180621 - Water Governance in Times of Relentless Urban Growth

21 Juin, 2018 - 09:30 - 17:00


Final workshop of the MEGOWAS (USPC NUS) consortium "Water Governance in Times of Relentless Urban Growth"

Thursday June 21st, 2018, 9.30 am-5 pm, Sciences Po, Room 711, 117, boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris

 *The projet is hosted by Sciences Po International and the Centre for European Studies and Comparative Politics (UMR8239)

Compulsory Registration - For the external people to Sciences Po: You will have to arrive 10 minutes before the beginning of the seminar and to provide you with your identity papers

Contact : alvaro.artigaspereira@sciencespo.fr



Download the PDF version here (89 Ko)

Presentation of the MEGOWAS project

Water governance has grown to be one of the most significant issues faced by cities of the Global South. It determines the viability of human existence within territories, gives rise to redistributive conflicts and raises important socio-political issues of environmental justice and territorial cohesion. In megacity-regions, political and administrative decentralization intersects with the flow of water across administrative boundaries to generate tensions and reveal ungoverned spaces in which new actors and new roles emerge. Private real estate developers, in particular, are taking a prominent role in these spaces, where they compete with established local and foreign actors to shape the development of urban utility infrastructure. These trends are challenging the paradigm of universal and equal access to public services with potentially critical consequences for justice, sustainability and efficiency.

The MEGOWAS (Metropolitan Governance of Water Systems in the Global South) project is a USPC-NUS funded research that is the continuation of previous research projects focusing on the role of utilities in major megacities of the Global South. This project gathers the cross-disciplinary and comparative expertise of a varied international team, composed of researchers of the Center of European Studies and Comparative politics and the Institute of Water Policy (IWP) from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public policy in Singapore, the ISEAS (NUS), the Manila Observatory from the Ateneo of Manila and the School of Government of the PUCP of Lima. It focuses on the transformations of water systems governance in four major metropolises of the Global South (Manila, Jakarta, Sao Paulo and Lima) addressing the current challenges or resource depletion, hydric stress and climate change intersecting with issues of city governance, transformation of regulatory frameworks and increasing social pressures stemming from rapid real-estate development and affecting water supply.

The challenge posed by these issues is far reaching, as these major megacities do not only face the challenge of social backlashes connected to deteriorating water provision, but their very sustenance of is threatened, as recent examples like the ones in Cape Town in South Africa have made all too evident. Water systems reveal the other less scrutinized issue of the governance capacity of cities to coordinate increasingly complex systems that combine increasingly numerous stakeholders, technical innovations but also new organizing principles, grounded on increasingly accepted new eco-systemic principles, but also new territorial realities.  Exploring this tension between systemic and territorial complexities, encompassing versus segmented government subsystems, the MEGOWAS consortium looks into water provision from a public policy perspective, revealing the intrinsically political nature of water services in cities today.

The specific contexts of South East Asia and Latin America provide an array of rich examples of these complex interrelations and how cities come to terms -or not- with their development systemic needs. Drawing on different coalitions, policy instruments and governance arrangements, each region and each national case study analyzed by this research faces unique challenges (desertification in the case of Lima, major overhaul of utility regulatory settings in Sao Paulo, utility fragmentation in a context of booming urban growth in Jakarta, rampant risk hazards in the context of Manila). There are however common trends pertaining to how water politics allows for new stakeholders to participate, how it allows for innovations to permeate within, and how it makes sense of growth dynamics within major megacities, where powerful real-estate developers, informal settlements and new eco-cities designs define much of the needs and possibilities of water supply.



Workshop themes and expected outputs

     The seminar presents comparative and trans-disciplinary research on the configuration of urban water governance conducted under the MEGOWAS Research Project, supported by USPC-NUS (2017-2018). Papers will be presented by the project investigators and collaborators on the mega city-regions of Lima, Sao Paulo, Jakarta Manila and fast-growing secondary cities in Asia and Latin America, as well as Paris. The workshop will provide a forum for discussion on points of commonality and contrast to support the authors in preparing their papers for publication. The workshop will start by addressing some grounding conceptual issues for thinking water systems today, namely reference models, the major drivers of change, the role of expertise and the development of specific management approaches of the resource. The seminar sessions will be looking in particular into:

The mechanisms of coordination and conflict resolution for water supply, pertaining to:

-the boundaries and constraints of socio-technical systems, pertaining to their administrative scope, strategic firm choices and modernization dynamics at work

-the institutional and spatial boundaries derived of regulatory frameworks, government levels and the territorial organization/disorganization of metropolis and megacity regions

-Eco systemic imperatives and sustainability-related instruments, such as IWRM, performance indicators, risk and resilience plans.

The transformations and continuity of water system governance between external shocks and learning processes related to

-well-defined and charted systems vs a more complex eco-systemic utility approaches, that demands encompassing assessments of water resources (upstream) and wastewater management (downstream)

The role of non-traditional actors in developing water systems in city regions, in particular the

-From informal settlers collective action to ODA expertise dissemination new roles.

-Growing role of real estate developers investing in distributed systems, in large megacities and fast growing secondary cities?

- The consequences of these actors’ interactions pertaining to equity and efficiency in the delivery of water services?


Workshop Programme


9.30 am


Charlotte Halpern (Sciences Po, CEE)

9.45 am-12.30 am

Morning Session

9.45-11.00 am

How to think water systems today: main drivers of policy change and new urban challenges

Olivia Jensen (Lee Kuan Yew School of public policy, IWP) and Alvaro Artigas (Associate Researcher at Sciences Po, CEE)

Water governance in contexts of dynamic urban growth: a conceptual framework for the Global South today

Dominique Lorrain (Université Paris Est, LATTS, CNRS)
Back to the fundamentals: how to bring water to large numbers?

Discussion: Eric Verdeil (Sciences Po, CERI)

11-11.15 am


11.15 am-12.30 am

Water supply regulation in Latin American cities

Charlotte Halpern

The case of Lima: sobriety and innovations in a context of increasing hydric stress

Candice Pigeard

Real estate developers and water supply networks development in Lima

Discussion: Laure Criqui (IDDRI)

12.30 am - 2 pm

Lunch Break

2-5 pm

Afternoon Session

2-3.15 pm

Water supply regulation in South-East Asian cities

Olivia Jensen

The case of Jakarta and the role of PDAMS in a highly segmented urban setting

Noralene Uy (Ateneo de Manila)

Water governance and resilience strategies in Manila, Cebu and Ilo Ilo compared.

Discussion: Dominique Lorrain

3.15-3.30 pm


3.30-4.45 pm

Laure Criqui (IDDRI)

Urban governance challenges to extending water services in informally growing cities

Alvaro Artigas

The case of Manila Metro: water systems between the strain of regulatory fragmentation and real estate development

Discussion: Olivia Jensen

4.45-5 pm

Concluding remarks


 Picture: @W tAB

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