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Call for Papers

Building Trust with Stakeholders in Water Supply Management


AQUA - Water Infrastructure, Ecosystems and Society, the newly relaunched interdisciplinary Open Access journal from IWA Publishing, is inviting submissions for a special issue on “Building Trust with Stakeholders in Water Supply Management”.

Establishing and maintaining trust between a water supplier and its stakeholders (those who are affected by, can affect, or have interest) is an invaluable investment for realizing success over the long term. Building trust through engagement and dialogue with stakeholders can lead to better decision making and garner support for investing in operation and maintenance, ensuring resilient water quantity and quality over the long term (Langsdale and Cardwell, 2022). 

Trust is built through honest and transparent interactions over time. It is also built on trustworthy business practices: demonstrating that decisions value public interests; charging fair rates for service; and providing a safe and reliable product. Engagement practices vary widely by context and objectives. A large urban utility might work with local officials on a public awareness campaign to build awareness and support for large infrastructure investments. A small village water supplier might bring community members together to strategize and build consensus on how to manage the water supply during a drought. Another supplier may have a permanent advisory council comprised of community representatives who oversee major decisions. 

In this special issue, contributions are encouraged on how water providers, managers and utilities are engaging their stakeholders to build trust so that the industry can identify and replicate best practices. We are particularly keen to include case studies from around the world. The aim is to generate insights into how different approaches for stakeholder engagement can build trust, how trust can support water resource management, and how existing and evolving challenges can be addressed. Some questions to explore include:

  • What information is exchanged with stakeholders? What roles are stakeholders given/taken to support water management? And, how does this participation build trust?
  • What engagement methods do stakeholders prefer? What novel strategies are water managers using to engage stakeholders?
  • Which factors are important for successful engagement with different stakeholders (e.g., residential water users, businesses and large water users, technical experts, elected representatives, other utilities) in different settings to generate trust?
  • On which water management issues and in which settings is it challenging to develop a trusting relationship? How do different (and perhaps novel) approaches to the engagement process address these challenges?
  • What can lead to a breakdown of trust? How can trust be restored after it is lost?
  • What benefits and outcomes have been observed from engaging stakeholders?
  • Who benefits from engaging with stakeholders?What mechanisms are there to ensure that the intended benefits arrive at the intended beneficiaries?
  • How does stakeholder engagement support resiliency and sustainability?

Key dates:

  • Deadline for manuscript submission: 14th July 2023
  • Expected publication: Articles will be published online as soon as possible after acceptance.

Submission Instructions

Authors should ensure their papers follow the AQUA guidelines for authors and upload their papers to the online peer review system using the Article Type “Special Issue Article” and category “Special Issue: Building Trust with Stakeholders.


  • Gemma Carr, Technical University Vienna, Austria
  • Stacy Langsdale, United States Army Corps of Engineers, Institute for Water Resources
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