The netWORKS research association recently published two articles regarding the governance of novel water infrastructures.
German municipalities and their water utilities are having to react to substantial ecological, economic and social changes that have been brought about by climate change, volatile energy prices and demographic changes, amongst others. Novel technologies and concepts for urban water systems regarding the supply of different types of water, the separation of wastewater streams and the use of wastewater as a resource already exist, but mainly have only been implemented in pilot projects in Germany.
Obstacles to innovation were identified in the papers along with activities and measures that encourage implementation. Limitations in the ability of governance structures to adapt might be one reason for the stagnation in their implementation. Routes to institutional innovation and new institutional arrangements among key players were identified and optimised. Specific measures leading to cooperative management have the potential to support the necessary restructuring of institutional arrangements and pave the way for transformation.
Schramm, E., H. Kerber, J. Trapp, M. Zimmermann, M. Winker (2017): Novel urban water systems in Germany: governance structures under transformation. In: Urban Water Journal. DOI 10.1080/1573062X.2017.1293694
The following article put emphasis in new strategic opportunities for water utilities and cooperation models. The findings reveal that the urban water infrastructure of the future promises new forms of crosssectoral integration and co-management, and the coexistence of centralised and decentralised systems.
Trapp, J.H., H. Kerber, E. Schramm (2017): Implementation and diffusion of innovative water infrastructures - obstacles, stakeholder networks and strategic opportunities for utilities. In: Environ Earth Sci (2017) 76:154, DOI 10.1007/s12665-017-6461-8