Integrated water management and environmental justice - Public acceptability and fairness in adopting water innovations
Innovations to manage freshwater resources and avert shortages - including conservation through reclaimed wastewater, desalination, and demand-side management measures like increasing block rate structures offer practical, effective remedies for meeting future water demands. This article examines the challenges of adopting these innovations that revolve around perceptions of fairness and public acceptability. A major obstacle to these approaches' adoption is environmental justice - that the risk and burden of resource solutions, as well as their benefits - should be borne equitably, despite differences of income or race. It considers how debates regarding water supply are often disputes over different notions of environmental justice. It then examines general equity debates over adopting various innovations in one important US state: California. It contends that fairly adopting these innovations requires embracing open, inclusive, and transparent decision-making processes in which no constituency is excluded from decisions, and in which different notions of justice are embraced.