Fluid Entitlements: Constructing and Contesting Water Allocations in Burkina Faso, West Africa

Posted: 19 Oct 2015

See all articles by Ben Orlove

Ben Orlove

School of International and Public Affairs Columbia University MC 3323

Carla Roncoli

Emory University

Brian Dowd-Uribe

University of San Francisco

Date Written: October 18, 2015

Abstract

The Upper Comoé watershed in Burkina Faso, West Africa, is characterized by a number of different groups, which use water from a system of reservoirs and canals, including a large sugar cane plantation, small-scale agricultural and pastoral producers, and a medium-sized city. Two different political and administrative systems govern their relations and their access to water — a long-established set of personal clientelistic relations, and a newer participatory form, Integrated Water Resource Management. In the last decade, relations among the groups have broken down three times into conflict, in which physical violence was feared or threatened. A review of these three incidents shows that the disagreements were not only over the quantities of water, but over the social processes of negotiation and the cultural modes of assessing and describing water. These issues, in turn, suggest ways that the study of water raises broader issues in discussions of entitlements and citizenship.

Suggested Citation

Orlove, Ben and Roncoli, Carla and Dowd-Uribe, Brian, Fluid Entitlements: Constructing and Contesting Water Allocations in Burkina Faso, West Africa (October 18, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2675788

Ben Orlove (Contact Author)

School of International and Public Affairs Columbia University MC 3323 ( email )

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+1 (212) 854 1543 (Phone)

Carla Roncoli

Emory University ( email )

201 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

Brian Dowd-Uribe

University of San Francisco ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States

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