Tuesday, October 11, 2011


PUBLICATION: Policies, politics and realities of small dams in the rural South

A new issue of Water Alternatives has a special section on Policies, politics and realities of small dams in the rural South.

This special issue on the Policies, Politics and Realities of Small Reservoirs in the Rural South was prompted by a simple observation: since the 1980s, the questions that revolve around small reservoirs have evolved little despite continuous development and academic attention to the topic worldwide. Continuous interests and related investments in small reservoirs in the context of long-known challenges and opportunities echo an observation by Diemer and Vincent (1992) on the "failure of collective memory and collective action" and reinforces a tendency to reiterate long-known problems in the field of irrigation in Africa (Lankford, 2009). Rather than providing normative answers to questions surrounding small reservoirs, the papers in this collection help understand how this 'stabilisation' of the debate came into being. Here, small reservoirs in the rural South provide an opportunity to better understand the emergence, malleability and persistence of specific 'models' for rural development, that is, interventions which ostensibly embody a dimension of 'success' and whose shortcomings are generally downplayed and framed as mere 'externalities' associated with the context of implementation (Molle, 2008). More specifically, and in line with critical analysts of development and environmental processes, we demonstrate the importance of looking at discursive framings of past and current agricultural water management projects and policies to understand how and what they do in practice for multiple actors.

Articles available here.

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