Dr. Mustafa is a lecturer of geography at King's College London, London WC2R 2LS, England.
SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF HYDROPOLITICS: THE GEOGRAPHICAL SCALES OF WATER AND SECURITY IN THE INDUS BASIN*
Version of Record online: 21 APR 2010
2007 American Geographical Society
Volume 97, Issue 4, pages 484–501, October 2007
How to Cite
Mustafa, D. (2007), SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF HYDROPOLITICS: THE GEOGRAPHICAL SCALES OF WATER AND SECURITY IN THE INDUS BASIN. Geographical Review, 97: 484–501. doi: 10.1111/j.1931-0846.2007.tb00408.x
The assistance extended by the executive director and staff of Leadership for Environment and Development-Pakistan is gratefully acknowledged. A debt of thanks is also due to Usman Qazi, Syed Ayub Qutub, Juha Uitto, and Tony Allan for earlier reviews of this article and their helpful suggestions.
- Issue online: 21 APR 2010
- Version of Record online: 21 APR 2010
- Indus Basin;
- subnational scale;
ABSTRACT. The article identifies important themes and future research directions for analyzing water and conflict dynamics at the subnational scale in the Indus Basin. A historical overview of water development in the Indus Basin suggests that the water-security nexus was always a salient theme in the minds of water developers, even in the nineteenth century. Conflicts over contemporary large-scale water-development projects in the Indian and Pakistani parts of the Indus Basin are reviewed. Engineers' single-minded focus on megaprojects, to the neglect of the wider set of values that societies attach to water resources in the eastern and western Indus Basin are largely to blame for continuing low-grade conflict in the basin. A review of local-level conflicts over water supply and sanitation in Karachi and the distribution of irrigation water in Pakistani Punjab illustrates the critical role of governance and differential social power relations in accentuating conflict. The article argues against neo-Malthusian assumptions about the inevitability of conflict over water because of its future absolute scarcity. Instead, the article seeks to demonstrate that, despite evidence suggesting that international armed conflict over water does not exist, the potential for political instability over domestic water distribution and development issues is real. The question of whether conflict at the subnational scale will culminate in violence will depend on how water-resources institutions in the basin behave.