-stressed regions/countries, like Iran, improving the management of agricultural water-use in the wake of climate change and increasingly unsustainable demands is of utmost importance. One step further is then the maximization of the agricultural economic benefits, by properly adjusting the irrigated crop [...] Read more.
For water-stressed regions/countries, like Iran, improving the management of agricultural water-use in the wake of climate change and increasingly unsustainable demands is of utmost importance. One step further is then the maximization of the agricultural economic benefits, by properly adjusting the irrigated crop area pattern to optimally use the limited amount of water available. To that avail, a sequential hydro-economic model has been developed and applied to the agriculturally intensively used Zarrine River Basin (ZRB), Iran. In the first step, the surface and groundwater resources, especially, the inflow to the Boukan Dam, as well as the potential crop yields are simulated using the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) hydrological model, driven by GCM/QM-downscaled climate predictions for three future 21th-century periods under three climate RCPs. While in all nine combinations consistently higher temperatures are predicted, the precipitation pattern are much more versatile, leading to corresponding changes in the future water yields. Using the basin-wide water management tool MODSIM, the SWAT-simulated water available is then optimally distributed across the different irrigation plots in the ZRB, while adhering to various environmental/demand priority constraints. MODSIM is subsequently coupled with CSPSO to optimize (maximize) the agro-economic water productivity (AEWP) of the various crops and, subsequently, the net economic benefit (NEB), using crop areas as decision variables, while respecting various crop cultivation constraints. Adhering to political food security recommendations for the country, three variants of cereal cultivation area constraints are investigated. The results indicate considerably-augmented AEWPs, resulting in a future increase of the annual NEB of ~16% to 37.4 Million USD for the 65%-cereal acreage variant, while, at the same time, the irrigation water required is reduced by ~38%. This NEB-rise is achieved by augmenting the total future crop area in the ZRB by about 47%—indicating some deficit irrigation—wherefore most of this extension will be cultivated by the high AEWP-yielding crops wheat and barley, at the expense of a tremendous reduction of alfalfa acreage. Though presently making up only small base acreages, depending on the future period/RCP, tomato- and, less so, potato- and sugar beet-cultivation areas will also be increased significantly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Management: Economics and Governance)
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Article
Multiple Goals Dilemma of Residential Water Pricing Policy Reform: Increasing Block Tariffs or a Uniform Tariff with Rebate?
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3526; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103526 - 30 Sep 2018
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1457
Abstract
Water is a basic necessity and its allocation and utilization, especially pricing policies, impose various social, economic, and ecological impacts on social groups. Increasing block tariffs (IBTs) has gained popularity because it is expected to incentivize water conservation while protecting poor people benefiting [...] Read more.
Water is a basic necessity and its allocation and utilization, especially pricing policies, impose various social, economic, and ecological impacts on social groups. Increasing block tariffs (IBTs) has gained popularity because it is expected to incentivize water conservation while protecting poor people benefiting from the redistribution effects because of its nonlinear tariff structure. However, it results in price distortion under certain circumstances. Researchers have also proposed an alternative practical price system and a uniform tariff with rebate (UTR), with the price level set equal to the marginal social cost and a fixed rebate allocated to the poor groups. This study proceeds with a simulation of the two pricing systems, UTR and IBTs, and empirically explores their fundamental merits and limitations. The results confirm the theoretical perspective that a water price system, compared with an optimal tariff system, simultaneously achieves multiple goals to the greatest possible extent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Management: Economics and Governance)
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Review

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Review
Financing for Water—Water for Financing: A Global Review of Policy and Practice
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 821; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030821 - 05 Feb 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2691
Abstract
The relationship between the water and financial sectors is explored through a review of past and current policies and practices, and new needs driven by growing water insecurity (i.e., drought and floods) and climate change. This paper focuses on emerging markets and developing [...] Read more.
The relationship between the water and financial sectors is explored through a review of past and current policies and practices, and new needs driven by growing water insecurity (i.e., drought and floods) and climate change. This paper focuses on emerging markets and developing economies. The “conventional” agenda of providing safe drinking water supply and sanitation has met with growing success. The newer water resources agenda covering flood, drought and irrigation, in contrast, has to address rapid alterations in the landscape due to destruction of catchments, and rapid water use growth. By approximately 2045 the world will transition from a predominantly water-abundant place to a predominantly water-scarce one. Though this masks large regional differences, pressure will grow to improve water management and broaden adoption of technologies and policies for recycling, desalination and water efficiency. Climate change will exacerbate these trends. Finance for the water agenda has been dominated by public budgets. To meet the SDGs, the need for finance in emerging markets and developing economies is 2–4 times larger than current practice. National budgets have grown significantly while international development assistance has grown modestly. Commercial finance holds promise but is constrained by high-risk profiles of many water investments: deals are small or risky and creditworthiness of water utilities and municipalities is weak. Access to commercial finance can be enhanced through blended finance, intermediary institutions and, increasingly, local capital markets. However, though the capacity to access finance is constrained in many developing economies, the capacity to absorb finance and prepare “bankable” proposals proves even more constraining. Climate change is emerging as a systemic threat to corporate and financial assets. Water insecurity undercuts the financial viability of production assets, services and real estate. It is argued that the longer-term interests of the water and financial sectors will converge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Management: Economics and Governance)
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