Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 411586
Title Thickening the Organizational Maze: Decentralization and the Consolidation of Societal Stakeholders in Ecuadorian Water Management
Author(s) Hoogesteger van Dijk, J.D.
Event CERES Summer School 2011, 2011-07-01
Department(s) Irrigation and Water Engineering
Publication type Abstract in scientific journal or proceedings
Publication year 2011
Abstract Decentralizing water management responsibilities to water users, private initiatives and regional governments has been on the agenda of States and donors since at least the mid-1980’s. These often, but not always, include more systematic efforts to organize water user organizations and higher scale network platforms and federations as new actors in local irrigation management. These reform packages have had a neo-liberal flavour and generally advocate for a reduced role of the state, water pricing, financial autonomy of irrigation agencies, and devolution of management responsibilities to lower levels. In Ecuador, NGOs and state institutions have embraced this idea for at least the last two decennia, leading to different institutional reforms, programs and policies. In the irrigation sector water users were compelled by law to organize in water user associations and slowly started to take over responsibilities of operation, administration and maintenance of the formerly State managed systems. Once these organizations were consolidated water users participation was expanded to broader spatial scales of governance. This article analyzes these changes and presents evidence of how in the last two decades new state and non-state institutions and organizations have emerged through processes of decentralization. These new centers of authority have created new fields of contestation for authority, legitimacy, resources and control that struggle to defend and further strengthen the playing fields in which they have gained autonomy, power and control. As this paper argues, the struggles that emerge in such a polycentric setting make water management a highly negotiated and politically laden issue.
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