Political Ecology of Water Presentation


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Presentation that went along with my 2009 paper for the Macalester-Maastricht journal about globalization's effects on the governance of transboundary watercourses.

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  • Section 27 of Constitution – sufficient water is the quantity of water required for dignified human existence – the Water Services Act 108 of 1997 does not deprive anyone of the right of access to sufficient water in terms of s 27(1) – a person who cannot afford to pay for water has no access to water being charged for – local authority obliged to supply free water to residents who cannot afford to pay for the water if reasonable to expect it to do so – prepayment water meters used by appellants not authorised by bylaws and unlawful. ( City of Johannesburg v L Mazibuko (489/08) [2009] ZASCA 20)
  • Political Ecology of Water Presentation

    1. 1. Globalization and The Political Ecology of Water: An exploration of Globalization’s effect on transboundary watercourse management Elizabeth Larson Macalester College Fall 2008: University of Cape Town
    2. 2. Water <ul><li>Fresh water is water with less than 500 parts per million (ppm) of dissolved salts </li></ul><ul><li>0.3% of water on Earth is fresh surface water </li></ul><ul><li>“ With current projected human population growth, industrial development and the expansion of irrigated agriculture in the next two decades, water demand will rise to levels that will make the task of providing water for human sustenance more difficult.” (UNEP website) </li></ul>
    3. 3. Outline of Presentation <ul><li>Research Questions </li></ul><ul><li>Three aspects of Globalization: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Economic globalization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supra-national institutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Global civil society </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Case Study: Orange River </li></ul><ul><li>Case Study: Meuse River </li></ul><ul><li>Lessons and Conclusion </li></ul>
    4. 4. Research Questions <ul><li>How have the processes of globalization impacted transboundary watercourse management? </li></ul><ul><li>Who are the actors in this management? </li></ul><ul><li>How do they apply different discourses surrounding water that have come out of the global era? </li></ul>
    5. 6. What is Globalization? <ul><li>“… the processes through which soveriegn national states are criss-crossed and undermined by transnational actors with varying prospects of power, orientations, identities, and networks” (Beck, 2000, p.11) </li></ul><ul><li>“ the physical effects of our decisions spill across national frontiers” (Bruntdland Report, 1987, p.27) </li></ul>
    6. 7. Economic Globalization <ul><li>The process of increasing economic integration between countries, leading to a single world market under principles of neoiberalism </li></ul><ul><li>Discourse of water as an economic good / private good </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“… water has an economic value, and should be recognized as an economic good…” (Dublin Conference, 1992) </li></ul></ul>
    7. 8. Supra-national Institutions <ul><li>Regional and Global institutions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The European Union (EU), The Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the United Nations (UN) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Encouraged integrative management strategies and cooperation between states, as well as discourse of water as a human right </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“… ‘ the problem of water supply…will become more political in the twenty-first century…in an urbanised planet, with nearly eight billion inhabitants by the year 2020, water will be as strategically vital for living as petroleum’” ( Shiva 2002 qtd in Robbins, 2003, p. 1073) </li></ul></ul>
    8. 9. Global Civil Society <ul><li>Environmental and Human Rights movements </li></ul><ul><li>Non-governmental Organizations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Greenpeace, Amnesty International </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“… environmentalists consider the global ecology; human rights activists start their analysis with the fundamental inequality of the distribution of water…” (Raadschelders, 2005,p. 4) </li></ul><ul><li>Discourse of integral worth of the environment </li></ul>
    9. 10. Orange River Case Study: Orange River Southern Africa
    10. 11. Lesotho Highlands Water Project <ul><li>Aim: divert about 40% of the water in the Orange river basin into South Africa’s Vaal river system in Gauteng province, where the water would then go to the area around Johannesburg. </li></ul><ul><li>Achieved by a system of five dams and a tunnel to the Vaal, altering the natural course of the Orange river (Horta, 1995, p. 228) </li></ul><ul><li>Displaced persons, Environmental damage </li></ul>
    11. 12. LHWP and the World Bank <ul><li>The World Bank main governing body involved in LHWP </li></ul><ul><li>The World Bank - supplying clean water to the poor can be done through the private sector </li></ul><ul><ul><li>evidence suggests that enforcing full cost recovery allows the rich to use as much water as they like while the poor continue to suffer from lack of access ( Robbins, 2003, p.1078) </li></ul></ul>
    12. 13. Water: Private Good or Human Right? <ul><li>Johannesburg Water installed pre-paid meters in Townships under guise of sustainability to implement full-cost recovery (Von Schnitzler, 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>City of Johannesburg v L Mazibuko (489/08) [2009] ZASCA 20 (25 March 2009) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Court of Appeals found the pre-paid meters unconstitutional </li></ul></ul>
    13. 14. Case Study: Meuse River North-Western Europe
    14. 15. Instutituional Interactions <ul><li>Rijkswaterstaat in Limburg works with Belgium (Flanders and Wallonia) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rise of EU and Water Framework Directive has strengthened partnerships </li></ul></ul><ul><li>EU-level law has given Flanders and Limburg more grounds to pressure Wallonia about pollution control (Janssen interview) </li></ul>
    15. 16. Environmental Concerns <ul><li>“ The Netherlands…is by its location vulnerable to transboundary water pollution.” (Van Dunne, 1999, p.303) </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental movement of the 80’s influenced increased concern for water quality, prompting several projects (Janssen interview) </li></ul>
    16. 17. Lessons and Conclusion <ul><li>“ To understand the contemporary and future challenge of water management truly requires an inter-disciplinary perspective” (Raadschelders, 2005, p.4) </li></ul><ul><li>Complex interaction of processes of globalization requires analysis through broad lens of Political Ecology </li></ul><ul><li>Competing discourses will make future of water manangement important and exciting. </li></ul>
    17. 18. THE END Thank you!! Are there any questions?
    18. 19. Works Cited <ul><li>City of Johannesburg v L Mazibuko (489/08) [2009] ZASCA 20 (25 March 2009) </li></ul><ul><li>Horta, Korinna. &quot;The Mountain Kingdom's White Oil.&quot; The Ecologist 6th ser. 25.Nov (1995): 227-231. </li></ul><ul><li>Janssen, Aldo. Personal Interview. 6 May 2009. </li></ul><ul><li>Our common future. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1987. </li></ul><ul><li>Robbins, Peter T. &quot;Transnational Corporations and the Discourse of Water Privatization.&quot; Journal of International Development 15 (2003): 1073-082. </li></ul><ul><li>Raadschelders, Jos C.N., and J.C.N. Raadschelders. &quot;Fresh Water Management as Collective Action in Time: a multi-dimensional and multi-level challenge of governance in an inter-disciplinary context.&quot; The Institutional Arrangements for Water Management in the 19th and 20th Centuries . IOS P, 2005. 1-21. </li></ul><ul><li>United Nations Environment Programme http://www.unep.org </li></ul><ul><li>Von Schnitzler, Antina. &quot;Citizenship Prepaid: Water, Calculability, and Techno-Politics in South Africa.&quot; Journal of Southern African Studies 34 (2008): 899-917. </li></ul><ul><li>Van Dunne, Jan M. &quot;Transboundary pollution and liability issues: private law vs public international law approaches. The cases of the rivers Rhine and Meuse.&quot; Acta Juridica 30 (1999): 303-38. </li></ul>