Call for Proposals – Rights, Conflict, and Water

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Call for Proposals – Rights, Conflict, and Water

Open Rivers: Rethinking Water, Place & Community

Open Rivers: Rethinking Water, Place & Community logo

Open Rivers is currently inviting proposals for our 2025 issue on Rights, Conflict, and Water. Water is vital for people in myriad ways: drinking, cultural practices, food sources, industrial and agricultural practices, sanitation services, and more. The United Nations (UN) recognizes the human right to water and sanitation, but not everyone has equal access to safe, clean water, both because of ecological variables and because of sociopolitical conditions. Whether unable to find adequate water or unable to access culturally specific waters, these inequities create disputes and upheaval. As freshwater supplies are depleted, contaminated, or made inaccessible, tensions around water grow. Climate change will only intensify these problematic water conditions and result in more challenges and conflicts.

Intersections of Water Rights and Conflicts

Open Rivers seeks contributions that foreground the complexities and intersections of water rights and water conflicts. How is the right to water enacted in different contexts? How do “rights” and practices reciprocally inform each other? How are water rights allocated? How is water mobilized in sociopolitical practices and how is it weaponized? How does water contribute to larger social discord? How can our sociopolitical structures facilitate better relationships with people and place? What do we learn about water rights and conflicts from history? From art? And what are the rights of water itself?

We invite proposals from scholars, activists, artists, professionals, policymakers, community members, scientists, and practitioners who offer insight on rights, conflicts, and water broadly conceived. We encourage prospective authors to share work that furthers our understandings of the intersections of ecological and sociopolitical systems. We aim to publish content that will provoke thoughtful reflection, meaningful action, and ongoing public discussion.

Possible themes for submission may include:

  • Cooperative management of water resources
  • Water-sharing agreements
  • Transboundary water disputes
  • Militarization or weaponization of water
  • Rights of nature claims, practices, and campaigns related to water
  • Water insecurities that erupt as social and political conflict
  • Historical water conflicts
  • Environmental histories of places with water-stress or complex water rights and practices
  • Water access during COVID-19
  • Impacts of water stress on public health and sanitation services
  • UN Sustainable Development Goals and rights to water
  • Ecological and climatological conditions contributing to water stress and sociopolitical tensions
  • Experiences of women, children, LGBTQ, and gender nonconforming people in situations of water conflicts
  • Work at the intersection of water rights, crises, conflicts, and BIPOC communities
  • Analysis of water and ecological conditions as contributors to larger conflicts

Submission Process

To submit a proposal for consideration for this issue of Open Rivers, please prepare a short abstract (250 words or fewer) and complete the form at A committee will review the submissions and we will contact you within about a month of the submission deadline with more information. Before submitting, please review our submission guidelines and descriptions of our column types.

Deadlines for Abstract Submissions

For authors interested in writing peer reviewed feature articles (3,000-5,000 words): Monday, January 29th, 2024 (full articles will be due June 15th, 2024)

For feature articles (without peer review, 3,000-5,000 words) and columns (1,000-2,000 words): rolling deadline accepting submissions until 6 months before publication in 2025

If you have any questions, please contact us at

Feature Image: “Drop of Water” by The Jordan Collective is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
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Open Rivers: Rethinking Water, Place & Community is an open-access digital journal of public scholarship that provides a forum for critical conversations about the interconnections between ecological and social systems. Water is the lens through which we investigate the challenges of climate change, struggles for environmental justice, and the ways we know and relate to the natural world. Open Rivers brings together voices and perspectives of academics, community members, artists, advocates, students, practitioners and professionals who share concern for our water futures.

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