There is a forceful new impetus toward mega-hydraulic projects in Latin America, which are booming but also highly controversial. They bring benefits to some social groups while many others are negatively affected. Technocratic discourses are dominant in the region; they strategically mobilize institutions, infrastructure, money, and knowledge to present particular hydrosocial territorial imaginaries—such as multipurpose dams—as natural, universal, and politically neutral. Meanwhile, affected local communities commonly envision and practice different discourses, values, and worldviews, based on contextualized notions of well-being and territoriality. Using a political ecology perspective, this article examines how the Daule-Peripa mega-hydraulic scheme—Ecuador’s “hydraulic heart”—has de- and repatterned the territory, producing new hierarchical relations and unequal distribution of socioenvironmental impacts. Though political discourses have changed throughout state-centralist and neoliberal époques, governmental policies and practices have continued and renewed their defense of mega-hydraulism. In turn, affected communities and families, through everyday territorial politics, respond and aim to rearrange the hydrosocial network in order to regain control over water, land, and territorial services.
Hidalgo-Bastidas, J. P., Boelens, R. A., & Isch, E. (2018). Hydroterritorial Configuration and Confrontation: The Daule-Peripa Multipurpose Hydraulic Scheme in Coastal Ecuador. Latin American Research Review (LARR), 53(3), 517-534. https://doi.org/10.25222/larr.362