The political ecology of groundwater governance: the case of Pakistan's Punjab

Nabeel, Fazilda (2020) The political ecology of groundwater governance: the case of Pakistan's Punjab. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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This thesis explores the nature of groundwater governance and its role in the global groundwater crisis using a historical case study of Pakistan’s Punjab from the nineteenth century to the present. The thesis engages with the problem of groundwater governance on two levels: First, using a critical political ecology framework, I engage with an empirical analysis of the nature of Punjab’s groundwater governance across the colonial, post-colonial and contemporary period to suggest how the techniques and mechanisms of groundwater governance over time within the context of the region’s broader political economy context have been an active force in the creation of contemporary groundwater crisis. Contrary to existing studies, this thesis suggests that governance, rather than the absence of it has been a decisive factor in the creation of the groundwater crisis in Punjab. The central argument of the thesis rests on an extended definition of “groundwater governance” and the conception of ground water as socio-nature to allow an analysis of the mutually constitutive relationship between state and non-state ‘governors’ that make up groundwater governance, as well as the relationship between governance, society and groundwater itself. Second, using my empirical findings from Punjab’s case, I critically engage with the political ecology of (ground) water literature to emphasize the oft-neglected contribution of groundwater to state developmental goals and forms of state power. In this way, the main theoretical contribution of the thesis lies in extending the concepts of ‘colonial hydrology’ and ‘hydraulic mission’ in existing studies that relate social control of water to state power narrowly in the context of surface water. By emphasizing groundwater’s strategic importance for the state, the thesis contributes towards the political ecology of groundwater governance, and how it has a critical role to play in the groundwater crisis both for the case of Punjab and globally.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Development
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography > GB0651 Hydrology. Water (Ground and surface waters) > GB1001 Groundwater. Hydrogeology
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions and public administration (Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Area, etc.) > JQ0021 Asia
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2021 10:52
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2022 05:49

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