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Transformations to groundwater sustainability: from individuals and pumps to communities and aquifers

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • M. Zwarteveen
  • M. Kuper
  • C. Olmos-Herrera
  • J. Kemerink-Seyoum
  • C. Frances
  • L. Beckett
  • F. Lu
  • S. Kulkarni
  • H. Kulkarni
  • U. Aslekar
  • L. Börjeson
  • A. Verzijl
  • C. Dominguez Guzmán
  • M.T. Oré
  • I. Leonardelli
  • L. Bossenbroek
  • H. Ftouhi
  • T. Chitata
  • T. Hartani
  • A. Saidani
  • M. Johnson
  • A. Peterson
  • S. Bhat
  • S. Bhopal
  • Z. Kadiri
  • R. Deshmukh
  • D. Joshi
  • H. Komakech
  • K. Joseph
  • E. Mlimbila
  • C. De Bont
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/04/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)88-97
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


If the success of agricultural intensification continues to rely on the depletion of aquifers and exploitation of (female) labour, transformations to groundwater sustainability will be impossible to achieve. Hence, the development of new groundwater imaginaries, based on alternative ways of organizing society-water relations is highly important. This paper argues that a comparative documentation of grass-roots initiatives to care for, share or recharge aquifers in places with acute resource pressures provides an important source of inspiration. Using a grounded anti-colonial and feminist approach, we combine an ethnographic documentation of groundwater practices with hydrogeological and engineering insights to enunciate, normatively assess and jointly learn from the knowledges, technologies and institutions that characterize such initiatives. Doing this usefully shifts the focus of planned efforts to regulate and govern groundwater away from government efforts to control individual pumping behaviours, to the identification of possibilities to anchor transformations to sustainability in collective action.