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Special Issue "Economics and Governance of Sustainable Urban Water Management"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Water Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Yong Jiang
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
IHE Delft Institute for Water Education (formerly UNESCO-IHE), Westvest 7, 2611AX Delft, The Netherland
Interests: water economics and policy, market-based instruments, economic valuation, nature-based solutions, planning and management, integrated assessment
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Meine Pieter van Dijk
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Maastricht School of Management (MSM), POBox 1203 6201 BE Maastricht, The Netherland
Interests: urban water management; eco-cities; resilience; climate change; adaptation; role of private sector; financial issues
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Water is a unique resource that meets the fundamental need of both human being and ecosystems while underpinning the drivers of growth and development. In sharp contrast to its critical importance, water, however, is chronically poorly management with fragmented institution, as manifested by water crisis escalated from an environmental/resource concern up to a grand societal risk, one of the top 5 global risks in terms of impact consecutively identified by the World Economic Forum each year since 2012. On top of that is a changing setting characterized by increasingly uncertain climate and hydrological cycle, population growth and rapid urbanization, and extensive socio-economic development with an ever-increasing impact on water and the environment. How to sustainably and effectively manage water resources represents an unprecedented challenge threatening sustainable development, requiring timely solutions.

This special issue is dedicated to sustainable water management in urban areas, with a particular focus on the economics and governance aspects, the fundamental elements of institution for managing water to achieve security and sustainability in an urbanizing world. It is intended to cover recent development in the focal aspects to demonstrates good practices, share experience and lessons, stimulate discussion and reflection, and thus eventually to promote paradigm shift and transformative change towards sustainable water management in urban areas. It is particularly interested in innovative approaches/tools/solutions available for supporting, operationalizing and delivering sustainable urban water management that is inclusive, resilient and adaptive. It expects to cut across the full spectrum of water development, use and conservation to glean management lessons, identify barriers for transformative change, and inform the global water agenda and initiatives for sustainability.

Dr. Yong Jiang
Prof. Dr. Meine Pieter van Dijk
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • sustainability
  • urban water management
  • resilience
  • economics
  • governance
  • adaptation to climate change

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Implementing Water Policies in China: A Policy Cycle Analysis of the Sponge City Program Using Two Case Studies
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5261; - 29 Jun 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 955
This study carries out an in-depth analysis of urban water policy implementation in China through a policy cycle analysis and case study of Sponge city program. The policy cycle analysis articulates discrete steps within the policy formulation and implementation process, while the case [...] Read more.
This study carries out an in-depth analysis of urban water policy implementation in China through a policy cycle analysis and case study of Sponge city program. The policy cycle analysis articulates discrete steps within the policy formulation and implementation process, while the case studies reflect the specific problems in water project implementation. Because of the principal–agent relation between central and local government, a ‘‘double wheel’’ policy cycle model is adopted to reflect the policy cycles at central level and at local level. Changde city and Zhuanghe city, two demo cities in the Sponge city program, are chosen for the analysis. The policy cycle analysis shows that the central government orders local government to implement policy without clear direction on how to attract private sector participation. The evaluation of central government did not include private sector involvement, nor the sustainability of the investments. This promotes the local government’s pursuit of project construction completion objectives, without seriously considering private sector involvement and operation and maintenance (O&M) cost. The local governments do not have political motivation and experiences to attract private investments into project implementation. The case study in the two demo cities shows that local government subsidies are the main source of O&M funding currently, which is not sustainable. The water projects are not financially feasible because no sufficient revenue is generated to cover the high initial investments and O&M cost. The lack of private sector involvement makes it difficult to maintain adequate funding in O&M, leading to the unsustainability of the water projects. It is not easy to achieve private sector involvement, but it could be the key to realizing urban water resilience in a more sustainable way. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economics and Governance of Sustainable Urban Water Management)
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