Water Saving Strategies & Ecological Modernisation: Transitions, Targets & Tools

Birgitte Hoffmann, Jesper Ole Jensen, Morten Elle, Susanne Balslev Nielsen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Drawing on case studies of water saving campaigns and new collaborations, the pa-per will serve, on the one hand, as an interpretation of the water saving strategy in Co-penhagen in the light of Ecological Modernisation, and on the other hand, as a critical discussion of Ecological Modernisation as a frame for understanding resource manage-ment. The water management in Copenhagen has in recent years undergone a rather radi-cal transition. Along with strong drivers for resource management in the region the mu-nicipal water supplier has tested and implemented a number of initiatives to promote sus-tainable water management. The paper focuses on the experiences from different water saving initiatives carried out since the mid 80s relating them to some central aspects of Ecological Modernisation theories: · Demands for tools and targets · New tasks and roles for suppliers, consumers and stakeholders and the emergence of a new group of intermediary actors · The changing logics of sustainability and the development of storylines The ecological modernist discourse implies a participatory approach, by which citizens are made co-responsible and included in efforts towards a sustainable development; however, the paper challenges the way this perspective is developed by Ecological Mod-ernisation scholars. Empirically, the paper draws on case studies from the Copenhagen region, where wa-ter saving activities have resulted in a radical decrease of water consumption in house-holds - from 168 l/capita/day in the 80s to 125 l/capita/day in 2002. A series of different strategies, targets and tools have been implemented: Emphasizing demand side instead of supply side, using and communicating indicators, formulating goals for reducing water consumption and developing learning processes in water management. A main feature is the use of intermediary actors as links between suppliers and consumers, and as facilita-tors of learning processes in water savings and local water management. Hence the questions are: How does EM help us understand the development of water saving activities and the emergence of intermediary services such as water metering, lo-cal water saving campaigns and new collaboration? How can the EM approach to citi-zens’ participation be developed? The paper is based on research carried out in the two EU-based research projects, PETUS and Intermediaries . While the first discusses practical evaluation tools in urban sustainability, the last explores the emergence and roles of a new group of actors in ur-ban infrastructure.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 9th international conference on Environmental Science and Technology
Number of pages90
VolumeVol A - Oral Presentations
Place of PublicationRhodes
Publication date2005
ISBN (Print)960-7475-33-X
Publication statusPublished - 2005
EventInternational Conference on Environmental Science and Technology - Rhodes, Greece
Duration: 1 Jan 2005 → …
Conference number: 9


ConferenceInternational Conference on Environmental Science and Technology
CityRhodes, Greece
Period01/01/2005 → …
SeriesProceedings of the International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology

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