Social capital in water user organizations of the Ecuadorian Highlands

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20 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, I explore how new water user organizations have developed in formerly state managed irrigation systems in the Ecuadorian highlands since the 1990s. The article is based on an in-depth case study of the Pillaro irrigation system and illustrations of other cases. These water user organizations have become responsible for irrigation system management and maintenance, which has been carried out based on the mobilization of collective action. I argue that the support of external agents was important in their formation by facilitating internal looking social capital through the development of a shared normative framework and by fostering outward-looking social capital through the creation of networks and networking skills for the defense of collective rights and interests.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-357
JournalHuman Organization
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • irrigation systems
  • collective action
  • governance
  • management
  • mexico
  • rights
  • india
  • modernization
  • cooperation
  • chimborazo


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