Why do many water management projects, begun with the best of intentions, still fail? How is it that large infrastructural water works often encounter opposition? Is it perhaps, among other things, the lack of attention for the cultural context? These and other intriguing questions are dealt with in this book. The authors, having 20 years of experience on water and sanitation in an international context, have investigated the relationship between water and culture world-wide in order to find new keys to successful and sustainable water management.
This book is based on extensive research and is intended to form a cultural road towards new sustainable water management practices. "Water: a way of life" takes the reader on a water journey through time and across the world’s continents. Along the way it explains the past and present ways in which different cultures around the world, both traditional and modern, view and manage water in response to the distinct environment they inhabit. As beliefs and values are at the heart of any culture, it also highlights the views of the main world religions on water and its use. A better understanding of cultural water beliefs and practices may lead to new concepts for future sustainable water management - from flood management to water supply, sanitation and irrigation management.
The book will be useful to water professionals exporting knowledge and technologies to foreign countries where the challenge is to create sustainable solutions for water management by taking into account local, cultural factors. It is also intended to encourage world leaders, politicians and decision-makers responsible for water management to use their power, knowledge and influence to really make a change for the benefit of the people they represent. In this way, water can become a source of cooperation rather than a source of conflict.
The authors trust that this book, about water and culture, intended for a truly international audience, will be a source of inspiration.
1. Introduction to water & culture
2. Water: a source of life
3. Water: a source of inspiration
4 Water: a source of power
5. Water: a source of cooperation or conflict?
6. Water: a source of sustainability