Special Issue of Rassegna Italiana di Sociologia, edited by Giorgio Osti (Università degli Studi di Trieste).
Water socialisation – the pact for a rational and fair water sharing – has been weakened in temperate, developed countries. The capacity to store great quantities of water, to transport it over long distances, and the progress in the fields of depuration, filtering, irrigation and channelling had ensured a relatively peaceful situation among users. Such a balance has been easier in those places where water flows are more regular and public agencies are best equipped to manage all water-related services. Industrialisation of water flows (dense technological treatment of waters in all their cycle, increased scale of water supply facilities, water customisation) ensured the balance between shared access and intense use of water.The moment of relative equilibrium has recently been broken by three factors: 1) industrialised waters now generates growing costs (pollution control, sanitation, flood prevention…) that cannot be supported by taxpayers any longer (fiscal crisis). 2) the «water metering» push to market inclusion (customisation) and to privatise water infrastructures and services (political conflicts). 3) climate change leading to rain scarcity, extreme meteorological events, and reduction of reserves in artificial basins, glaciers and groundwater is alarming public opinion and raising land use conflicts.
These changes have led to three sets of policy recommendations: 1) to stimulate civic participation in order to compensate experts and public officials shortcomings; 2) to integrate uses, sectors and agencies in order to overcome segmentation of public sector; 3) to invoke more sober lifestyles and efficient industrial processes in order to save water. Despite these efforts, acute punctuated crises such as floods, damages to agriculture, and rationing of drinking water, happen frequently. More long-term problems like the spatial and social redistribution of costs and benefitsare less clear, and little-studied. Contentions for water arise frequently between urban and touristic areas on one side, and rural areas – including important water reserves – on the other. The crisis that affected Rome during summer 2017 is emblematic of these dynamics. Other matters of contention concern upstream and downstream areas, as well as land owners and water users within the same area. Uncovering piped channels in the cities is also a very litigious case... [continue]
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Communication from the Editor concerning the selection of abstracts by July 15, 2019.
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Communication from the Editor concerning the peer-review process by December 15, 2019. Revised versions sent to the Editor by February 15, 2020.
Publication on issue 2/2020.