The Politics of Water: A Survey

The Politics of Water: A Survey

The Politics of Water: A Survey

The Politics of Water: A Survey


This authoritative reference work gives timely information on the global politics of water. Readers will find case studies on a variety of complex water situations, from the Okavango River that flows through Angola, Namibia and Botswana, to the Euphrates-Tigris of the Upper Persian Gulf.

With the current threat of climate change and increasing demand on water resources, the book gives valuable insight into an increasingly politicized topic. Politics of Water is a welcome addition to Routledge's extensive The Politics of... reference series.

Readers will benefit from:

  • essays on major topics in water politics from a variety of contributors (thirteen in all), including Is water politics? Towards international water relations and The politics of water and mining in South Africa
  • sensitive debate on gender issues, reflecting the fact that in many cultures men are responsible for the supply of water, and women as cultivators and house keepers are the major users
  • an A-Z glossary of key terms, issues, organizations, etc. in water politics
  • information on selected major river basins of the world, including maps detailing water consumption and resources.

The Politics of Water is a useful guide to the politics surrounding the availability and provision of water on a world-wide scale. It will prove to be a useful reference source for anyone interested in, or studying, the politics of water and climate change.


Everything is in flux, as the ancient Greeks noted, and so is the emerging field of international hydropolitics. It is only since the 1990s that the topic has started to receive serious attention, with Miriam Lowi’s Water and Power and Leif Ohlsson’s Hydropolitics as landmark forerunners. Water cuts across so many aspects of our human existence that it would be surprising if it never led to conflict, and sometimes even to violence. But while the ‘water wars’ thesis has been revived, given the current issues surrounding climate change, water has also incited many instances of local and international co-operation, as Aaron T. Wolf and his Oregon State University group have convincingly pointed out. The discipline, therefore, has had to move speedily beyond simplistic assumptions, and refine its analytical framework. The politics of water has had to move from a more traditional state-centred approach to take account of societal (for example, gender and water rights) and transnational (privatization, global water fora) issues.

The study of water politics has fascinated analysts from many disciplines for a long time. However, there have not, as yet, been many strong contributions from political science. This publication, The Politics of Water: A Survey, seeks to strengthen the interplay between these two domains—political science and water—with a view to creating synergy. It therefore seems fitting that the editors of the present volume are a scholar of development studies and social anthropoloe to those without a professional background in water or politics, and hence useful to all. We have sought to avoid too much detail of the technicalities of water management or of political theory. We hope that this volume, appearing at the start of a new decade, will inspire many new contributions to the study of hydropolitics and will play a part in strengthening the community of water and political analysts and practitioners.

Jeroen Warner

Kai Wegerich

May 2010 . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.