Bringing Sustainability Down to Earth: Heihe River as a Paradigm Case of Sustainable Water Allocation.

Ott, Konrad, Kerschbaumer, L., Kobbing, J. F. and Thevs, N. (2016) Bringing Sustainability Down to Earth: Heihe River as a Paradigm Case of Sustainable Water Allocation. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 29 (5). pp. 835-856. DOI 10.1007/s10806-016-9640-9.

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Abstract

The article analyses a transdisciplinary wicked upstream-downstream conflict over water allocation in an arid region of Inner Mongolia (China). This conflict is about scarce water resources which can be either allocated to irrigation agriculture upstream or to preservation and restoration a rare ecosystem downstream. This conflict is located at the interface of environmental and agricultural ethics. The case study is about Heihe River, agricultural demands for irrigation in the region of Zhangye, and endangered Tugai forest at downstream Heihe in Ejina oasis. Authors use a theoretical approach of environmental philosophy and rely on the concept of 'strong sustainability'. From this background two normative yardsticks are derived: a constant natural capital rule and the overall satisfactory goodness of a river basin. Both yardsticks are not met at Heihe. Downstream, we see the endangered Tugai forest as a location which should be preserved de re. We argue for a viable institutional water saving strategy within the agricultural areas of Zhangye district by which Tugai forests at downstream Heihe might be restored. Our case study indicates that even wicked problems can find proper and prudent solutions.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: Times Cited: 0 Ott, Konrad Kerschbaumer, Lilin Koebbing, Jan Felix Thevs, Niels
Keywords: Agricultural demands Heihe River Sustainability Tugai forest Water allocation Nature conservation
Research affiliation: OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence > FO-R03
Kiel University
Kiel University > Kiel Marine Science
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence > FO-R02
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1007/s10806-016-9640-9
ISSN: 1187-7863
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2017 14:15
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 20:15
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/36237

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