Euro-Mediterranean Information System on know-how in the Water sector
International portal

News Call for papers for the Special issue: "Hydraulic Bureaucracies: Flows of Water and Power"

Send abstracts before the 1st of March.

Since the 19th century large-scale water resource development has led to the extensive development of irrigation areas, supply of water to ever expanding megacities, and the construction of massive infrastructures for hydropower and flood control. But it has also been associated with an ideology of domination of nature by steel and concrete. In many countries this 'hydraulic mission' has been carried out by –and has also given rise to- powerful water bureaucracies that, often up to these days, have acquired and sustained enormous power. This power was bureaucratic, through the command of large budgets and the control of decision-making on what to build and where, but also expanded socially (i.e. the prestige attached to the engineering profession), politically (through close relationships between both local and national politicians and state bureaucrats), and economically (due to their proximity with construction companies and consulting firms, either national or foreign). Relatively little scholarly work has investigated the role of these state water bureaucracies in the development of water resources, environmental transformations and state-citizen relationships, although exceptions include institutions like the Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps of Engineers, in the US. Many other countries like France, Spain, the Netherlands, UK, Australia, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, etc. have seen the emergence of powerful water bureaucracies. This special issue will include case studies from various countries that will emphasize the inner historical transformations and the role of these water bureaucracies in the transformation of landscapes, as well as in the formation of the state and wider social relationships.

Potential contributors interested in this topic can send an abstract to WaA before the 1st of March 2009. After selection of articles authors will be requested to send their articles before the 30th of May. Papers will be reviewed and published as a special issue in the WaA issue of October 1.


Contact information FMolle, IRD (email:
News type CallForPaper
File link
Source of information Water Alternatives
Geographical coverage International
News date 06/01/2009
Working language(s) ENGLISH