Call for Papers: Why Justice Matters in Water Governance

Why Justice Matters in Water Governance.

A Call for Contributions: A Special Issue of Water Policy
Water allocation is a fundamental part of water governance. Water allocation has been described as an unavoidable conflictual process because it is fundamentally political and it involves multiple uses and users of water. The scarcity of water resources, driven by anthropogenic and/or natural means, exacerbates the already politically sensitive process of water management and allocation. Issues of justice arise when resources are, or are perceived to be, in short supply and/or when access to water resources is constrained. In these situations individuals or groups of people are concerned about getting their fair share and arrangements are made, or institutions created, to manage and allocate water resources.
Justice has been studied in many academic disciplines with little or no integration, and without a single, overarching framework. For example, philosophy is full of justice theories and tends to concentrate on what ought to be, rather than on what is. Economists are essentially concerned with the distribution of goods at a macro level, and this concern cannot escape consideration of justice principles such as equality, rights and freedom. In the political sciences, the concept of human rights provides a means of settling disputes by appealing to fundamental human rights, and in 2010 the UN General Assembly included the right to water and sanitation as a human right. Water is vital to life and therefore any discussion of its quantity, quality, distribution and governance is inherently a discussion about justice.
For this Special Issue, we welcome contributions that investigate how issues of justice influence water governance, management and allocation in any context or application. We seek to highlight the ubiquitousness of justice in water by bringing together multiple disciplines to explore “Why justice matters in water governance”. We view water as an arena that highlights the breadth and depth of justice as a concept. As such, we seek contributions not only from those who consider themselves to be researchers of justice or from the relatively smaller pool of researchers who work at the water-justice interface, but also from water researchers and practitioners who have not previously viewed their research from a justice perspective. This Special Issue aims to highlight a side of water governance that is recognised as vitally important yet is seldom explicitly discussed.
Water policy makers and managers are often faced with conflict that arises when there is a change in water allocations or planning processes. Arguments relating to issues such as environmental water allocations and re-allocation between user groups are often premised on the claim of injustice or unfair treatment. Understanding how such justice arguments are stated both procedurally and in the context of distributive allocation is mostly tacit by decision makers. This can sometimes lead to lack of specific thought as to where conflict can arise before it occurs. While many water agencies explicitly include the objective of creating equitable or just policy there is little systematic knowledge in agencies as to how to define and operationalise equity and justice principles. This Special Issue aims to fill a gap in this area.
If you are interested in contributing to this Special Issue of Water Policy: Why Justice Matters in Water Governance; please make note of the following important dates:

Please submit a 200 word abstract and a keyword list (5-10 words) by 31 March 2013 directly to Dr Marian Patrick (<>). Abstracts will be reviewed by the Guest Editors for the purpose of ensuring the breadth and depth of justice perspectives is captured. Due to constraints in the number of papers that can be included in a Special Issue, a limited number of abstracts will be selected, and authors will be notified by 30 April 2013 as to whether they should proceed to full manuscript stage.
Final manuscripts due by 30 September 2013 – submitted via the normal Water Policy submission process. See author instructions: