From Spain’s hydro-deadlock to the desalination fix

Joe Williams, Erik Swyngedouw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


The inception of Spain’s ‘new water politics’ in 2004 elevated seawater desalination from supplementary water supply to an alleged panacea for the country’s recurrent water crises. Desalination became the subject of an extraordinary and delicate consensus that strategically aligned disparate (and sometimes unlikely) actors. This movement, the paper argues, represents a techno-managerial attempt to remove political dissent from the sphere of water governance, and to build regional and national consensus around a re-imagined productionist logic for Spain’s hydraulic development. The paper outlines six contradictions of desalination, however, that together form a potential terrain for a repoliticization of the Spanish waterscape.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-73
JournalWater International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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