Elisa Savelli

About me

My interest lies in challenging current water sector narratives that perpetuate inequalities and do not adequately respond to human and environmental needs


My PhD research addresses the uneven challenges that floods and droughts represent for today society. It aims to historically and spatially retrace the production of hydrological risks and uncover the ways in which risk unfold within and across different scales. I will use Cape Town as case study, as its metropolitan and surrounding areas recently experienced their most severe drought in the last century.
To retrace the production of water related risks, I will combine quantitative assessments of water availability and distribution at different scales (neighbourhood, city and region) with qualitative data and analysis of the socio-political factors that have co-shaped the hydrological regime and eventually produced the current geography of drought risk.

Key publications

  • Savelli, E., Schwartz, K., & Ahlers, R. (2018). The Dutch aid and trade policy: Policy discourses versus development practices in the Kenyan water and sanitation sector. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space. DOI: 10.1177/0263774X18803364
  • Schwartz, K., Tutusaus, M. & Savelli, E, (2017). “Water for the urban poor: Balancing financial and social objectives through service differentiation in the Kenyan water sector,” Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 22-31. DOI: 10.1016/j.jup.2017.08.001

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