The moral hazards of smart water management


Research output: Contribution to journalArticles


Smart water management (SWM) brings technological sophistication to water governance by providing monitoring, operational and communications capacities through real-time information. SWM's quantification appeals to metric-driven governance but, we argue, also perpetuates a technocratic and instrumental-rationalist mindset. The peril of this mindset is that it sees technology as a solution for sustainability problems caused by deep-seated structural and behavioural faults. This essay reflects on this dynamic by siting the SWM concept within discussions about technocracy, moral hazard and power dynamics. It suggests that SWM's rhetorical positioning undermines its own goals while naively seeking universal applicability, resolvable by embracing the precautionary principle. Copyright © 2020 International Water Resources Association.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWater International
Early online dateAug 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Aug 2020


Hartley, K., & Kuecker, G. (2020). The moral hazards of smart water management. Water International. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/02508060.2020.1805579


  • Smart water management
  • Technocracy
  • Public policy
  • Sustainability
  • South Korea

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