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Cities versus agriculture : revisiting intersectoral water transfers, potential gains and conflicts

Urban water scarcity, how cities secure funds for the development of their water infrastructure and to what extent possible supply constraints are causally linked to agriculture are revisited. Most large cities in the developing world tend to have deficient-to-poor water supply and sanitation facilities, even if there is abundant water in their surroundings.  In financing the water-supply infrastructure, the main issue is rather “where to find the money ?” than “where to find the water ?” Urban water supply is a reflection of the local political economy where “the threat from below” largely determines the level of water services and how these are spatially and socially differentiated.

The impact of water-demand management is still fairly limited. Highly committed water systems will have to cope with growing uncertainty and fluctuations in supply. Planners should acknowledge this and act consequently. Markets have prerequisites that are unlikely to be met in most countries and water transfers administered and designed through processes of negotiation is likely to predominate.

Better access to hydrological data, improved control over hydraulic regulation, multi-stakeholder platforms, marginalized groups and representation of all interested parties in allocation and decision making have the potential for ensuring fairer and smoother reallocation of water.

Selected experiences about how cities obtain water are presented.

TitleCities versus agriculture : revisiting intersectoral water transfers, potential gains and conflicts
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsMolle, F., Berkoff, J.
Secondary TitleResearch report / IWMI
Volumeno. 10
Paginationvi, 70 p. : fig., tab.
Date Published2006-01-01
PublisherInternational Water Management Institute (IWMI)
Place PublishedBattaramulla, Sri Lanka
ISBN Number9290906243
Keywordsdomestic use, economic aspects, environmental impact, groundwater, irrigation, policies, sdiman, sdiurb, urban areas, water demand, water resources development, water resources management, water shortage, water supply
Abstract

Urban water scarcity, how cities secure funds for the development of their water infrastructure and to what extent possible supply constraints are causally linked to agriculture are revisited. Most large cities in the developing world tend to have deficient-to-poor water supply and sanitation facilities, even if there is abundant water in their surroundings.  In financing the water-supply infrastructure, the main issue is rather “where to find the money ?” than “where to find the water ?” Urban water supply is a reflection of the local political economy where “the threat from below” largely determines the level of water services and how these are spatially and socially differentiated.

The impact of water-demand management is still fairly limited. Highly committed water systems will have to cope with growing uncertainty and fluctuations in supply. Planners should acknowledge this and act consequently. Markets have prerequisites that are unlikely to be met in most countries and water transfers administered and designed through processes of negotiation is likely to predominate.

Better access to hydrological data, improved control over hydraulic regulation, multi-stakeholder platforms, marginalized groups and representation of all interested parties in allocation and decision making have the potential for ensuring fairer and smoother reallocation of water.

Selected experiences about how cities obtain water are presented.

NotesBibliography: p. 55-70
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