Rights on the edge: the right to water and the peri-urban drinking water committees of Cochabamba
Walnycki, Anna Maria
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This thesis examines how constitutional reforms relating to the right to water in Bolivia have affected water provision in peri-urban Cochabamba. This multi-sited ethnography explores how the right to water has framed reforms to the Bolivian water sector, how and why the right to water has been contested in Bolivia, the impact of reforms to the water sector on peri-urban water committees and emerging challenges and opportunities for sustainable water provision in peri-urban Bolivia. It demonstrates that despite the high profile role played by Bolivia in advancing the right to water at the international and national level, in practice the right to water continues to be a fairly nebulous concept. There is a disconnect between Bolivia’s international stance on the human right to water and national reforms around the right to water. This thesis contends that the right to water is a banner under which the water sector has been reformed since the election of Evo Morales in 2006. Even though the constitution states that everyone has the right to water, in practice water often continues to be provided through community providers such as drinking water committees (DWCs), largely due to the failure of municipal water provision. Reforms and policy have focussed on (re)nationalising the sector and establishing new institutions to regulate and develop diverse water providers such as peri-urban DWCs. Through detailed ethnographic examination of peri-urban Cochabamba, the thesis demonstrates that activists and community-water providers in rural and peri-urban areas have contested reforms linked to the right to water. They have contended that reforms have the potential to undermine community water systems, and furthermore, that the state has failed to guarantee basic human rights and service provision. To date, the state and non-state initiatives to enhance the sustainability of DWCs have focussed on certain elements of sustainability, specifically protecting the aquifer and enhancing institutional sustainability of DWCs. By drawing on the experience and development of one DWC, this thesis also explores further elements that present challenges and opportunities to enhance sustainable water provision in peri-urban areas, namely building equitable access, and the reconciling of local power relations.
CitationWalnycki, Anna Maria (2013) Rights on the edge: the right to water and the peri-urban drinking water committees of Cochabamba. Doctoral thesis, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex.
Library catalogue entryhttp://bldscat.ids.ac.uk/cgi-bin/koha/opac-detail.pl?biblionumber=228808
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