The workshop is being organised by the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) in collaboration with the Centre de Sciences Humaines (New Delhi), UMI iGlobes (CNRS, University of Arizona), French Institute of Pondicherry and the support of the Indo French Water Network (Embassy of France) ANR Engind.
The main hypothesis of this workshop is that it is impossible to understand water policies without looking at the key players who implement policies and contribute to producing the doxa on water and its uniform model. This uniform and universal model of distribution and treatment of urban potable water is often presented as the best, or even the only distribution model capable of implementing the objective of “water for everyone” in terms of quality as well as equal access, it is seen as a model capable of providing a homogenous service to every consumer. However, the relevance of this model has been challenged on the basis of its economic, social or environmental impacts. This model has further been under attack for its failure to provide a universal service, and particularly its incapacity to overcome the obstacles of creating an infrastructure in peri-urban and rural areas; and for the problem of “water stress” prevalent in certain regions like the West of the United States, the high plateaus in the Andes, the Brazilian sertão, North Africa, the Arab peninsula, certain regions in India, Central Asia or Northern China. Hence some voices are contesting this doxa and putting forward proposals for alternative or hybrid models: these are essentially based on a technical and administrative decentralisation of services, a greater symbiosis between the socio-technical systems and the creation of a multiplicity of institutions to replace a monopolistic organisation. The universal service distribution model has been largely shaped by national colonial companies, and hence it would be necessary to introduce a comparative perspective “South/North” that can take into account the manner in which different socio-technical systems were integrated into projects for modernisation and universalization that were essentially in the service of colonial domination.
A second hypothesis that the workshop seeks to explore is that the challenge to the uniform/universal model of water management, with the political ambiguities it contains (particularly questioning the egalitarian ideal implicit in the idea of “water for everyone), has emerged mainly in countries in the “South”, not only because they have a clearer perception of the difficulties the “old model” has to face, but also because of the reorganization of the systems that produce State expertise and their position within the field of power. Essentially this workshop would allow a first exchange, with a view to a publication, between the researchers specialising in water. It would also create a basis for the formulation of an international comparative research project.
See full Programme Schedule here.
The registration form can be accessed here.