Water and the (All Too Easy) Promised City: A Critique of Urban Water Governance

Antonio Ioris

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The reform of urban water services, and the related reorganisation of environmental conservation, has been influenced by novel approaches focused on flexibility, adaptability and partnership that are commonly described as the agenda of water governance. This new agenda, widely accepted worldwide in the last three decades, entails a convergence of de-regulation and re-regulation policies, including incentives for decentralisation and market-based solutions. The chapter specifically examines the influence of urban water governance reforming public services and environmental conservation in Glasgow (UK) and in Lima (Peru). These two case studies, despite their idiosyncratic complexities, are highly emblematic of the controversies surrounding water governance. Glasgow is an intriguing example of a post-industrial European conurbation and Lima is a paradigmatic case of an emerging megacity at the intersection of post-colonial legacies and market globalisation. In both metropolitan areas, recent projects and policy adjustments reveal the achievements, but also the shortcomings of water governance. One main problem is that public participation has been appropriated by the same agencies that in the past promoted highly centralised, disjointed and politically asymmetric administration. Furthermore, positive results from increased investments and rationalisation of water services have been undermined by the discriminatory and short-term basis of the discourse and practice of urban water governance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrban Water Trajectories
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-42686-0
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-42684-6
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2016


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