Losing the watershed focus: a look at complex community-managed irrigation systems in Bolivia

C. Saldías, R.A. Boelens, K. Wegerich, S. Speelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Water policies tend to misrecognize the complexity of community-managed irrigation systems. This paper focuses on water allocation practices in peasant communities of the Bolivian interandean valleys. These communities manage complex irrigation systems, and tap water from several surface sources, many of them located outside the watershed boundaries, resulting in complex hydro-social networks. Historical claims, organizational capacity, resources availability, and geographical position and infrastructure are identified as the main factors influencing current water allocation. Examining the historical background and context-based conceptualizations of space, place and water system development are crucial to understanding local management practices and to improving water policies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)744-759
JournalWater International
Volume37
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • resources management
  • river-basins
  • politics
  • governance
  • rights

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