Reflections on Water: historical and contemporary Mark Harvey
Reconstructing water Who drinks it? When? A fundamental human right? Water for what? Historical differentiations and  inte...
An historical political economy approach <ul><li>Configurations of production, distribution, appropriation and consumption...
Trajectories of consumption and consumption work <ul><li>Different waters for different uses – until 20 th  century </li><...
Trajectories of water production <ul><li>Urbanisation of supply </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increasing reliance on river-supply,...
Water quality technology: reservoir for storage, successive sand-filter beds.
Trajectories of distribution <ul><li>From carrying to piping </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiplication of fountains and stand-p...
The New River: ‘flowing’ by 1614 <ul><li>Gravity fed over 40 miles </li></ul><ul><li>Supplying 50,000 houses in 1800 </li>...
Production and distribution. Metropolitan Water Board 1953
The great sustainability crisis <ul><li>The integration of water for multiple domestic uses </li></ul><ul><li>The integrat...
Edwin Chadwick: “ All smell is disease” 1831 The arrival of cholera in England at the port of Sunderland John Snow, 1854 T...
Bazalgette’s Low Level Intercept Sewer, 1860.
Taking shit out to sea:  London’s solid sewage disposal 1887-1997
 
Appropriation and exchange <ul><li>From feudal rights, some ‘commons rights’, some ‘free’ goods, for personal use, to priv...
History in a “water” bill: still more a tax than a price
The politics of water <ul><li>Conflicts over rights over water resources </li></ul><ul><li>Regulation of quality and suppl...
Instituted economies of water <ul><li>Processes of instituting economies of water: complex interactions between emergent d...
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Reflections on water – historical and contemporary

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Mark Harvey. Paper presented at CRESI Seminar, 20 October 2011, University of Essex

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Transcript of "Reflections on water – historical and contemporary"

  1. 1. Reflections on Water: historical and contemporary Mark Harvey
  2. 2. Reconstructing water Who drinks it? When? A fundamental human right? Water for what? Historical differentiations and integrations in use and quality Water and waste: pipes, water closets and sewers Whose Water? Public good or commercial commodity? Whence water? Geographies of sources and flows: tap and bottled, cities, countryside.
  3. 3. An historical political economy approach <ul><li>Configurations of production, distribution, appropriation and consumption: ‘instituted economic processes’ </li></ul><ul><li>Politico-socio-economies of water </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cultures of water, historical mutations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Historical and comparative: France and the UK, Delhi……. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Trajectories of consumption and consumption work <ul><li>Different waters for different uses – until 20 th century </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Washing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Clothes – laundering, wash-houses </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Self – if, how often, when, where (home, bath-houses, wash-houses, rivers) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Drinking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Spring, well, pump, river, household taps, bottles </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Drinking small beer, tea, coffee, carbonnated……forms of drinking water </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wastewater </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consumption work </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fetching: buying from water-carriers, going to pumps/wells, supermarkets….. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Purifying: water filters, boiling, storing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Distributing within the home from basement, cistern, storing against intermittent supply </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Managing cesspits, paying night-soil collectors, digging holes (or not) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organising and installing plumbing </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Trajectories of water production <ul><li>Urbanisation of supply </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increasing reliance on river-supply, contamination of wells/springs. Water wheels for lifting river water. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Integration or differentiation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The emergence of ‘all-purpose’ domestic water. Water is just water. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dual supply systems? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Purification and quality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Drawing from purer sources – upstream, river sources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reservoirs and sand filtration. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chlorination from early 20 th century, stabilised technology only by 1950s….. to UV, microfiltering, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Early to mid-19 th century regulation of aesthetic quality </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Increase in volume per capita </li></ul><ul><ul><li>From 20 gallons per capita per day (1850) to 90 gallons (1875) </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Water quality technology: reservoir for storage, successive sand-filter beds.
  7. 7. Trajectories of distribution <ul><li>From carrying to piping </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiplication of fountains and stand-pipes. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>From conduits to wooden pipes: connecting houses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Water by gravity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Building water towers, and lifting water by horse then steam-engine </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The arrival of cast-iron pipes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Water by pressure, steam powered engines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enabling universal continuous water supply under pressure (early 20 th century in UK; late 20 th century France) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Waste water </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Separation of draining surface from industrial or domestic waste water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The slow WC revolution (the persistence of ‘middens’) </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. The New River: ‘flowing’ by 1614 <ul><li>Gravity fed over 40 miles </li></ul><ul><li>Supplying 50,000 houses in 1800 </li></ul><ul><li>22.5 million gallons of water </li></ul><ul><li>per day in 1950 </li></ul>
  9. 9. Production and distribution. Metropolitan Water Board 1953
  10. 10. The great sustainability crisis <ul><li>The integration of water for multiple domestic uses </li></ul><ul><li>The integration of waste water with source water (rivers) </li></ul><ul><li>Closing a vicious circle: environmental and human catastrophe. </li></ul><ul><li>The fifty-year intensification of the crisis, from 1815 de-regulation then legislative mandate to increase pollution. </li></ul><ul><li>The collapse of the cesspit system </li></ul><ul><li>The Great Stink (1858) or Great Liquidity Crisis (too much) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>From 200,000 domestic cesspits to one big cesspit (the Thames) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The separation of source from waste water </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sewers for and for human waste water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The most extensive and wonderful work of modern times” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What to do with wasted human fertilizer? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lots of muck, no brass </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Edwin Chadwick: “ All smell is disease” 1831 The arrival of cholera in England at the port of Sunderland John Snow, 1854 The disputed discovery of water-borne cholera Robert Koch, 1883 Identification of Vibrio Cholerae Cholera
  12. 12. Bazalgette’s Low Level Intercept Sewer, 1860.
  13. 13. Taking shit out to sea: London’s solid sewage disposal 1887-1997
  14. 15. Appropriation and exchange <ul><li>From feudal rights, some ‘commons rights’, some ‘free’ goods, for personal use, to private consumption and production </li></ul><ul><li>The emergence of water companies and growth of infrastructures </li></ul><ul><li>The quasi-firm, quasi-market and the institution of the water rate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The New River Company </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Great Competition, water and technology wars, and district monopolisation (1810-1817) </li></ul><ul><li>The ‘vestry opposition’ to private monopolies </li></ul><ul><li>The disappearance of the market for night-soil, and the integration of the water and sewer rate </li></ul><ul><li>The rationalisation of private monopoly and the municipalisation of water </li></ul><ul><li>And now privatisation of tap-water (mandatory and regulated exchanges) and spring water (bottled) (commercial markets). </li></ul>
  15. 16. History in a “water” bill: still more a tax than a price
  16. 17. The politics of water <ul><li>Conflicts over rights over water resources </li></ul><ul><li>Regulation of quality and supply </li></ul><ul><li>Regulation forcing innovation in distribution, and control over waste and source water </li></ul><ul><li>Regulation over domestic consumption and obligation to install plumbing with enforcement of standards </li></ul><ul><li>Battles over public or private ownership of production and distribution </li></ul><ul><li>Battles over quality of water </li></ul><ul><li>Regulation over prices and pricing institutions </li></ul>
  17. 18. Instituted economies of water <ul><li>Processes of instituting economies of water: complex interactions between emergent distinctively organised private exchanges and politically mandated exchanges. </li></ul><ul><li>The formation and dissolution of public goods in water provisioning. </li></ul><ul><li>The stasis in 1950s tap-water quality (safe versus aesthetic), and the emergence of bottled water markets. </li></ul><ul><li>The inadequacy of the state-versus-market paradigm, and historically emergent economic organisation. The water-waste economy. </li></ul><ul><li>Configurations and emergent causalities of configurational transformation: the mid-19 th century configurational ‘contradiction’. </li></ul><ul><li>A newly emergent climate change contradiction with bottled water? </li></ul>

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