Large-scale water infrastructure, territorial transformation and water rights dispossession

Rutgerd Boelens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


This chapter uses a political ecology approach to examine how large dams and mega-hydraulic infrastructure in many parts of the world dispossess smallholder families and communities of their water and water rights, transforming and disintegrating territories environmentally and socially. It deploys the notion of ‘hydraulic property creation’ to look at the relationships among hydraulic infrastructure development and changing water rights frameworks. It contrasts mega-hydraulic projects that separate designer-builder and user worlds, and user-developed hydraulic systems. It presents important points of attention for more people- and nature-inclusive water governance and hydraulic intervention projects that build on social and environmental justice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationElgar Encyclopedia of Environmental Law
EditorsM. Faure
PublisherEdward Elgar
ISBN (Electronic)9781785369520
ISBN (Print)9781786436986
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2021


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