Volume 32, Issue 2

March 2016

Editorial »
Cecilia Tortajada

Research Article

Complicating neoliberalization and decentralization: the non-linear experience of Colombian water supply, 1909–2012

Tatiana Acevedo Guerreroa, Kathryn Furlonga and Jeimy Ariasb
aDépartement de géographie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada; bUniversidad Nacional de Colombia, Instituto de Estudios Políticos IEPRI, Bogotá, Colombia

Contact: Tatiana Acevedo Guerrero | Email: tatiana.acevedo@umontreal.ca


This article presents key elements in the evolution of water supply regulation in Colombia over the twentieth century. This is novel in that it contradicts widely accepted and seemingly universal trends in water supply development. By putting apparently recent phenomena into a longer historical trajectory, we are able to nuance the idea of a unidirectional transition from centralized to decentralized governance, as well as the evolution of policies associated with neoliberalization. We find that regulatory development began at the municipal scale in the 1920s, only to be centralized mid-century. By the same token, policies typically associated with neoliberalization – such as corporatization, full cost recovery, and volumetric metering – began in the 1910s and 1920s and not under neoliberalism in the 1980s. The work is based on a database compiled by the authors. The database comprises municipal, departmental and state regulatory interventions from 1909 to 2012.

Pages: 172-188


Research Article

Impacts and interaction in irrigation development in central Chile

Peter Frederiksen
Department of Environment, Society and Spatial Change, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark

Contact: Peter Frederiksen | E-mail: pfred@ruc.dk


The purpose of this study was to apply an innovative model of expansion to irrigation management and development in fruit exporting regions in central Chile. The model showed how external influences (globalization, climate, mountains) and complex adaptive systems (water conflicts, institutions and markets) influenced the evolution of irrigation development (the extension and emergence of novel properties) towards constructive (planned irrigation development) and destructive (climate change) futures. The model was simple, geometrical, consistent and future oriented. It was an innovative representation of expanding irrigation development and valuable to entrepreneurial water developers because it described the macro-scale processes involved in irrigation development.

Pages: 189-202


Research Article

Institutional arrangements for the use of treated effluent in irrigation, Western Cape, South Africa 

Cecilia Saldíasa, Stijn Speelmana, Barbara van Koppenb and Guido van Huylenbroecka
aDepartment of Agricultural Economics, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; bInternational Water Management Institute, Pretoria, South Africa

Contact: Cecilia Saldías | Email: cecilia.saldiaszambrana@ugent.be


Wastewater is increasingly regarded as a valuable resource, but to fully and safely exploit the potential, sound institutional arrangements governing its reuse are crucial. This article presents a case study of a self-managed irrigation scheme in Western Cape, South Africa, that uses treated effluent directly, formally and safely. By applying the Institutional Analysis and Development framework, the variables within the context, action arena and patterns of interaction that have enabled this outcome are systematically identified and evaluated. Key variables include: water scarcity; an effective policy and regulatory framework; public pollution prevention awareness; self-organization; and capital-intensive water use linked to profitable markets.

Pages: 203-218


Research Article

Institutional arrangements for watershed development programmes in Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh, India: an explorative study

Biswajit Mondala, Alka Singhb, I. Sekarb, M.K. Sinhac, Suresh Kumard and D. Ramajayame
aCentral Rice Research Institute (CRRI), Cuttack, India; bIndian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi, India; cDirectorate of Water Management, Bhubaneswar, India; dCentral Soil and Water Conservation Research and Training Institute, Research Centre, Bellary, India; eNational Research Centre for Oil Palm, Pedavegi, West Godavari District, India

Contact: Biswajit Mondal | Email: bisumondal@rediffmail.com


This study explored institutional arrangements with regard to government-sponsored watershed development programmes in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh, India. The appraisal of structure and role of institutions at different levels revealed adequate representation of various social groups, but the associations among stakeholder institutions as well as various resource agencies were found to be weak. A glance at the component-wise expenditure pattern showed an unequal emphasis and funding support between land–water development and livelihood activities. Responses from beneficiary respondents revealed a strong adherence to socio-economic and political issues by non-governmental organizations as well as technical issues by government organizations during implementation of the watershed programmes.

Pages: 219-231


Research Article

Hydraulic bureaucracies and Irrigation Management Transfer in Uzbekistan: the case of Samarkand Province

Andrea Zinzani
CNRS, UMR 7528, Mondes Iranien et Indien, Ivry sur Seine, Paris (FMSH – Fernand Braudel Programme Action Marie Curie), France

Contact: Andrea Zinzani | Email: andreazinzani@yahoo.it


Since the 1990s, Irrigation Management Transfer has been considered the world over to be a policy aimed at rolling back state influence in water management according to a neo-liberal approach. The initiative was endorsed by international organizations as a way of reforming the water sector in developing countries. Reflecting on this process, the role of hydraulic bureaucracies in driving reforms oriented towards IMT has often been neglected in academic debate. This article discusses the logic of IMT implementation and the establishment of Water Users’ Associations (WUAs) in Uzbekistan, specifically in Samarkand province. These dynamics have been analysed over the last 10 years showing different trajectories within Uzbekistan. Data were collected through extensive fieldwork in three districts in Samarkand province. The evidence acquired shows that, on the one hand, WUAs were established to be a new structure for state control over water and agriculture, in conflict with IMT rationale, and, on the other, that WUAs were created in the province as a result of a local initiative promoted by the hydraulic bureaucracy and accepted by the national authorities due to influential power relations.

Pages: 232-246


Research Article

Hydropower production without sacrificing environment: a case study of Ilisu Dam and Hasankeyf

Emrah Yalcina and Sahnaz Tigrekb
aDepartment of Civil Engineering, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey; bDepartment of Civil Engineering, Batman University, Turkey

Contact: Emrah Yalcin | Email: emrah.yalcin@metu.edu.tr


The Ilisu Dam and HEPP Project, on the Tigris River in the South-Eastern Anatolia Region of Turkey, has been under debate for more than half a century due to its possible adverse effects on the environment. In particular, the proposed inundation of the archaeological sites around Hasankeyf has prompted strong criticism from national and international organizations. The primary reason for the administration’s insistence on construction of the dam is its energy production capacity. The present study is an assessment of an alternative solution that not only saves Hasankeyf with its countless ancient monuments from inundation but also supplies the projected energy production of Ilisu Dam.

Pages: 247-266


Research Article

The impacts of hydropower development on rural livelihood sustenance 

Eric Ochieng Okukua,b, Steven Bouillona, Jacob Odhiambo Ochiewob,c, Fridah Munyib, Linet Imbayi Kiteresib and Mwakio Toled
aDepartment of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; bKenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, Mombasa, Kenya; cDepartment of Development Studies, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya; dDepartment of Environmental Sciences, Pwani University, School of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Kilifi, Kenya

Contact: Eric Ochieng Okuku | Email: ochiengokuku2003@yahoo.com


The existing reservoirs on the River Tana (Kenya) were mainly constructed for hydropower generation, with inadequate consideration of the long-term impacts on downstream livelihoods. We investigated the impacts of the reservoirs on people’s livelihoods downstream. The results showed a few positive impacts in the vicinity of the reservoirs and numerous negative impacts downstream (i.e. reduced flood-recess agriculture and floodplain pastoralism, and escalating resource-use conflicts). Inadequate stakeholders’ consultation during reservoir development was also observed. We recommend a detailed basin-wide socioeconomic assessment for future reservoir developments and controlled flood release to simulate the natural flow regime, thereby restoring indigenous flood-based livelihoods while retaining sufficient reserves for power generation.

Pages: 267-285


Research Article

The impacts of dams on local livelihoods: a study of the Bui Hydroelectric Project in Ghana

Peter Bilson Oboura*, Kwadwo Owusub, Edmond Akwasi Agyemanc, Albert Ahenkand and Ángel Navarro Madride
aDepartment of Agroecology, Faculty of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Denmark; bDepartment of Geography and Resource Development, University of Ghana, Accra; cCentre for African Studies, University of Education, Winneba, Ghana; dDepartment of Public Administration and Health Services Management, University of Ghana, Accra; eDepartamento de Análisis Geográfico Regional y Geografía Física, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

Contact: Peter Bilson Obour | Email: kopbilson@yahoo.com


The construction of the Bui Dam was expected to boost socio-economic development in Ghana. This article examines the impacts of the project on the livelihoods of the local people. Data were collected using a mixed-research approach and a case-study design. The study finds that, while there have been significant improvements with respect to resettlement and compensation issues as compared to the earlier dam projects in Ghana, there are still some shortfalls. It is recommended that agriculture be improved by providing extension services and inputs to improve food security and the economic
status of the local people.

Pages: 286-300


Research Article

Water megaprojects in deserts and drylands

Troy Sternberg
School of Geography, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Contact: Troy Sternberg | Email: troy.sternberg@geog.ox.ac.uk


Water megaprojects reconfigure the conception and use of desert landscapes. Driven by limited water resources, increasing demand and growing populations, projects are framed by statements of water delivered, end-users served and local benefits. Decisionmaking processes, socio-economic costs and environmental implications receive less attention. Research examines the motivations involved and evaluates the challenges of water megaprojects in deserts, including the Great Manmade River (Libya), the Southto-North Water Transfer Scheme (China), the Central Arizona Project (United States) and the Greater Anatolia Project (Turkey), and assesses related projects exemplifying the diversity of water projects in drylands. Their viability and efficacy depends on human motivations and interpretations.

Pages: 301-320


Research Article

Dry season water allocation in the Chao Phraya River basin, Thailand 

Mari Takedaa, Athit Laphimsingb and Aksara Putthividhyab
aAgriculture and Resource Economics, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan; bWater Resources Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Contact:  Mari Takeda | Email: atakeda@mail.ecc.u-tokyo.ac.jp


This study examines the recent quantitative characteristics of dry season water allocation in the Chao Phraya River basin, Thailand. Previous studies have focused on inequitable allocation, where the highest priority is given to the domestic water sector and uneven irrigation water variability exists among projects in the delta. This study uses a statistical test and panel data analysis to confirm that the characteristics highlighted in previous studies remain accurate, and it discusses the source of these characteristics in order to understand the issues in water allocation in the Chao Phraya River delta.

Pages: 321-338