Inderscience Publishers

The New Water Paradigm, human capabilities and strong sustainability

The ethical power of the New Water Paradigm (NWP) is assessed using a capabilities approach and theory of strong sustainability. The concepts of strong vs. weak sustainability, natural capital, and ecosystem services are explained, and the Old Water Paradigm (OWP) is contrasted with ecological claims at the core of the NWP. The analysis suggests that the NWP should enhance the capacity of ecosystems to cope with stress, a key objective of sustainability; and it should promote social goals associated with strong sustainability by meeting basic capabilities. Nevertheless, effective implementation of sustainability using the NWP will depend upon political commitment and social participation.

Keywords: NWP, new water paradigm, small water cycle, strong sustainability, capabilities approach, ecosystem services, resilience, hydraulic mission, climate, sustainable development, natural capital, ecosystems, political commitment, social participation

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