Rights on the edge: the right to water and the peri-urban drinking water committees of Cochabamba

Walnycki, Anna Maria (2013) Rights on the edge: the right to water and the peri-urban drinking water committees of Cochabamba. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

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.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: Institute of Development Studies
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F2201 South America > F3301 Bolivia
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labour > HD1401 Agriculture > HD1635 Utilisation and culture of special classes of lands Including pasture lands, water resources development
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2013 17:23
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2015 14:46
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/47224

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