The importance of the ‘urban’ in agricultural-to-urban water transfers: Insights from comparative research in India and China

Hooper, Virginia (2015) The importance of the ‘urban’ in agricultural-to-urban water transfers: Insights from comparative research in India and China. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

[thumbnail of 2015HooperVPhD.pdf]
Download (3MB) | Preview


The task of reconciling competing water demands is made more complex by the urban transition occurring in many of the world’s river basins. As rising populations and economic development lead to the overexploitation of available water supplies, the largest water-using sector, agriculture, becomes the source of water for growing towns and cities. Yet, urbanisation is accompanied, not only by the movement of water from the agricultural sector, but also by the migration of people from rural areas, the conversion of agricultural land, and wider socioeconomic change. In this context, this thesis argues agricultural-to-urban water transfers are only partially explained by the institutional mechanisms of water policy and the politics of allocation, and that the movement of water from agriculture is also subject to the influence of ‘the urban’ –processes of urbanisation and the different attributes of urban areas that characterise towns and cities.
To examine the role of ‘the urban’ in shaping water agricultural-to-urban water transfers, the thesis applies two methodologies. The first is systematic mapping, which evaluates the water transfer literature to understand the scope and content of the evidence-base. The second is an empirical comparative case study of water transfers to three growing cities: Hyderabad in the Krishna River Basin; Coimbatore in the Cauvery River Basin (both in India); and Kaifeng City in the Yellow River Basin (China).
The thesis explores three research areas. The first is the influence of urban attributes – groundwater availability, urban planning, urbanisation rates and urban water governance – on the ways that growing cities obtain additional water resources. The second, is the problem of water transfer impact estimation in the context of rapidly urbanising river basins. The third is the relationship between urban wastewater irrigation and the mitigation of agricultural-to-urban water transfer impacts.
The thesis concludes that to understand how a growing city gains water share from the agricultural sector, and releases it again as wastewater, it is imperative to understand the nature of the city and its growth, in tandem with more conventional analysis of institutional mechanisms of water allocation and the political contexts in which these mechanisms operate.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of International Development
Depositing User: Nicola Veasy
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2016 15:14
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2016 15:14

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item