Water policy reform and innovation: A systematic review

Environmental Science & Policy

Published On: February 1st, 2014

Author: Michele-Lee Moore, Suzanne von der Porten, Ryan Plummer,Oliver Brandes, Julia Baird


A growing need for innovation in water policy is increasingly recognized within water policy and governance scholarship, but the types of innovation and changes being considered or undertaken, and the conditions that enable or hinder those changes remain unclear. A systematic review of water policy reform literature was undertaken to investigate how innovation is defined in this area of scholarship and the enabling conditions or barriers shaping the innovation process. The findings of the review demonstrated that the mainstream water policy reform scholarship that examines innovation is limited. A small portion of the water policy reform literature that addresses innovation considers different types of policy changes as innovative. Therefore, the results are used to propose a typology of water policy innovations. Furthermore, the results demonstrated that preliminary knowledge about the role of policy entrepreneurs, networks, social learning, adaptive approaches, and niche experiments in the innovation process emerge in a sub-set of the water policy reform literature.

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Suggested Citation

Moore, M-L., von der Porten, S., Plummer, R., Brandes, O.M., & Baird. J. (2014). Water policy reform and innovation: A systematic review. Environmental Science & Policy, available online February 6, 2014.