Special Issue "Public Policy Analysis of Integrated Water Resource Management"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Resources Management, Policy and Governance".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 September 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Karin Mirjam Ingold
Website
Guest Editor
1. Institute of Political Science & Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland;
2. Environmental Social Science Department, Eawag, Dübendorf, Switzerland
Interests: water policy; integrated water resources management; social-ecological systems; governance; policy studies; policy analysis
Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun
Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Political Science, Heidelberg University, Bergheimer Strasse 58, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany
Interests: comparative public policy; public administration; international political economy; European studies
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Public policy analysis is interested in how policies emerge and develop in order to adress societal problems. Issues related to water, such as the contamination of surface waters, floods and droughts, or plastic pollution in oceans are often highly complex, concern different jurisdictions, and involve public and private actors. This complexity is adressed through integrated water management principles; but these principles give room to open questions such as: What are main challenges of policy analysis (research and practice) in terms of multi-level actor involvement (politics), cross-sectoral solutions (policies), and new institutional arrangements (polity)? To answer this question we invite policy research that investigates the potential of innovation and effectiveness in integrated water resource management.

Prof. Dr. Karin Ingold
Prof. Dr. Jale Tosun
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 papers will be 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. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly 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 1800 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

  • multi-level governance
  • integrated water resource management
  • policy analysis
  • cross-sectoral policy design
  • transboundary catchment areas

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Special Issue “Public Policy Analysis of Integrated Water Resource Management”
Water 2020, 12(9), 2321; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092321 - 19 Aug 2020
Abstract
Public policy analysis is interested in how policies emerge and develop in order to address societal problems. Issues related to water, such as the contamination of surface waters, floods, or plastic pollution in oceans are often highly complex, concern different jurisdictions, and require [...] Read more.
Public policy analysis is interested in how policies emerge and develop in order to address societal problems. Issues related to water, such as the contamination of surface waters, floods, or plastic pollution in oceans are often highly complex, concern different jurisdictions, and require the collaboration of public and private actors. This complexity is addressed through integrated water management principles. However, these principles give room to open questions such as: what are the main challenges of policy analysis (research and practice) in terms of multi-level actor involvement (politics), cross-sectoral solutions (policies), and new institutional arrangements (polity)? To answer these questions, the seven papers of this Special Issue combine approaches borrowed from policy analysis with principles of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). Each article tackles a complex, water-related problem and collectively, the papers present empirical evidence from case studies located around the world. We learn from all these analyses that adopting a policy perspective helps disentangling the procedural components of IWRM (the involvement of actors, the definition of the appropriate management area, the attribution of competences, etc.) from more substantial ones (like the development of a management plan and the implementation of measures). Addressing cross-sectoral and multi-level challenges is a difficult task, and policy analysis can help shedding light on both, the legitimacy of processes, and the effectiveness of their outputs and outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Policy Analysis of Integrated Water Resource Management)

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Governing Urban Water Conflict through Watershed Councils—A Public Policy Analysis Approach and Critique
Water 2020, 12(7), 1849; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12071849 - 28 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Cities face substantial water governance challenges, even more so when their activities are water-intensive, as global tourism is. As the lower-most level of government, municipalities face important challenges when dealing with water stress. Designing robust urban water policy thus may require us to [...] Read more.
Cities face substantial water governance challenges, even more so when their activities are water-intensive, as global tourism is. As the lower-most level of government, municipalities face important challenges when dealing with water stress. Designing robust urban water policy thus may require us to challenge currently popular modes of governance by river basin councils, as predicated by the integrated water resources management (IWRM) paradigm. In this paper, I conduct a public policy analysis of a case study of intra-urban water conflict in the Mexican city of San Miguel de Allende (SMA), an extremely popular tourist destination with substantive water scarcity challenges. I draw insights from an application of the Institutional Grammar Tool, IGT (as proposed by Ostrom and Crawford) on a series of textual datasets derived from ethnographic, qualitative longitudinal field research, document analysis, and elite interviews with stakeholders to explain the reasons underlying community concerns about urban water supply which have derived in conflict in San Miguel de Allende and increasingly manifested over the past few years (2017–2020). My analysis suggests that to tackle growing intra-urban antagonism derived from increasing water insecurity in San Miguel de Allende, a more localized, micro-watershed approach might be more fruitful than a traditional river basin council strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Policy Analysis of Integrated Water Resource Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Livestock Farming at the Expense of Water Resources? The Water–Energy–Food Nexus in Regions with Intensive Livestock Farming
Water 2019, 11(11), 2330; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11112330 - 07 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Policymaking in the water–energy–food nexus is characterized by complex ecological, social, and economic interdependencies. Nexus research assumes these interactions to be overseen in the respective resource governance resulting in sectoral perspectives contributing to unsustainable outcomes. In Germany, the political priority given to the [...] Read more.
Policymaking in the water–energy–food nexus is characterized by complex ecological, social, and economic interdependencies. Nexus research assumes these interactions to be overseen in the respective resource governance resulting in sectoral perspectives contributing to unsustainable outcomes. In Germany, the political priority given to the formation of an internationally competitive livestock sector by means of intensification, specialization and regional concentration has exerted sustained pressure on water and soil resources. The expansion of bioenergy plants promoted by the renewable energy act has exacerbated the situation. Despite the persistency of the ecological challenges, German policymakers only reacted when the European Commission referred Germany to the European Court of Justice. Current policy efforts to tackle the ecological problems are now provoking disruptions in the agrarian sector in regions with high nitrate concentrations in water resources. By combining the social-ecological systems framework with hypotheses derived from nexus research, we explore the interactions between food, water and energy systems and aim at understanding the unsustainable outcomes. We argue that the non-consideration of the complex interdependencies between the agricultural, the water and the energy system in policymaking and the divergence of policy goals constitute a major cause of unsustainable governance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Policy Analysis of Integrated Water Resource Management)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Salient to Whom? The Positioning of German Political Parties on Agricultural Pollutants in Water Bodies
Water 2019, 11(11), 2278; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11112278 - 30 Oct 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Scholars have increasingly argued for an integration of policies on agriculture and water due to their strong interlinkage. The entry of agricultural pollutants into water represents one of the main pressures on Europe’s ground and surface waters. This not only poses a risk [...] Read more.
Scholars have increasingly argued for an integration of policies on agriculture and water due to their strong interlinkage. The entry of agricultural pollutants into water represents one of the main pressures on Europe’s ground and surface waters. This not only poses a risk to the environment and human health but also jeopardizes meeting the targets set by the EU Water Framework Directive. Research on the political agenda setting has shown that issue salience is key for triggering policy change. Nevertheless, Germany has repeatedly failed to adopt adequate policy measures despite the salience of the issue among the German public and increasing pressure by the EU. In this study, I shed light on the positioning of political parties in Germany on agricultural pollutants to explain the absence of policy change. More specifically, I ask whether there is an ideological division between political parties that hampers the adoption of effective, integrated policy measures. A qualitative content analysis of election manifestos published between 1998 and 2018 finds that political parties’ policy positions are predominantly influenced by their placement on an environmental and an economic ideological dimension. As a result, political parties in Germany advocate conflictive policy approaches, which is detrimental to the adoption of effective policy measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Policy Analysis of Integrated Water Resource Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Water Quality and the Effectiveness of European Union Policies
Water 2019, 11(11), 2244; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11112244 - 26 Oct 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
This article is a first attempt to examine the effectiveness of EU water policies in a comparative perspective. It provides a systematic analysis of the relationship between EU water policies and the quality of national water resources for 17 EU member states over [...] Read more.
This article is a first attempt to examine the effectiveness of EU water policies in a comparative perspective. It provides a systematic analysis of the relationship between EU water policies and the quality of national water resources for 17 EU member states over a period of 23 years (1990–2012). The analysis reveals that EU policies have contributed to the water quality in the member states. Moreover, it finds that decentralized implementation processes enhance the effectiveness of top-down policy instruments while not making a significant difference for bottom-up policy instruments. Administrative capacities and (neo-)corporatist arrangement seem to play some, yet only minor, role in determining the effectiveness of EU water policies. This way, the article speaks to the literature on EU compliance and implementation and the broader public policy literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Policy Analysis of Integrated Water Resource Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Experience is Key: Examining the Relative Importance of Factors Influencing Individuals’ Water Conservation
Water 2019, 11(9), 1870; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091870 - 09 Sep 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Conservation of our global natural resources is one of the most pressing concerns facing our international society. One of these crucial resources is water. The current study sought to understand how individual factors such as experience with water scarcity, message framing, and ideology [...] Read more.
Conservation of our global natural resources is one of the most pressing concerns facing our international society. One of these crucial resources is water. The current study sought to understand how individual factors such as experience with water scarcity, message framing, and ideology can impact perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors related to water conservation. Through the utilization of an online experiment, the current findings suggest that higher levels of experience with water scarcity predict more concern, more positive credibility perceptions of water conservation messages, and a higher likelihood of conserving water in the future. Message framing, specifically gain frames, predicted more concern and more positive perceptions of message credibility, and ideology only predicted perceptions of message credibility. Implications for global communities, resource managers, and policy decision-makers are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Policy Analysis of Integrated Water Resource Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Unfolding the Water Framework Directive Implementation at the River Basin District Scale: An Italian Case Study on Irrigation Measures
Water 2019, 11(9), 1804; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091804 - 29 Aug 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Despite that the European Water Framework Directive has attracted scholars’ attention worldwide, research is sparse on how its implementation is carried out for the whole River Basin District (RBD). This paper aims to fill this research gap by studying the implementation of this [...] Read more.
Despite that the European Water Framework Directive has attracted scholars’ attention worldwide, research is sparse on how its implementation is carried out for the whole River Basin District (RBD). This paper aims to fill this research gap by studying the implementation of this directive in the Italian Eastern Alps RBD. Based on 21 semi-structured interviews with both public authorities and the stakeholders engaged with implementation, along with a document analysis, we traced the overall implementation process, from planning to implementation, of measures to increase irrigation efficiency. Our interest was on how coordination mechanisms for the entire RBD were established during the main steps of the implementation process. Moreover, we looked at the effects of the Water Framework Directive at the local level, both in terms of changes in irrigation management practices and in terms of stakeholders’ engagement in decision-making processes. We found that, establishing decision-making processes based on a stronger coordination among all the authorities involved was fundamental both in terms of the production of shared decisions and of the participants’ satisfaction with the processes. Moreover, if true participation of stakeholders has to be achieved in the decision-making processes, then the RBD could not be the only scale where participation takes place. Actually, interactions among stakeholders and public authorities, in order to consider local interests in the decision-making processes, could be more effective at the sub-RBD level Ultimately, while cross-administrative coordination can be achieved for the whole RBD through specific coordination mechanisms, public participation should find more appropriate spaces at the sub-RBD level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Policy Analysis of Integrated Water Resource Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Integrated Water Resources Management and Policy Integration: Lessons from 169 Years of Flood Policies in Switzerland
Water 2019, 11(6), 1173; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11061173 - 05 Jun 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
In times of increasing pressures on water resources, the integrated management of the resource is a central policy objective. While there exists encompassing research about the concept of integrated water resources management (IWRM), much remains to be studied regarding the integration of water-related [...] Read more.
In times of increasing pressures on water resources, the integrated management of the resource is a central policy objective. While there exists encompassing research about the concept of integrated water resources management (IWRM), much remains to be studied regarding the integration of water-related policies. Water resources management profits when policy actors coordinate their demands and actions across policy sectors, territorial entities, and decision-making levels within a water basin. However, actors are bound by the policy framework, which organizes water resources management in defined sectors and, over time, develop into independent and specialized policy pillars. A growing number of policies increases the need to integrate those policies over time following the institutional resources regime (IRR) framework. However, an increasing number of policies also proves challenging in establishing an integrated, coherent regime compliant with IWRM. In this study, we analyze flood risk management policies and find an almost exponential increase in policies over time, while flood risks and damage have not decreased in parallel. We address this empirical puzzle with an in-depth analysis of the design of Swiss flood risk management policies over time. To this end, we survey the opinion of 146 flood experts on the importance of ten policy design indicators in three flood-prone regions in Switzerland. Flood risk management experts attribute particular importance to policy designs characterized by integration, a sufficient budget for policy implementation, and coercive instruments and sanctions. We then compare survey results to the ways in which Swiss policies have been designed in legislation across policy sectors related to flood risk management over the last 169 years. We find that policy designs follow a national policy style. Placing these results in local contexts, we explain why the design of policies represents both a challenge and opportunity for policy-makers involved in flood risk management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Policy Analysis of Integrated Water Resource Management)
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