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The Hydropolitics of Dams

Engineering or Ecosystems?

By (author) Mark Everard
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Zed Books Ltd, London, United Kingdom
Published: 8th Aug 2013
ISBN-10: 178032541X
ISBN-13: 9781780325415
Barcode No: 9781780325415
The Hydropolitics of Dams charts the troubled waters of 'heavy engineering' approaches to ecosystem management, exploring the history, benefits and problems of large dams. It then explores diverse ecosystem-based approaches to management of human interactions with the water cycle, concluding that a synthesis of approaches is needed in future. The book also addresses political, economic and legal dimensions of water management. Featuring case studies from China, India and South Africa, this insightful new book argues that there are more appropriate physical and social technologies that can help to sustainably provide access to clean water for all.

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'Water underpins all life on Earth. The management of water underpins all human societies. Its mismanagement threatens the wellbeing - and indeed the lives - of millions of people. As Mark Everard's fascinating and timely research demonstrates, the devastating extent of that historical mismanagement is now all too clear - as is the imperative of deploying the intimate knowledge that communities have of their own local ecosystems.'
Jonathon Porritt, founder and director, Forum for the Future

'This book comes at the right moment. Energy-strapped countries with unpopular governments are seeking to revive the building of large dams (after a slight pause following the report of the World Commission on Dams). Economic recession and crumbling political credibility have revived dams as development tools; but they are an aggravation rather than solution to existing crises. The world's rivers are too valuable ecologically to block them off, drowning communities in the process. What eco-campaigners need is an updated, scientific, value-centred rationale for the defence of river systems. Mark Everard does a well-reasoned job of it, replete with case studies. His vision of deliberative democracy to resolve water dilemmas is the way forward.'
Graeme Addison, founding member, Southern Africa Rivers Association, and science writer

'As the emergent economic powers of the global South seek to replicate en masse the large scale, centralized dam-building model of last century, Everard's book is a timely entry into the discourse on the future of global water management. The Hydropolitics of Dams begins as a thoroughly researched primer on the history of dam-building and the many international forums that have taken stock of the benefits and costs of re-engineering the world's rivers. Drawing from scores of case studies from all corners of the world, Everard's critical and grounded analysis brings the reader up to date on the crises facing freshwater ecosystems and, by extension, the future of a prosperous humanity. Fully cognizant of the complexities and realities of the current political, economic and social entrenchment, Everard also builds the case and establishes a framework for a more enlightened and ecologically bound system of watershed governance. I'll be reaching for this volume frequently, both as a reliable reference and a roadmap for solutions on such imperatives as transboundary river cooperation, inclusive and ecosystem-based decision-making, and the guiding principles to catalyze a new era of hydropolitics.'
Jason Rainey, executive director, International Rivers

'The Hydropolitics of Dams tackles the conflicts we face in managing our increasingly pressurized water resources both globally and locally. It highlights the need for a way forward centred on knowledge and people, using the best of both engineering and ecosystem-based solutions to develop a more sustainable relationship with the water cycle. Rich in examples from all continents, this book inspires new thinking and explores the practical delivery of sustainable water management.' - Arlin Rickard, chief executive, The Rivers Trust