Our research has shown that water services are highly dependent on local needs and conditions; not only in terms of natural resources but also due to wider socio-institutional conditions. Instead of promoting one-fits-all solutions, we should think of alternative ways of managing water services. The solutions should be based on visionary and strategic thinking while also utilising institutional memory and lessons learnt. In that context path dependence – negative or positive – is highly relevant.
The complexity of water management means that there is no way for a single discipline or approach to cover all research needs. Thus, we need a variety of theories, approaches, methods, and strategies. The CADWES team argues that the bias in favour of a positivistic approach and natural sciences in water research results in inadequate answers to wider water governance challenges and institutional and management issues. We utilise diverse multi-, pluri-, cross-, and inter- disciplinary approaches in our projects, having team members with trans-disciplinary competence.
Sustainable and viable development unavoidably requires proper understanding of the pasts as a basis for formulating potential, probable and desirable futures. In this context, history – the pasts – has a high relevance. All countries, regions and communities have their own conditions and needs, although some general principles and practices can also be identified.
Hukka J.J, Katko T.S., Mattila H.E., Pietilä P.E., Sandelin S.K. & Seppälä O.T. 2007. Inadequacy of positivistic research to explain complexity of water management. International Journal of Water. Inderscience Enterprises Ltd. Vol. 3, no. 4. pp. 425-444. DOI: 10.1504/IJW.2007.016325.
Katko T., Juuti P. & Rajala R. 2009. Writing the history of water services. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth. Vol. 34, pp. 156-163. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pce.2008.06.033, www.elsevier.com/locate/pce