Inderscience Publishers

Water disputes in the Ecuadorian context up to the Third Millennium: no State, no market, no common property. The transition of Santa Rosa (Tungurahua province)

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In the Ecuadorian Andes, irrigation depends mainly on private or community-based water management. In 1972, the State started taking over water administration by nationalising water and granting concessions to users' communities. In the beginning, the State did useful work by modernising the water rights system, but because of inter-community conflicts, local concessions were split up and community organisations became divisive. After thirty years of 'hydraulic bureaucracy', the World Bank introduced a new legal framework privatisation of water. Resistance has come from many stakeholders. Taking example of a very complex slope of the Andes in the Tungurahua province, we describe the problems of the local society of Santa Rosa: lack of background needed for water management and conflict resolution. Today, the water dispute has taken a new, curious turn the people are faced with a weak State, an ineffective market and poor common property links. An NGO will try to build a new system of governance.

Keywords: common property, conflict resolution, Ecuador, Indian communities, water management, water rights

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