تکامل مشترک توسعه منابع آب : چرخه معیوب از عرضه و تقاضا در آب آتن، یونان
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|9353||2010||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||9111 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Ecological Economics, Volume 69, Issue 4, 15 February 2010, Pages 796–809
This paper adopts a coevolutionary perspective to criticize the dominant narratives of water resource development. Such narratives of progress portray a sequence of improving water technologies that overcame environmental constraints, supplying more water to satisfy the demands of growing populations for better living. Water supply appears as the response to an insatiable demand, exogenous to the water system. Instead, as the history of water in Athens, Greece illustrates water supply and demand in fact coevolve, new supply generating higher demands, and in turn, higher demands favouring supply expansion over other alternatives. This vicious cycle expands the water footprint of cities degrading environments and communities in the countryside. Far from being predetermined and inevitable, as progressive narratives wants it, water resource development has been contingent on geographical and environmental conditions, institutional struggles, accidents, experiments and external geo-political and technological forces. In the last part of this paper, I discuss the policy implications of this coevolutionary reframing with respect to a the transition to a “soft water path”.
You are in Athens. It is the year 1830. Greece’s liberation war has just ended and 12 thousand Athenians have returned home. You are standing on top of the Acropolis watching the city below. Nothing remains but ‘piles of scattered ruins … stones and parts of walls’.1 You see people around water fountains waiting to fill their buckets, others pulling water from wells. At the time no one could have predicted the drastic transformations the city was to face. Fast forward. The year is 2004. You are again standing on top of the Acropolis. Everywhere you look now there are multi-storey apartments, thousands of them. Four million people now inhabit the city. There are no longer fountains or wells, but 4 reservoirs, far from the city, with a capacity of 1.5 billion cubic meters (cu.m). Water passes through 500 km of canals, 4 treatment plants, 7000 km of underground pipes and flows out to 1.7 million taps. This spectacular evolution of a city and its water system is the subject of this paper. The dominant narrative in studies of water resource development is one of progress. Heroic politicians and engineers built new waterworks that secured water, satisfying popular demands for growth and more comfortable living (e.g. Kupel, 2003). Athens' histories for example celebrate the technological feats that “watered the thirst” of a growing population (Skouzes and Gerontas, 1963). These narratives link supply, demand2 and the environment in a particular way. Demand is assumed exogenous and insatiable, the causal driver of change. Supply, transforms a malleable environment to satisfy water demand. As technologies progress, more and more water is supplied and society is getting better. The narrative of progress has been challenged by many (Norgaard, 1994). Environmentally minded works have highlighted the ecological impacts of water supply and the resource limitations of ever-growing demands (Pearce, 2006, Reisner, 1996 and Postel, 1992). Political economists have reversed causality between supply and demand showing how powerful interests coalesce to see that water availability and related costs do not stand in the way of regional growth and profits. From this perspective, waterworks are built to create demand and growth, not to satisfy it (Walker and Williams, 1981 and Worster, 1985). Institutional economists, historians and political scientists have documented the fierce institutional battles over new values and technologies that condition change in water systems (Righter, 2005, Paavola, 2002, Elkind, 1998 and Platt, 1995). More recently, Marxian political ecologists have described cities and water systems as “hybrid” metabolisms that interweave flows of water, money, technology and ideology. Uneven socio-natures are produced, where some benefit and many loose (Swyngedouw, 2004 and Kaika, 2005). From these and other works, a distinction of three periods in the history of modern urban water supply emerges: i) an early period of private control and limited domestic access to water, with low-scale, local technological solutions (roughly till mid/end-19th century), ii) a period of State or municipal control, large engineering works and universalization of domestic water access, that has been called by Sauri and Del Moral (2001) the “hydraulic paradigm” and linked by Gandy (1997) to the “Fordist period” (roughly mid/end-19th century to 1970s), iii) a contemporary shift to market instruments and integrated management (Gandy, 1997, Bakker, 2003 and Elkind, 1998). The present work is positioned within this rich intellectual context. It seeks to problematize the progressive narrative of water resource development and explore the complex interactions between technologies, institutions and nature, supply and demand, power and distribution through which urban water systems gradually evolve. A time sequence of events, such as those that mark Athens' water history (Fig. 1), lacks a narrative. A narrative needs theory to select important from un-important events and link them causally (Cronon, 1992). The theory of coevolution (Norgaard, 1994) is used here as the glue to bind an alternative narrative. Coevolution “provides a sophisticated explanatory framework which can incorporate a multi-dimensional and cross-disciplinary approach to dealing with complex … change” (Kerr, 2004, 331). Others too have referred before to coevolution in relation to water management but did not develop it beyond a metaphor for interaction between multiple variables (Aguilera-Klink, 2000) or for social adaptation to climate variability (Adger, 1999). The building blocks of a coevolutionary narrative are inter-connectedness and variation. Norgaard (1994) argued that technologies, institutions and values change interdependently and in connection to the bio-physical environment. Beyond “co”, Norgaard also argued that this change is “evolutionary”, i.e. that its constituents parts exhibit variation and that this variation changes over time, increasing by innovation, and decreasing by systematic selection (Nelson, 1995). In social systems, the contextual environment in which various actions (practices, habits) occur sets constraining and enabling principles that exert selective bias in favour of some actions and against others (Kerr, 2004). For example, policy change may be represented in terms of an evolving population of policy ideas that express ideological preferences and are differentially materialized into actions. Selection takes place in political arenas influenced by the relative power of the social interests that support competing ideas (Kerr, 2004). Culture also evolves as the frequency of different ideas or practices in a population changes through mimicry, persuasion or coercion (Runciman, 2005). Norgaard’s model is in effect a meta-framework whereby evolution in each of the policy, cultural and environmental spheres is affecting evolution in the others. In the next section I work with these ideas to construct a coevolutionary narrative of water resource development in cities. Section 3 discusses the methods used for this research and Section 4 narrates the case study. Section 5 concludes with the implications of the coevolutionary narrative.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In progressive narratives of Athens’ water resource development, new supplies, such as Marathon or Mornos, are the means to a predetermined historical end: urbanization and increasing consumption (Skouzes and Gerontas, 1963 and Koumbarellis, 1989). Coevolution tells a different story. In 19th century only some households could – or wanted to – live in the city and use water frequently. Health and symbolic benefits and inter-social imitation, coupled with state policies of persuasion and coercion, spread the desire for water in the population and pressed for more supply. Supply expansion entrained then Athens in a path of perpetual urbanization and growth of water consumption. The economic features of water infrastructure favoured network expansion and low water prices. The abundance of running water at a low cost gave a competitive advantage to Athens over other rural and urban areas, facilitated settlement in the arid city, and made easier the adoption of increasingly intensive water appliances. Demand increased and stressed water supplies. Acculturated to water amenities, the majority of households favoured further supply expansion. New supplies accrued also important benefits to those political and economic interests that wielded more power in the policy arena. Through positive feedbacks and mutual selection, supply bred demand and demand asked for more supply. But if early supply works facilitated the attainment of basic health needs, the vicious supply–demand cycle they set in motion facilitates today (sub)urbanization and the spread of pleasure, status-oriented water uses while degrading the social and natural environment of the countryside. Although not explicitly put in these terms, this vicious cycle of water resource development has been documented elsewhere: Seville (Del Moral and Giansante, 2000), Barcelona (Sauri, 2003) and Tenerife (Aguilera-Klink, 2000) in Spain, southern California (Gottlieb and Fitzsimmons, 1991), Boston and New York (Platt and Morill, 1997) in the U.S., London (Castro et al., 2003), France (Barraqué, 2003) and Mexico city (IAURIF, 1997). There are claims that the cycle may be coming to an end, urban water demand no longer increasing. In many cases this is because of wrong accounting: where water use may be stable or decreasing within the strict administative boundaries of a city, it typically keeps increasing at the metropolitan/regional level (Kallis and Coccossis, 2002). Policy discourse is increasingly talking of a transition to a “soft water path”, i.e. managing water through conservation rather than new supply (Gleick, 2003). This has given rise to so-called integrated, twin-track policies of supply and conservation (Arnell et al., 2001). But the underlying narrative remains one in which water policies and technologies are a response to exogenously determined demands. Assuming that a transition to a soft path is desired, then balanced twin-track policies may not be the way forward. The coevolutionary perspective suggests that new supplies create economic and political conditions that work against conservation. Furthermore, change is not gradual and continuous: once a new supply work is in place, restraining use from it becomes difficult. Similarly, once abundant water supply permits households to move to new type of homes or buy new appliances, temporary reductions during shortages may be possible but the new appliances and life-styles lock-in households at higher levels of consumption (Unruh, 2000). In so far as twin-track policies promote new supplies, even if smaller or with more attention to the remediation of environmental impacts, the vicious cycle will likely be sustained. Instead there is a need for political determination to: i) Stop supply expansion. For example, Boston, U.S. is an internationally acclaimed example of transition to the soft path (Postel, 1992 and Platt and Morill, 1997). It was in fact a moratorium on new water supplies that triggered effective experimentation with demand management policies and in turn, significant reductions in household water use. Supply constraints are not advocated here because we are running out of water, nor because of any ethical supremacy of pristine rivers. Water is a renewable resource and has always been used and transformed by humans and other beings. The point is not to save an “environment which in any case, does not exist… Rather, we must decide what kind of world we want to live in and then try to manage the process of change as best as we can approximate it” (Lewontin, cited in Swyngedouw, 2004). Sustainable water management is not about staying within limits but about distributing equitably the costs and benefits of water use within and between city and countryside and among humans and non-humans. ii) Experiment with large-scale, “supplier-driven conservation”. Similar investments to those of 19th and early 20th century are needed today in Western cities to change the infrastructure of water production and consumption to a ‘soft’ path. States and utilities should take the lead in promoting conservation; their role should not end up with providing economic incentives to consumers. Experiments may include – among others – investments on wastewater reuse projects, large-scale programmes to retrofit or replace domestic appliances or installation of household rainwater collection cisterns. Uncertainty about the results of conservation is not a reason to delay action. The supply solutions that were tried in the 20th century were rarely studied in detail or proven to be better beyond doubt. Early dams collapsed. The yields from Athens’ dams turned out much lower and the canals leaked. Huge costs were externalized to non-urban populations. Yet, within the strategic consensus that water supply had to be expanded, large-scale ‘experiments’ were performed, which in turn created wholly new selective conditions on the demand side. The evolutionary perspective lets us see this mixture of intention/determination and experimentation/chance through which social change takes place (Norgaard, 1994 and Aldrich, 1999). But politics and policy are not external, but internal to the coevolutionary scheme. The struggle over alternative ways of producing water will be fought at political arenas. To the extent that these arenas remain dominated by the same growth interests that profit from supply-side solutions, there is little hope for a transition to a soft path. As Platt (1995) shows for the case of Boston, it was a successful coalition of environmental activists, citizens from the source regions, academics and politicians which, managed to fight and win the judicial battle against a new water transfer, in turn creating favourable conditions for water conservation. Stopping effectively new water supplies may be the most effective way to force Athens and other cities to a soft water path. A coevolutionary perspective reframes nature from an unlimited source of wealth or an absolute limit, to an active agent conditioning and co-producing change (Norgaard, 1994). The geography, hydrology, quality, ecology and biology of water resources exert selective pressure by influencing which interventions are feasible, at what cost and to whom this cost falls upon. Other water histories, too, have recognized the hybrid, interdependent character of socio-environmental change, but ended up subsuming nature into society by suggesting that the former determines the later “in the last instance” (Swyngedouw, 2004 and Kaika, 2005). The coevolutionary perspective goes one step further suggesting that environmental changes, such as climate change or fossil fuel exhaustion, can change dramatically the selection conditions for supply and demand alternatives and reshuffle the social balance of powers. Coevolution therefore allows for some optimism in the face of strong structural forces of lock-in (Norgaard, 1994). Environmental changes, social and technical experiments, social movements and coalitions and innovations may alter the balance of the status quo. An Athenian staring at the city from the Acropolis in 1830 could not contemplate how it would look today. Somehow the city and its water system evolved to what they are today. More than likely they will evolve to something very different in 180 years time. Alternative futures are possible and the institutional struggles through which these are determined are fought now.