- Legal pluralism, hydraulic property creation and sustainability: the materialized nature of water rights in user-managed systems
- Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Worldwide, most irrigation systems are managed by farmer collectives, in contexts of legal pluralism. National and supranational legislation and policy-making, however, focus on governance frameworks established by State and market actors. Consequently, development planning often ignores farmers’ rationality regarding sustainable water control. This paper's literature research examines how the notion of ‘hydraulic property creation’ in contexts of legal pluralism may support sustainable, self-governed irrigation systems. User-investment in hydraulic infrastructure generates collective water property relations. This socio-natural foundation of farmer-managed systems embeds (materializes) and entwines collective and individual water rights in hydraulic works, triggering collective action. Being fundamental to sustainable management, even well-intended policies and legislation ignoring this practice-based property notion may jeopardize well-functioning systems.
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