Scalar Politics in Sectoral Reforms: Negotiating the Implementation Of water Policies in Ecuador (1990-2008)

Jaime Hoogesteger van Dijk, Yisenia Tiaguaro-Rea, Edwin Rap, Juan Pablo Hidalgo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


In Ecuador neo-liberal reforms in the 1990s transformed the water and irrigation sector at different scales. We analyze how these neoliberal reforms were implemented from the top-down by the World Bank and the national government, as well as how from the grassroots water users negotiated these policies and their implementation at local and national level. We show that these sectoral reforms were politically contested as it changed roles, responsibilities, and authority at different scales of governance. This is evidenced by the fact that locally the relationships between water users, differently scaled state agencies, and broader networks greatly determined how water users associations negotiated the irrigation management transfer program as well as the development of new water policies. Our analysis highlights how the alliances that differently positioned actors create to navigate water policy implementation shape the scalar and the political dimensions of sectoral reforms. It shows that actors need multi-scalar networks of support to develop political leverage, overcome opposition, and materialize projects in the water governance domain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-309
JournalWorld Development
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Decentralization
  • Ecuador
  • Grassroots struggles
  • Irrigation reforms
  • Water user associations


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