Water policies


In a context of transition towards sustainability or climate change adaptation, metropolises manage urban services and conduct water resource policies. Through an approach based on the urban metabolism, cities that consider themselves as part of the large natural water cycle, through a small artificial cycle (extraction and discharge), intend to reduce their water footprint and tend to adopt a more cross-cutting approach to urban services. This class will present the main actors of urban water and will propose keys to understanding the main current issues, and frameworks for understanding sustainability, based on a spatial (different geographical situations), technical-environmental (networks, stations, smart solutions), socio-economic (pricing of services, water charges) or political-legal (right to water, public service law) analysis. From the point of view of territorialized public action, the analysis can be carried out at different scales (especially metropolitan, but also European, large catchment areas, plots).


  • Blanchon D., Atlas mondial de l’eau. Défendre et partager notre bien commun. Éditions Autrement, 2013.
  • Defeuilley C., L’Entrepreneur et le Prince. La création du service public de l’eau. Presses de Sciences Po, 2017.
  • Hellier E, et al., La France, la ressource en eau : usages, gestions et enjeux territoriaux. Éditions Armand Colin, collection U, 2009.
  • Institut de la gestion déléguée, 2013, Atlas de la gestion des services publics locaux dans les villes de France de 40 000 habitants et plus. [En ligne]
  • Vaucelle S., 2015, Avec et sans tuyaux, l’eau dans la ville durable, Urbanités #6, Dossier La ville et les tuyaux, nov.2015. [En ligne]

Educational formula

Following the class, students will study a case individually or in pairs (free choice) and will write an  illustrated report. In class, students will be able to present their subject for validation and/or help in reformulating it.


In brief

Year Fifth year

Teaching languageFrench

Teaching term Six-monthly

Number of hours 6.0

Teaching activitySeminar

ValidationContinuous assessment

Mandatory teaching



Educational manager :
Vaucelle Sandrine [+]