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Going with the Flow: The State of Contemporary Studies of Water Management in Latin America

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Trawick, Paul
Journal: Latin American Research Review
Volume: 40
Date: 2005
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/3270
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: South America
Central America & Caribbean
Subject(s): water resources--literature review
irrigation--literature review
environmental policy--literature review
participatory management--literature review
Abstract: "The author reviews four recent volumes on successful farmer-operated irrigation systems in Mexico, the Andes and other parts of Latin America, arguing that the authors, due to their ideological commitment to a post-structuralist point-of-view, have overlooked the fact that all the successful systems they describe are of one basic type, in which 'equity' of fairness among water rights and between those rights and accompanying duties have been defined concretely by local farmers themselves in almost precisely the same way in each case. The differences between these local systems, he argues, are far outweighed by the similarities between them, which indicate that they are of a single 'moral economy' type, based on the central principles of equity and transparency. This insistence on overemphasizing superficial differences between irrigation systems at the expense of basic and profound similarities between them is argued to have had a negative impact on the effort to improve water management in Latin America and come up with new and better national water laws to govern resource use."

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