Basin Justice: Using social justice to address gaps in river basin management

Authors Zeitoun, M.
Year of Publication 2013
Type of Publication Book Chapter
Open Access No


Society, economy and environment. As in the first of the Dublin Principles, the three are always given near-equal measure in water research and policy circles as the 'pillars' of water resources management. When unpacked, the social pillar is inevitably composed in part on the principle of 'equity'. Justice, or some variation of it, then, claims a foundational role in water resources management alongside principles from the sister pillars of efficiency and environmental sustainability.

This chapter explores the extent to which the assertion holds in relation to the management of river basins. More specifically, its goal is to assess the utility of justice as a lens to both evaluate and inform basin management. The chapter achieves this goal through two distinct examinations of basin management: (a) according to the justic components of its theoretical norms (mainly the Dublin Principles and Integrated Water Resources Mangement (IWRM), and (b) through the lens of various notions of social justice (i.e. egalitarian, Rawlsian, utilitarian and individualistic models of justice).