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From big solutions to small practices.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2008
JournalSocial Alternatives
Number of pages6
Original languageEnglish


This article examines the tensions between 'big' engineering solutions to sustainable water management and the role of the 'small' everyday innovations by domestic consumers. Using the recent drought in the south east of England as a case study, we explore how, within the context of the privatised water sector in England, different claims, and indeed future possibilities, are constructed by industry experts (water managers and regulators) in delimiting the role of providers and of the 'customer'. By juxtaposing accounts of everyday consumer practice and coping strategies with industry perspectives on the potentialities of charging schemes, water recycling, and leakage, we identify resistance to including the active consumer in the co-provision of alternative futures. In examining the reasons for such resistance we outline the possibilities for a 'co-productive' framework for sustainable water management and what this would mean for a reimagining of the active consumer and for policy.