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Water governance in the twentieth-first century

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Esteban CastroORCiD



It is widely ackowledged that the world water crisis is mainly a crisis of governance. However, there is no shared understanding of what "governance" means, how it works, who are its actors. The prevailing conceptions of governance in mainstream water policy documents tend to be instrumental and idealistic. Perhaps the most important consequence of instrumental and idealistic understandings of governance is the rhetorical depoliticization of what is, paradoxically, a political process. The main mechanism of this "depoliticization" of governance" is the exclusion of the ends and values informing water policy from the debate. Instrumental and idealistic Sin understandings of governance constitute a major obstacle for the scientific understanding of the process and for achieving success in policy interventions directed at tackling the water crisis. The paper argues for the development of a balance between the tech no-scientific, socio-economic, political, and cultural aspects of water management activities, which may help in superseding the artificial separation of water research and practice in disciplinary and corporatist feuds. © 2008 ANPPAS - UNICAMP.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Castro JE

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Ambiente e Sociedade

Year: 2007

Volume: 10

Issue: 2

Pages: 97-118

Date deposited: 29/10/2009

ISSN (print): 1414-753X

ISSN (electronic):