Understanding local water conflict and cooperation: The case of Namwala District, Zambia uri icon

abstract

  • Understanding the nature of water conflict and cooperation is a crucial element in water governance within Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). Much of the recent attention to the issue has however focused on transboundary aspects, while we know rather less about the nature and dynamics of local water conflict and cooperation. Drawing on the work of the collaborative Competing for Water Research Programme, this article presents selected findings from a quantitative and qualitative mapping and exploration of water conflict and cooperation events in Namwala District of Zambia. It is found that local water competition situations often involve both conflictive and cooperative events in a dynamic succession of each other, but also that the majority of events are conflictive. and that they primarily take place between different types of water uses, and less frequently among the same types of uses. There is a distinct tendency for both conflictive and cooperative events to originate in the dry season, and many events are associated with water infrastructure development, particularly boreholes. The study found that most conflictive and cooperative events took place within individual communities, and only to a lesser extent between two or more communities or between districts. While third parties are involved in some events, these are primarily local village institutions such as Headmen. The article concludes by discussing the implications of these findings for local water governance, including the need to ensure that the very localized nature of such conflict and cooperation events is taken into consideration in the institutional development of IWRM. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2010
  • 2010