Mapping Institutional Landscapes: Global Efforts to Improve Access to Water

Mapping Institutional Landscapes: Global Efforts to Improve Access to Water

M. Laituri F. Sternlieb 

Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Colorado State University, USA

Department of Geosciences, Colorado State University, USA

30 September 2012
| Citation



The Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act 2005, the UN Millennium Development Goals, and Water as a Human Right are all mechanisms for enhancing access to water for the world’s poorest populations. However, these water policies are not integrated into a holistic framework. They are fragmented between multiple governing agencies, founded on competing ideologies for water management, and enforced through confusing regulatory structures for land tenure tenuously linked to water rights. Alternatively, this is the governing landscape that provides the basis for innovative approaches to water solutions: integrated water resource management (IWRM), collaborative partnerships, and adaptive management strategies focused on place-based solutions. This paper examines efforts to map the intersection of poverty and water focusing on access to water and sanitation. Webbased geospatial tools of global water access issues are reviewed. The US Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act 2005 (WfP Act), the human right to water and sanitation (General Assembly Resolution 64/292, 2010), the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) to improve access to water and sanitation (Goal 7), and the codifi cation of water as a human right into law by specifi c water poor countries are spatially cross-referenced to map the institutional landscape where water policy and water need intersect. Fundamental to improved access to water and sanitation is the need for a healthy environment. We conclude our research by examining the question: how well can these policies reconcile the confl icting demands upon the socio-ecological landscape?


 geospatial tools, global water policy, hydro-social, millennium development goals, Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act.


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