Conflicts Between the Traditional Usage of Water for Irrigation and Drinking Purposes and "Modern" Development

Frank Bliss


The traditional usage of water for irrigation and drinking purposes in many places of the world is severely affected by "modern" development. Construction of large dams and irrigation schemes or the modernisation of the water supply by drilling deep wells do not necessarily result in a general improvement of the water supply of the local population. Examples from various countries show that even if more water is made available, the water supply of the people living in a project area can deteriorate. In quite a few cases there is even less water available as the new schemes in question are, in general, not implemented in order to assist the local population, but to pursue quite different objectives. Even if "modern" water development tries to target the local population it is more than uncertain whether changes in the water supply technology and management would improve the social-economic conditions of the people. As a consequence it is strongly recommended to adapt new water supply technologies strictly to the demand and the technical and management capacities of the target groups and, whether existing water rights are touched or not, to link every planning and implementation process with a far reaching participatory concept.

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