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This dissertation deals with the policy issues of large-scale, urban water privatisation projects in the face of uncertainty and variability. The main objective is to evaluate whether a single policy approach, namely privatisation associated with the Melamchi Water Supply Project, is appropriate in the face of a dynamic natural and cultural heterogeneity in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. In line with this objective, the main research findings are that there are multiple policy debates, which appear to reflect competing perceptions of the legitimacy water crisis. However, the resolution of the debate over whose definition of the water problem prevails largely determines the policy outcome. With respect to this, Cultural Theory has been chosen as a heuristic device to provide some order to the different perceptions that were uncovered in the policy dispute. The key findings show that due to a market-oriented shift in the policy arena, the Melamchi Water Supply Project along with its privatisation scheme is considered by Nepal’s officials as the only alternative to water scarcity in the Kathmandu Valley. Yet, the analysis of the urban water project deduced that this singular policy approach would be ‘locked into’ a water-based technological design model through a path-dependent process, which makes it prone to delays and failures in the face of a dynamic, heterogeneous environment. Therefore, it is recommended instead to focus on ‘clumsy’, ‘resilient’ institutions in order to respond to internal and external constraints. That is, the Melamchi project and its private water market around the existing multiplicity of water service approaches in the Valley.