Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How colliding cultures cause water shortages

13.02.2006


Rainmakers and civil servants, specialists and farmers understand water policies in markedly different ways. This is why international policy instruments for managing water resources do not succeed, and the consequence is water shortage. This is shown in a dissertation in political science from Göteborg University in Sweden.



Every year five million people die because of the lack of clean water. This is not because we lack the knowledge to manage water or even because there is not enough water, but because of how we regulate and organize water resources. Therefore, international experts have developed a coordinated policy for water management, combining ecological, market, and democratic principles. More and more countries and international organizations are subscribing to this so-called ‘Integrated Water Resource Management,’ (IWRM).

Is IWRM thus the solution to the extensive misuse of water?


Political scientist Patrik Stålgren’s dissertation examines what happened with IWRM when the policy was implemented in Zimbabwe. He points out how various water users have different conceptions of water. They inhabit different worlds of water.

“If various players have different interpretations of IWRM, their cooperation is hampered. For an international policy instrument like IWRM to be able to support national decisions, we must first understand how it is interpreted by national and local water users,” says Patrik Stålgren.

When IWRM is implemented, it is reinterpreted by water users from the perspective of their respective water worlds. IWRM will therefore mean different things to different players. Patrik Stålgren develops an analytical model for understanding how these reinterpretations occur and how this impacts the outcome of IWRM. The model is based on international political theory and is elaborated with the help of number of interviews from Zimbabwe, one of the first countries in the world to reform its water policy in keeping with IWRM. Today the policy is advocated by the UN, and all international assistance donors use IWRM as a basis for supporting water management in developing countries.

Stålgren’s analysis shows that there are four worlds of water in Zimbabwe. Each one interprets IWRM differently. “Water as Zimbabwe” is embraced by the government and is based on a striving to build a unified nation-state, but at the same time it includes powerful racial categories that fuel the interpretation of IWRM. “Water as Gold” characterizes the commercial farmers’ reinterpretation, based on a historical notion of how the white man brought the fruits of civilization to the black Africans.

The third perspective, “Water as Science,” is typical of the engineers that administrate water in Zimbabwe. Patrik Stålgren shows how IWRM caused a series of conflicts among various groups of engineers, which led to this reinterpretation.

He interviewed several so-called ‘rainmakers’ and spiritual mediums about their views on IWRM. Their world, “Water as a Gift from the Gods,” is based on the idea that the spirits of their ancestors govern the distribution of water. They reinterpret IWRM so as not to let it threaten their world view and social positions.

“If rainmakers, civil servants, and international assistance workers understood each other’s world views better, then water management would function better. We have to factor this into Swedish and international assistance policies if we are to be in a position to help save those who are dying today because of a lack of water,” concludes Patrik Stålgren.

Title of dissertation: Worlds of Water: Worlds Apart

| alfa
Further information:
http://www.gu.se
http://www.vr.se

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht When corals eat plastics
24.05.2018 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>