Peri-urban water security in a context of urbanization and climate change - A review of concepts and relationships by SaciWaters

This paper seeks to develop a shared understanding of some of the core concepts related to water security in a peri-urban context.

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It is a part of the peri-urban water security project discussion paper series that aims at having a collection of research papers relevant to the concepts and processes involved in the project that represent preliminary ideas circulated to encourage discussion and comments.

Though the relevant literature is cited at many places, this is not intended to be a literature review per se, but instead seeks to develop a shared framework to identify a set of common issues and questions that merit investigation.

The paper argues that peri-urban can be better understood in terms of its characteristics - a mix of agricultural and non-agricultural land uses, flows of goods, services and resources between villages and urban centers and a social profile that is very heterogeneous and in a state of flux. All these impact upon the local natural resource base, creating particular environmental and natural resource management problems that are often beyond the scope of urban or rural governments alone and require innovative ways of being addressed.

After a review of basic concepts and terms, a conceptual framework for our research linking water security, climate change and urbanization can be presented as follows:

In peri-urban contexts, water security is shaped by the twin processes of climate change and urbanization. These processes act as multiple stressors and create an uncertain water supply for peri-urban residents. Urbanization processes affect water security through changes in land use patterns which increase pressures on water resources as well as through the links between land tenure and water security. 

Peri-urban residents adapt to this situation using a mix of technologies and institutions. They, however, differ in their adaptive capacity as well as resilience, which is shaped in large part by their ability to mobilize social relationships, access to urban assets, linkages with the urban centres and access to technologies. As a result, peri-urban residents exhibit varying degrees of vulnerability. A key agenda for research is to identify who the most vulnerable groups or individuals are and how their vulnerabilities can be reduced.

This analytic framework is not meant to be a blueprint, but seeks to provide some common analytic framework to facilitate convergence across the research locations.

Download the paper here -



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