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A History of Water Volume 3: Water, Geopolitics and the             New World Order
 9780755620647, 9781848853515

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Thanks to the Centre for Advanced Studies at Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, the Norwegian Research Council and the University of Bergen

Published in 2011 by I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd 6 Salem Road, London W2 4BU 175 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10010 www.ibtauris.com Distributed in the United States and Canada Exclusively by Palgrave Macmillan, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10010 Editorial Assistant: Terje Oestigaard Selection and editorial matter copyright © 2011 Terje Tvedt, Graham Chapman and Roar Hagen Individual chapters copyright © 2010 Pierre Beaudry, Graham Chapman, Marwa Daoudy, Rohan D’Souza, Ed Grumbine, Roar Hagen, Peter Haldén, W. Todd Jarvis, Jianchu Xu, Dean Kampanje-Phiri, Zainiddin Karaev, Tadesse Kassa, Ruth Langridge, Pieter Leroy, Duncan Liefferink, JoAnn McGregor, Daanish Mustafa, Helen J. Nicolson, José Augusto Pádua, Frank Quinn, Ralph D. Sawyer, Jos G. Timmerman, Terje Tvedt, John Waterbury, Mark Wiering, Mark Zeitoun The right of Terje Tvedt, Graham Chapman and Roar Hagen to be identified as the editors of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 All rights reserved. This book, or any part thereof, may not be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. ISBN: 978 1 84885 351 5 A full CIP record for this book is available from the British Library A full CIP record is available from the Library of Congress Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: available Designed and Typeset by 4word Ltd, Bristol, UK Printed and bound in Great Britain by CPI Antony Rowe, Chippenham

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Water, Geopolitics and Collective Power in the New World Order

Roar Hagen, Graham Chapman and Terje Tvedt

THE GEOPOLITICAL PROBLEMS OF WATER In August 1947 the British ceded independence in South Asia to two sovereign successor states, India and Pakistan. An English lawyer, Sir Cyril Radcliffe, had the unenviable task of drawing a new international border on a map. He drew it across the world’s biggest and most complex canal irrigation system, which linked the waters of the five rivers of old Punjab, now divided between India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan immediately went to war, over the separate issue of Kashmir. On 1 April 1948, on slight pretexts, India shut off the water flowing into Pakistan’s Dipalpur Canal and 8 per cent of Pakistan’s culturable command area (of the country, not just of this scheme) was deprived of water; so too was the city of Lahore (Michel 1967). In addition, hydroelectric power supplies were cut. Observers flying over the two Punjabs had no doubt where the border lay: to one side the seedlings of the new kharif crops were ready for the monsoon, to the other was a brown and barren land. There can be no doubt that India was using water as a weapon, though it is in dispute how high up, from provincial to dominion government, knowledge and authority went. After a season had been lost in Pakistan, supplies were resumed. Then it required more than a decade of negotiation by both parties under the aegis of the World Bank, and huge international loans and grants, to arrive at a solution which effectively bifurcated the system, and gave upstream ownership of three rivers to India, and the waters of the others to Pakistan (Chapman 2009). This was the price of national water security in a complex geopolitical setting. A crisis of this sort could be repeated: indeed, many observers think a bigger crisis could evolve around the plateaux and mountains of Tibet, the source of many of India and China’s great rivers, where in theory water could be diverted from one basin to another. As if this threat of water insecurity were not enough, proponents of climate change suggest that water stress in many regions may increase in coming decades, exacerbating problems of water sharing and water management.

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The following alarmist water-scenario for Asian regions has again and again popped up in mass media since the late 1990s (similar dramatic scenarios have been put forward on the Nile, in South America in the Andes, and in Europe in the Alp region): it threatens that glaciers will melt in the Himalayas, and at first more water will flow in the great rivers of Asia, which have been the home of civilizations for thousands of years and where, now, close to three billion people are living. The Yangtze, Hung He, Ganges, Indus, Salween, Mekong, Irktysh, Sur Darya and Brahmaputra will bring down to the plains much more water than today and threaten to disrupt societies with devastating floods. When the ice has gone, the rivers will discharge less water, and the consequences will be the opposite; droughts and water shortages even more dramatic than today.1 The reality is, however, that although nobody knows or can know for sure if and to what extent this scenario will come to pass, for the moment, this New Uncertainty about future waterscapes has become a social fact. It can already impact on the political relationships not only between states such as China, India and Pakistan, and between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, but also within states, such as between Sindh and Punjab in Pakistan and Assam and the Deccan in India. It could have far-reaching implications for power relations and struggles for power in large river basins and around large water bodies, because this new uncertainty about the future of water landscapes all over the world will in itself influence decision-making processes. It will more and more become a factor in geopolitical reasoning; states and regions that fear or believe that they will be affected by future changes in the way the waters run through their societies will act differently from states who believe that there will be no changes in the physical layer of their water system. Such scenarios, such social interpretations of changing water systems, influence therefore geopolitics and the evolving context of collective action, also because different social systems in the different societies ascribe different significance to these developments. Similar scenarios, although less dramatic, may be made for regions and countries all over the world, since societies everywhere depend upon, and are becoming more and more dependent upon, water and water control. Any change in climate will manifest itself directly or indirectly in societies as changes in the water landscape. There will either be more rain or less rain, more melting of the glaciers or less melting, more droughts or fewer droughts, more evaporation or less evaporation, or no important changes at all. The water landscape – be it disappearing or overflowing rivers and lakes, or altered or continued patterns of rainfall – will be very important metaphors and mirrors of political relations. Yet, research on the relationship between political power and water, and how the relationship between water or nature and modern society is mediated or regulated by political power, is still far from being mainstream social science. One major argument behind the traditional neglect of nature in social sciences is found in a widely used text book by Anthony Giddens,

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the well-known sociologist. Taking the longer view, human beings have existed on earth for about half a million years. For most of this period very little happened in terms of social development. Agriculture is only 12,000 years old. Civilizations date back no more than 6,000 years. According to Giddens, if we were to think of the entire span of human existence thus far as a 24-hour day, agriculture would have come into existence at 11.56 pm and civilizations at 11.57. The development of modern societies would get under way only at 11.59 and 30 seconds. Yet perhaps as much change has taken place in the last 30 seconds of this human day as in all the time leading up to it (Giddens and Griffiths 2006). Compared to natural changes in the same period the links between social development and the physical environment seems to be weak, and the whole of human history is hardly a ripple in Earth time. The construction of these uneven chronologies between societal and natural developments has laid the foundation for the belief that societies and social change are only influenced by social variables. There is, however, also in mainstream social science, an increasing acknowledgement of the fact that eternal laws of nature manifest themselves in human life spans, even immediately, and have great importance for social life. The human population has increased from around an estimated five million people in 8000 BC, to one billion people in 1900 and six billion in AD 2000. In 50 more years it will, it is estimated, be nine billion people. But the amount of water is the same as when humans first walked on earth. The question of who has power over the available and always varying water resources has therefore become more and more important. In 1950 the world had no problems with water availability, and no areas suffered high stress, not even the Middle East. By 2025 it has been estimated that more than 80 per cent of the world population will experience high, or very high, stress on their water resources (Rodda and Siklomanov 2003). These figures might represent a kind of a quite widespread ‘water alarmism’, but nonetheless there can be no doubt that there is a growing conflict between water demands and water supply in many parts of the world.2 As long as water is abundant, it is easy to stay ignorant and unconcerned about who else may be sharing the same river, lake or aquifer. But as water becomes relatively less abundant, coordination of its use becomes more complex as well as more crucial. In addition to the increase in population it is possible to argue that the twentieth century experienced three global revolutions with huge implications for the demand for water. During that century irrigation became globalized. The land under artificial watering doubled from 1900 to 1950, and doubled again from 1950 to 1990. Without this change, there would have been mass starvation. Secondly, urbanization processes became a global phenomenon, and now more than half of the population live in cities – for the first time in human history – with all that that requires when it comes to water control and water usages. Thirdly, industrialization has also become a global process, with radically new demands on water, for

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electric power, for productive processes, for cooling purposes and for cleaning. These developments combined have of course created a foundation for increased competition for the control of water, and thus the question of its quantity, quality and distribution is high on the international agenda. Scientific description and explanation, public discourse and political reflection, are enabled or disabled by the clarity of the concepts used. Thus, the purpose of this chapter is to discuss and suggest relevant conceptual frameworks in order to understand better the relationships between water and society. This is important because dominant concepts have reflected a social science tradition that has been ‘nature-blind’ and more interested in conflict than in potentials for cooperation, and have developed within an analytical context where the nation state is the unit that should be understood. Hence one of the major ideas behind the book is to help stimulate a discussion of such issues by presenting contemporary case studies, alongside some comparative historical ones. SOME KEY CONCEPTS In the modern world society the limitations of the power of the political system to solve common problems on a regional or global scale are an obvious and very central trait. While such social systems as the economy, art, medical treatment, technology and science are truly global systems and fields of interaction, and river basins as hydrological units are often transboundary, the political system is segmentally differentiated into nation states. Formal political power is territorially bounded, while the economy, science, art and water systems are not. Sometimes, but rarely, political territories may coincide with cleavages in the hydrosphere. More generally they do not, so societies claim ‘ownership’ of some small part of the continuous global cycle and perhaps bend it to their own wishes, with consequential knock-on effects, both to the hydrosphere and other ‘natural’ systems, and perhaps to adjacent nations. To meet these challenges there is a growing need for collective action and cooperation on the global and regional level. On this basis the UN and others talk about a New Security Agenda at the same time as most people acknowledge that the world does not have a governing mechanism to solve several of the problems on this agenda. There is an increasing number of initiatives on the global and international level, but there is also the recognition of an increasing gap between the need, and the actual capacity, for making collective decisions that are regionally or globally binding and that have sufficient legitimacy and authority. Both for general theoretical reasons and because it is of relevance when it comes to the sharing and management of water, the Parsonian distinction between collective and distributive power should be reintroduced in the

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discussion of the relation between power and water. The social sciences have long been preoccupied with the distributive aspects of power, as in a zero sum game, enabling one part at the cost of another.3 But power may also be a necessary means to enable a group of actors to solve problems together, or to enable one group of actors to act on others’ behalf. This double perspective on power becomes increasingly relevant due to processes of globalization as these affect the distribution of power between states and raise the problem of collective action on a global and regional level. Developments in the Nile basin may be a case in point. In the 1980s and early 1990s it was common to talk about the danger of a water war among some of the ten states in the basin. The Egyptian President Anwar Sadat reportedly stated that Egypt would not hesitate to go to war if any of the upstream states took a drop of water from the Nile. Since the latter half of the 1990s, the states in the Nile basin have, instead, joined the Nile Basin Initiative, an initiative that in spite of all its shortcomings has helped to create an alternative Nile discourse among the actors in the Nile basin, focussing more on cooperation than conflict. A combination of economic incentives and measures to build up mutual competence has, in spite of all mistrust and contradictions, been powerful enough to keep the inter-state dialogue going. The concept of power is one of the broader theoretical issues of collective action problems. Another is that theoretical reflection on rational action has often led to the conclusion that rational individuals cannot cooperate and will nearly always defect on a collective effort to solve common problems. The most remarkable and influential example of such logical reasoning is delivered by rational choice traditions and game theories.4 One implication for empirical research is that the reasons for successful cooperation will be sought in irrational factors, while the failure of cooperation will be rationally explained. But this approach or model derives from a certain and limited ontology of the social as well as of the ‘natural’. The model of thought expressed in the famous ‘tragedy of the commons’ scenario developed by Garret Hardin does not work for a river basin as for a pasture (Tvedt 2010a). Historical research has brought forth many examples of the close association between the development of political power, power over water and water power, examples which might add to our understanding of the possible cooperative solutions to collective action problems.5 The questions are: if collective rationality exists, how do we explain it, and what are the mechanisms that might foster it? And can empirical studies of society/water relations prompt new theoretical insights? The geopolitical tradition stressed how the characteristics of geographical space affected different forms of power and power struggles. The tradition has partly been lost in recent decades, but can be reintroduced in modern theory. The research field can be expanded to cover not only the international system of nation states, but the many different orders resulting from a global trend towards functional specialization. In short, geopolitical

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theory should be connected to theories of modernization and globalization. By including water bodies and especially international river basins as one geographical factor affecting state policies and diplomatic strategies it will be possible to benefit from and develop the analytical strengths of this tradition. One of the most fundamental issues in geopolitics and problems of collective environmental action is the way we separate society from nature. Contemporary social science seems to converge on a conception of modern society as consisting of distinct, more or less autonomous networks of communication and action. Different authors use different names for these entities, such as sectors, spheres, fields (Pierre Bourdieu), discourses (many inspired by Michel Foucault) or function systems (Niklas Luhmann). Examples of such systems, fields or discourses are science, religion, medical treatment, education, mass media, the law, technology and sports.6 Each system or sector operates in accordance with its own particular codes, rules or values. This kind of societal differentiation implies that significant natural events – such as floods, droughts or rains – resonate differently in different spheres, discourses or systems.7 Water is a subject of legal regulations within the judicial system, a motive and metaphor in art and poetry, a ritual object or medium, or an expression of God’s power, a means of removing human and industrial waste, and a crucial production factor in agricultural systems all over the world. Functional specialization implies increasing independence and interdependence at the same time. All the social systems become dependent on other systems for their own operations, and therefore all are necessary to the workings of a modern society. Integration of systems and inclusion of individuals in the different spheres of communication and action becomes a permanent theme both in society and the social sciences. However, the economic system of market capitalism and the democratic political system are more basic to the overall performance of society as a totality than the others. With specialization, all other systems must acquire their resources through either the economic or the political system. It is the function of the political system to secure collectively binding decisions (Luhmann and Kieserling 2000); in other words, what the society wants to achieve, as a collective, will be manifested by a decision that binds the actions of all the members of this particular society.8 These ideas might be highly relevant when trying to understand the relationship between water and power, and studies of water and power may throw light on these theoretical discussions. To capture both sides of the nature–society divide as well as the relation itself, we suggest that it is fruitful to think of complex and multifunctional water systems. The connections between nature and society are too varied and many-sided to be studied in their totality. The notion of nature or environment as ‘one thing’, therefore, has to be deconstructed for analytical purposes.9 Since water is both universal and particular, and continuously

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flowing, and all societies have to adapt to or control the way it flows, a watersystem perspective is a powerful entry point for comparative research and analyses of geopolitics and collective action. This approach is concerned with three analytical layers. The first is the physical aspects of the water system. This includes physical facts such as precipitation and evaporation patterns, the way and how the rivers run in the landscape, the way water is stored underground or in glaciers, and the interface between the rivers and the ocean. The second layer consists of human modifications of the water systems: things like embankments, canals, dams, pipelines; in other words, water structures as human artefacts, as historical facts, that have also changed the water system and how it structures and is structured by geopolitical relations and the execution of power today. In archaeological and historical studies, for example, such material artefacts are important sources for research on changes in both society and the natural water system. The third layer consists of the ideas about water: of habits of thoughts; in other words, of symbols and value systems in societies that interpret changes in the water system and inform control and management activities, and at the same time reflect power relations in societies and in relation to the waters. A water system will therefore, as water itself, always be in flux, not only because of constant variations in the hydrological cycle but because of changes and developments in human valuation of water, its uses, and the infrastructure around it. The endless forms of the interaction between water and society make it hard to conceive of water systems in all their social and natural ramifications. It is therefore advisable to focus analytically on a single social function of water, or a few, at any one time. In this book we concentrate on the nexus of water and political power, because political systems have a central role in the integration of the social systems of modern societies, and therefore are instrumental in regulating the relations between nature and society.10 Within a water system perspective, the political system itself cannot be understood independently of the ideas and management practices related to water in the different political entities that have developed over time. Although, for example, Mexico and the USA, Egypt and Ethiopia, Jordan and Israel, China and Cambodia, in each case share a single river basin in physical terms, they have all developed different management practices, reflecting the different roles of water in their societies, and reflecting the changing characteristics of the river within their territorial boundaries. The water-systems approach can be used as an entry point to investigate how changes in the water system affect societies and how changes in the society modify and are manifested in water systems and in human modifications of the same systems. How spatial variations in physical aspects and past modifications of the water systems constrain, structure and provide certain possibilities for political action and how geographical proximity affects the transmission of change are a subject matter of geopolitics’

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relation to water. During the era when agricultural civilizations emerged, the first civilizations developed in the fertile and easily watered river valleys of the Nile, the Euphrates–Tigris, the Indus and the Huang He, while the regions dominated by rain-fed agriculture were unable to acquire sufficient surplus from their tilling of the soil to establish any elaborate division of labour. The Industrial Revolution changed the power relations of the world, and it also changed humans’ relations to and use of water. In the first phase of the revolution bulk transport was by water, and water was the major source of inanimate factory power until the coming of the steam engine. England and Western Europe had a water system that was much easier to exploit for these purposes than was the case in China, India and Africa, and this fact also impacted power relations until the present day (Tvedt 2010c). The analytical inclusion of water in studies of why states and actors act the way they do and how they act in order to control and share water among themselves makes it natural to re-engage with the tradition of geopolitics. GEOPOLITICS AND WATER The geopolitical tradition is about the significance of geographical place and space for the exercise of political power (Dodds and Atkinson 2000; Chapman 2009). It has, however, come under heavy fire for being one-factor oriented and environmentally deterministic. The term geopolitics covers both actual politics, as it takes geographical space into account, and a field of research with particular academic traditions.11 For purpose of clarity it is advisable to keep this distinction in mind. Modern geopolitics was instigated by the Treaty of Westphalia (1648), which established European sovereign states that were autonomous, and which finally rejected the residual legitimacy or authority of the Holy Roman Empire.12 But by creating a system of independent nation states, the new order had created, by definition, an international level of relations, yet no properly international institutions to regulate this new space. Warfare and competition between states in Europe continued, and, for reasons much debated and both related and unrelated to the competition between European states, Europe colonized most of the rest of the world, either peopling it (e.g. North America, Australia) or subjugating it (e.g. Latin America, India).13 The highpoint of European imperialism around 1900 represents the first true World Order, in which relations between any two territories are dependent at least in part on relations between other territories – in other words, there is a system of interlocking dependencies in which it is difficult to contain change within one part only. The 500 years of European expansion were what Sir Halford Mackinder called ‘The Columbian Epoch’. This epoch closed around 1900 – roughly when Europe had finished colonizing Africa and there were few areas of the

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world left where there would likely be further inroads. Mackinder stressed the significance, ending with an explosive analogy: From the present time forth, in the post-Colombian age, we shall again have to deal with a closed political system, and none the less that it will be one of world-wide scope. Every explosion of social forces, instead of being dissipated in a surrounding circuit of unknown space and barbaric chaos, will be sharply re-echoed from the far side of the globe, and weak elements in the political and economic organism of the world will be shattered in consequence. There is a vast difference of effect in the fall of a shell into an earthwork and its fall amid the closed spaces and rigid structures of a great building or ship. (Mackinder, 1904: 422)

The end of imperialism resulted in the global adoption of the Westphalian system of nation states, the normal continuation of warfare, and changes in the pattern of the World Order, but still no strongly effective international institutions. When alliances form between sovereign states, it means that on the world map there will be groupings of states, smaller or bigger, for longer or shorter times. The fundamental questions that geopolitics (used to) ask are: are there observable geographical patterns in the alliances of states, and, if so, in what way does basic geography contribute to an explanation of these patterns? The term geopolitics was coined by the Swedish political scientist Rudolf Kjellén (1916). However, the modern origins of geopolitics can be squarely traced to the seminal paper by Halford Mackinder from 1904, ‘The Geographical Pivot of History’, quoted from above. He asked the same questions that the army commanders of old had asked, but at a much greater scale, in both time and space, to see the relationship between the physical characteristics of the Earth, the disposition of seas, mountains, rivers and deserts, and the rise and fall of empires. He came to the conclusion that patterns of movement, and therefore possibilities for integration, varied between two vast arenas. One is the area of landmovement, once dominated by horsemen, but united in the new era by steam railways. The other is the maritime-dependent world. The first is the pivot area, later also known as the heartland, mostly comprising what in Mackinder’s time was the Eurasian Czarist Empire. From this area throughout history mobile invaders had threatened both Europe (Huns and barbarians) and China (hence the Great Wall). The area had also been the heartland for the Mongol empire. Given its vast resources and the new possibilities of movement by rail, Mackinder viewed it as a redoubt on a global scale. Why had the Western European powers, who by 1900 had direct (or indirect through descendent cultures in the Americas) control of most of the planet, not penetrated this heartland? His answer was that it is defined by drainage: the pivot area on Mackinder’s map was where rivers drained either to the Arctic or to inland basins. The Arctic Ocean was

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blocked by sea ice, so the maritime powers were unable to penetrate it. Thus the maritime-dependent world is an arc connected by the oceans and seas that surrounds the pivot. If it seems a bit odd that this rest of the world is labelled maritime dependent, a map of population distribution will show that the majority of the population of this arena is coastal. Even the one ‘inland’ centre of the USA, Chicago, is coastal, via the St Lawrence seaway. Thus, one of the most influential geopolitical works gave rivers systems and their oceanic links a significant role in the scheme of things. The seemingly inherent determinism of geopolitics, and Hitler’s use of it as guide and justification during World War Two, stained its reputation. After World War Two, within academia, political geography – essentially the analysis of spatial patterns of representative structures and voting behaviour – pushed geopolitics aside. This shift coincided with a general belief in the social sciences that prevailed for some time, namely that modern society became more and more insulated from the vagaries of nature and thus made the study of geographical space less relevant. This affected the study of international relations too, and some authors restrict geopolitics to ‘a terminological tradition employing a certain set of spatial concepts in international studies’ (Østerud 1988), while others align geopolitics with the subject of international political relations in general. Social developments – such as demographic growth, the extension of irrigation, worldwide urbanization, and global industrialization – have all made water systems relevant to society in new ways. While being fully aware of its reputation, it is still useful to connect to the geopolitical tradition because it has dealt with issues and factors that are becoming increasingly relevant today, especially in relation to international river basins and international aquifers. In a world where more than half of the population – that is, more than 3 billion people – live along river courses shared by two states or more, and where many of the big world players – such as the USA, China, India, Germany, France, Brazil, Turkey and Canada – are either upstream or downstream states in large international rivers (sometimes they are both upstream and downstream, as India and the USA), water as a geopolitical factor can hardly be exaggerated. Geopolitical analyses of relations between states and other actors and water systems, and to give water systems and river basins a prominent place in interpretations of power plays and power relations among states, do not have to be deterministic or develop into superficial one-factorism. One weakness of the geopolitical tradition is that it paid insufficient heed to complex, variable water systems.14 This weakness needs to be addressed, as, while water has been important to societies at all times, freshwater has become more important strategically and has attracted more and more political attention in recent years. This is due partly to the growing gap between water demand and increasing water uses and the supply of water in many countries in the world, both rich and poor, and also because modern societies have become increasingly vulnerable to changes in the

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physical waterscape and a number of cases that have demonstrated that even modern societies are not the masters of water (the floods in the Rhine in 1995, the Elbe flood in 2002, the Katrina crisis in 2005, and the droughts in the western USA in the 1990s). In general, population growth and processes of modernization make stronger demands on limited water resources. Modernizing also means that the natural environment and water systems become relevant to society in new ways. Together these developments bestow new meaning on the geo-aspect of geopolitics. The geopolitical perspective therefore has to be expanded by connecting to globalization and modernization theories to examine the importance of increased multifunctionality of water in modern societies. The unregulated growth of functional domains on the global level creates a set of new problems. The nation states of the world connect to these processes of globalization very differently. Some are highly integrated to this process, like USA and Western Europe, while many countries in Africa are less so, and some (like Russia, China and Iran) connect to this process of modernization but reject the Western-type democracy that liberals associate with it. As an example, there seems to be greater technical convergence than religious convergence across the globe – indeed it is the disparity between the two rates of convergence that may be one reason for the growth of Islamic jihadism. But this unregulated growth of functional domains and differentiations among societies also take place within river basins and along major water bodies, with implications for their usage and for power politics. The increased differentiation of autonomous and functionally independent social systems also takes place within states or political entities, with implications for how they relate to each other or can relate to each other when it comes to water resources. One example: when London was still the colonial power in East Africa, it discussed whether it was possible to divert the Nile in Uganda so as to put pressure upon the Egyptian leadership under the Suez crisis in 1956 (Tvedt, Chapter 4 this volume). The British found out in the end that it would be detrimental to their own interests, since it would be disruptive to the political alliances they sought to build with agricultural interests in the Sudan, who were dependent on the same water. NEW AND OLD SECURITY AGENDAS/WIDE AND NARROW The struggle for water and the conflict and cooperation among states for sharing and managing international waters is also about ‘security’. When analysing security issues, is it useful to talk about ‘old’ security, as Mackinder had in mind (Westphalian states securing their borders with conventional military means), and ‘new’ security, as defined by the United Nations Development Programme in 1997 to embrace more categories, and at a personal as well as national level. According to them, the seven categories of

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new security are economic, nutritional, health, environmental, personal, community and political. Even if water is not a category by itself, access to freshwater is fundamental to all of them. Moreover, the issue of water security is very high on the agenda in many states and regions in the world (the Jordan basin, the Euphrates–Tigris basin, the Nile basin, the Zambezi basin, the Indus basin, the Mekong basin, the Brahmaputra basin, the Colorado basin, and the Guarani Aquifer and the Nubian aquifer, to mention a few). Is the ‘old security’ something of the past, in the post-Cold-War world, where the new agenda is said to be growing in prominence because international-relations theorists, diplomats, many governments, and agencies of the United Nations are increasingly aware of the extent to which the internationalization of crime, terrorism, the trade in narcotics and environmental issues, all impinge, sometimes collectively, on the security of both states and their constituent publics? Or it is better to see them as coexisting – in the present? There are new uncertainties, such as the relationship between different forms of national law and new discourses on law with universal ambitions also pertaining to river systems.15 Without having institutions and authority to enforce this law on a national level, there is new insecurity about what upstream powers might do to downstream countries, and so forth. As an alternative approach, perhaps it is better to speak of narrow and wide security agendas, because too much focus on ‘new’ will tend to downplay the fact that old-fashioned power politics among territorial states is still part and parcel of the present-day world.16 In an era where a kind of universal agreement seems to be developing on the fact that the gap between the need for water (due to its increasing multifunctionality and the water requirements of modernity and demographic development) and the supply of water is decreasing, many actors will acknowledge that the water question is related to both forms of security and power politics. There are not only new transnational problems, but also new ways of coming to terms with global and regional problems. Keeping geographical space in mind and applying the water perspective we might see how functional differentiation above the national level – at least regionally if not globally – bestows new meaning to geographical space and river systems. The EU Water Framework embodies such new principles.17 The EU Water Framework Directive obliges its members to set up bodies of water management based on natural properties of river basins independent of national borders. This is another example showing that modernization does not make geographical space less relevant; on the contrary, it acquires new importance relevant to social structures that are typically modern. The increased differentiation of society is also reflected in the directive which sets up specific regulations for different types of activities. Thus, while commonly there is an increasing gap between the need for and expectations of regional actions above the nation state and the actual capacity to make collectively binding decisions, the EU and its water

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directive represents an exception on a continental scale. However exceptional, the point may also be made that the EU together with an increasing number of actors, organizations, bodies and the whole of the New Security Agenda and similar issues, are threads in the fabric of an emerging new world order that addresses and transforms the shattering effects of the explosive social forces Mackinder spoke of. POWER: COLLECTIVE AND DISTRIBUTIVE Since optimal water usage requires some sort of cooperation, there is a need to revisit theories of collective action and political power. It is about the old question ‘who can do what to whom?’ but not only in the negative sense. It is crucial to develop a notion of power that can help to explain both conflict and cooperation. The sociological discipline’s dominant tradition has regarded power as such as something ‘bad’, as basically an instrument for a minority to use to repress and exploit a majority. This general, critical attitude may be observed in studies of international affairs and in water studies too, for instance in Conca’s (2006) exploration of non-state alternatives in global management of water. The role power has to play in solving problems of collective action has proved to be hard to integrate analytically. Political science and studies of international relations recognize that power and transnational institutions are necessary means to solve international conflicts and bolster cooperation. By bringing the water issue into the picture, the terms of geopolitics and power can be discussed in new ways. Power over water is a universal source of social power, although to very different degrees from location to location and according to historical periods.18 Now, as before, political power is necessary to exploit water flows and to direct water to run where the power holders think it is most useful, and controlling sources of water may become more important in the future than it ever was in the past. While it is wellestablished knowledge that the first civilizations and city states rose on the banks of the great rivers of Mesopotamia and Egypt, closely connected to new forms of water control, there is no systematic empirical knowledge or theoretical discourse on the relationship between power and water in general. Yet fountains were symbols of emperors’ and popes’ power in Rome, and today countries name their biggest dams after their state leaders or national heroes (Iraq and Saddam Hussein, Egypt and Nasser, Turkey and Atatürk, and so on).19 One solution is to connect to the suggestion by sociologist Talcott Parsons (1960) that power has both distributive and collective aspects. With distributive power, the power A has in a system is, necessarily and by definition, at the expense of B, as in the famous definition by Robert Dahl (1957). Collective power is when individuals in cooperation can enhance their joint power over third parties or nature.20 In the social sciences,

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collective power has mostly been ignored (Hagen 2010). Parsons claimed that behind the critical attitude towards power lies a utopian conception of an ideal society in which power should not play any part at all. The actors’ deep and long-run dependency on the goals and capacities of social organization is shoved into the background. And since power as such is seen in a negative light, those who assert that power is necessary in general fail to explain, or do not find the ‘opportunity’ to explain, exactly which problem power is supposed to solve. They are therefore also unable to demonstrate how power might be generated to serve communal rather than sectoral interests. The literature in general fails to connect collective power and collective action, and to demonstrate how collective power may contribute to the solution of collective action problems and social dilemmas. COLLECTIVE ACTION AND COLLECTIVE ACTION PROBLEMS For the last 35–40 years the research community has been familiar with all the problems inherent in the call for collective action (Mancur Olson (1965), of course, is usually credited for drawing scientific attention to the problem of collective action). Earlier, it was widely believed that the public or collective good itself was enough to motivate collective action. The new critique, however, pointed out an inherent conflict between individual and collective interests in collective action. Public goods, in contrast to private goods, are accessible also to those that do not contribute to their production, and are vulnerable to sponging. The inherent conflict in collective action between individual and collective rationality is further explored in game theory in The Prisoner’s Dilemma. The original idea behind the basic conundrum is as follows. Two prisoners are held incommunicado in separate cells, and each is asked if the other has committed a crime. The level of punishment depends on whether one, both or neither indicates the other’s guilt. There are different versions of the game, but the general conclusion is that if each person follows his own interests, the two players will produce an outcome that is not optimal for either. As an example, if both assume that the other will keep the faith and not point to the other’s guilt, then both get light sentences. But it seems unlikely they will do so, because if one acts in good faith and the other informs, then the informer goes free and the concealer gets a long sentence. So both inform, and both get a moderate sentence. Free riders are also a problem for collective action. When many pay the costs of joint action, one or a few may collect the benefits for free. If most people pay their road taxes to maintain roads, those that dodge the tax get the benefits for free (until enforcement – which brings us back to power). Of course, when everybody chooses this individually rational strategy the collective or public good is not realized. Taking the prospect of mutual defection into account the rational choice again would be to cooperate, but

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the actor selecting this strategy risks ending up in the sucker’s position, carrying the cost of contributing to a collective good that will not be realized. The rational choice therefore is not to participate in collective action because this strategy gives the best result irrespectively of the actions of the others. However, problems of collective action are solved and collective action does take place, and the theoretical challenge is to explain how successful collective action comes about. The theoretical puzzles of collective action has attracted intense and widespread scientific interest. The main form of explaining collective action today is by invoking some non-rational characteristics of the actor. There are a multitude of such explanatory devices such as values or identity, for instance, the most common of which is the social norm.21 The argument is: ‘Social norms have a grip on the mind that is due to the strong emotions their violations can trigger … If norms can coordinate expectations, it is only because the violation of norms is known to trigger strong negative emotions, in the violator himself, and in other people’ (Elster 1989: 100). Internalized social norms may guide individual behaviour and produce actions that are beneficial to the group, but established norms may also hinder collective action and prevent actors from finding solutions to common problems. The debate over collective action within rational choice theory gives contradictory signals.22 The norm of sovereignty, for example, manifested in the Westphalian system of sovereign nation states may be such a norm that at one time helped establishing solutions to some types of international collective action problems, but which at the same time obstructed collective action to solve other types of collective action problems at the regional and global level. The norm of river basin planning that has become dominant after the Tennessee Valley Project in the 1930s is a norm that has solved a number of important problems in water management, but it also, if implemented dogmatically, contradicts the longterm policy of transfer of waters between river basins (as has been the tradition in Sri Lanka for many hundreds of years), and the new initiatives in China (where the national water strategy is to even out the differences in water situation between the south and north in China by huge transferals of water from one basin to another), and in India (the so called river-link plan). How do new norms emerge and how could social norms be consciously modified or manufactured such as to solve actual problems of collective action? The above explanatory device cannot satisfy this need for rational self-management. The immediate problem for the empirical analysis is that the established norm, value or identity is taken as given and not explained – it is the explanation. Social norms, like the norm of state sovereignty, are assumed to evolve by hidden hand mechanisms just as prices coordinate actions in the market to care for the common good and therefore relieve the individual of considering anything but self-interest. Likewise, social norms make individual acts conform to the needs of the social group, or the larger

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society, without the actor having to recognize or at least to be motivated by the positive collective consequences of the action. Social norms are assumed to come into existence because they solve problems for, and are needed by, the social system. This implies leaving the security agenda to chance and to the forces of evolution. The main problem with explaining collective action by invoking internalized social norms, values, and the like, is that the explanation disconnects the relation between the selection of the action and any assessment of the consequences of that action. When these defects of the norm-solution to collective action problems are recognized, one reaction has been to widen the concept of what is rational interest-maximizing behaviour.23 Actions motivated by norms or values might be considered rational in this sense to the extent that the actor evaluates different courses of action as a means to realize his or her values or interests, and eventually relates several norms in a hierarchical order of generality. To the extent such assessment of consequences is introduced, apparently the emotions lose part of their grip on the mind of the actor, and one would suspect that rationality weakens the integrative forces of the social norm and thus collective action becomes more uncertain. The theoretical limitation of this explanatory strategy is that the actors are allowed to observe some, but certainly not the collective consequences of their actions, because this assessment would again confront the actor with the dilemma of choosing between individual and collective rationality, leading to the original formulation of the problem where individual dominates collective rationality. This constitutes the paradox of the theoretical discourse on collective action; in order to establish an explanation of successful collective action the basic assumptions of what constitute rational behaviour must be abandoned. It is therefore possible to argue that what is counted as the theoretical solution to the problem in reality cannot account for the problem. In these cases there are no dilemmas, and one consequence is that the subjective meaning of collective action cannot be explained by the social sciences (Hagen 1999). As underscored by Elster (1989: 34), a theory of collective action based on the premises of rational choice must: ‘emphatically not try to explain successful collective action in terms of the benefit it brings to the group’. The theoretical debate on collective action has created and rests on a bifurcation of action types, of individual rationality versus actions motivated by social norms, often also ontologized as two human types – homo economicus and homo sociologicus. The social sciences hence will tend to overlook the rational aspects of collective action, and the concept of collective rationality remains underdeveloped. There is at present no theory that can explain rational collective action. Actual cooperation in large river basins may form empirical cases that can help develop such a theory, at the same time as struggles for power in international river basins are modern examples of a new type of geopolitics. Concepts are needed that explain both the genesis of the problem of

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collective action and its solutions and failures, and this theoretical approach must enable observation of the rational aspects of collective action. There is discussion of the cooperator’s dilemma (Lichbach 1996), a concept that underlines the collective side of the distinction, and the actor’s interest in finding a cooperative solution. The cooperator recognizes the benefits of concerted collective action and understands the different and interconnected lines of actions of several actors in order to achieve the common good. These interdependencies can be simple or complex, running from mere coordination where actors do the same thing, for example applying standards or methods of measuring water, to complexes of interaction where the actors play very different but mutually supportive roles to bring about the collective outcome.24 Collective rationality is an intrinsic part of collective action. But it is important not to make assumptions about the actors that limit their ability to assess consequences, for instance that actors observe only collective and not individual consequences, which is a contradiction in terms since the one is unthinkable without the other. The social dilemma is therefore a social and subjective reality, and everybody is both a cooperator and an egoist, shifting between the two horns of the social dilemma.25 Psychic and mental confrontation are important factors, since, based on such experiences, actors may be convinced that they must sacrifice self-interest to bring about the collective or common good. This rational solidarity can only be conditional – one is willing to give up self-interest to gain as a group member only if enough others do it too. Collective action raises not only two opposing rationalities but corresponding normative expectations as well; one should cooperate and one should do as best as one can to fend for oneself. Individual interests are not intrinsically ‘bad’ but are labelled as selfish from the perspective of the collective interest. As several chapters in this volume report, the idea of management of international or transnational water bodies is to set up a collective mechanism with power enough to stop individual stakeholders or actors to do harm to the collective or to any of the other stakeholders.26 Instead of explaining problems of collective action by making assumptions about the involved individuals that limit their rationality, we take the problem of collective action to be a special kind of communication – or relation – and ask under what social circumstances collective rationality may prevail over individual rationality. By that we not only ascribe full cognitive capacities to individuals, but also believe that such capabilities are stimulated and fostered by the social system of collective action. In a certain sense action comes before the actor, evolving from subjective experiences of interdependency and contingency. One social condition that favours collective rather than individual rationality is public discourse. Only collective rationality can be presented as a legitimate normative expectation within the affected group. Individual rationality, on the contrary, cannot be generalized; one cannot for instance

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address the collectivity and literally assert that we should all defect. In public discourse the actors may develop a shared understanding of the collective purpose and oblige each other towards their individual roles in the collective undertaking. Public agreement is seldom sufficient, apart from those rare conditions where collective decision-making and collective action take place under the public scrutiny of the involved actors or stakeholders. Under modern conditions the two generally are separated and the link is created by the mass media. Publicity, a shared understanding, and fair distribution of collective benefits and burdens are all important steps to bring about collective action, but collective action will also in general depend on collective power. Collective power solves social dilemmas or collective action problems by making collective rationality prevail over individual rationality; by threatening individual rational strategies of defecting collective actions with negative sanctions – in the last resort by the use of force. In order to have the power to act, a collective must be able to restrict the choices of its own members. Internal restrictions are necessary to acquire collective goods, and it is the function of the political system to regularly supply these. Power both restricts and enables, and it enables by imposing restrictions. It is this nexus that is hard to grasp theoretically, although it happens all the time, not the least in international river basins. COLLECTIVE POWER AND MULTIFUNCTIONAL AND COMPLEX WATER SYSTEMS The problem of collective action is represented in what seem to be very abstract models, but these models of interaction often presuppose a particular physical environment. Garret Hardin (1968: 1244) modelled the problem of collective action as the ‘tragedy of the commons’. As an example, a pasture is shared by herders, each of whom wishes to maximize his yield; each additional animal has both a positive and negative effect as the herder gets a higher return but the pasture is degraded. By ‘the remorseless working of things’, the actions of self-interested individuals do not promote the public good. Hardin writes: ‘Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without a limit – in a world that is limited … Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all’. The recent conventional solution to such sustainability problems has been privatization, in which the individual pursuing his own interests is supposedly part of a hidden hand that maximizes welfare because it is then in an individual’s interest to protect his resources or his own land. The alternative is regulation by some higher authority, such as a government which is ‘in power’. We may only speculate how the theoretical discussion would have proceeded if the example for the logic of collective action was a river and not a pasture. The general problem of collective action pertains

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to rivers, too, as several competing uses of water, each of which is individually rational, might turn out to have negative collective consequences. An obvious example is the abstraction of water for irrigation by too many riparians, to the point where there are no fish and no water for domestic consumption or transport. Significantly, because the nature of the resources is not the same as ‘a pasture’, the issues may not play out in the classical manner. The public rights of free passage, and private rights for fishing, may limit the water for irrigation. Clearly there are complex hierarchies of rights and powers involved. River systems and their man-made manipulation are important areas where competition among states can be studied but where also cooperation among states can be found, and cooperation and conflict can exist at the same time. Recognizing how the French statesman Cardinal Mazarin used the Rhine as a corridor for fair trade rather than a boundary, and made plans for cooperative development of rivers in Poland, Bohemia and Germany, it has been asked: who will be the Mazarin of Asia today?27 The Westphalian system was created as a solution to a collective action problem – and gave birth to a whole set of new problems that challenges the principles of sovereignty itself. Within the theory of international relations, and the theory of international environmental governance, regime building has become a strategy of environmental protection (Haas 2008). The concept of governance designates political systems with the ability to govern without being states and without their own means of ‘hard’ power. Even if there are several examples of successful regimes that solve particular collective action problems (Barrett 2003), the sheer number of regimes and the treaties they support may also be an indication of a weakness of this solution, which might become more evident in a water-system context. Rivers and water bodies are always both local and global, they are territorialized to a specific geographical place, but this locality may be part of a global food-web. An international regime might not be the appropriate institutional form to address the reciprocal causality between local disturbances and regional and global systems (Conca 2006). The regime building strategy might work better when the problem is a single issue such as emission of toxic pollutants, than when it comes to the complexity of water systems. This is what the European Union is hoping to achieve by implementing the Water Framework Directive (WFD). The WFD represents something new in political management of water and the natural environment in general.28 While earlier directives took issue with one or a few problems at a time, as for instance water pollution, river basins and watersheds are the ordering principle in the WFD, adopted in 2000.29 Within each river basin, according to the WFD, all water-related aspects have to be taken into account in an integrated manner. This principle establishes high internal integration within the water system, and is an effort to arrive at a higher level of external integration as well. Taking the river basin approach creates opportunities to

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resolve transboundary problems because they are ‘more easily transformed into collective problems that need to be solved together by all countries of the basin’ (Moellenkamp in Liefferink et al., Chapter 11 this volume). In fact, Moellenkamp stresses the creation of a discourse of ‘river basin solidarity’, phrased as ‘joint responsibility’ and ‘common ground’. This approach to the integration of social and natural systems meets with resistance from established organizational structures, but there is also a more fundamental dilemma of fit and interplay: the more one opts for a river basin approach, the harder it is to reach out outside that specialized water domain, and a river basin authority might also eventually compete with generic governmental bodies. Collective and distributive powers are two sides of the same coin. Political power is collectively accumulated and distributed to repress strategies that may be individually rational but that may undermine the collective or common good. Even if political power serves the political system and enables it to reach its goals, and is legitimized both substantially and formally, it has an unpleasant side too. For example: taxes might be recognized as necessary but hardly desired by those who pay them. These internal relations within the collectivity must be distinguished from a situation where power is used by one group against another. The stronger collectivity uses its power, for instance, to acquire water rights of another, but even in these cases water conflict is rarely cutthroat and the power holders avoid employing physical force and prefer to get their way by deception.30 The most effective use of power may in some cases be directed towards framing the opponent’s conception of the situation, or to have power over knowledge, to paraphrase Foucault. There are a growing number of new actors and institutions that address problems of collective action at the international and global level: the United Nations with its subsidiary bodies and specialized agencies, and intergovernmental organizations such as the WTO, WHO, the Group of 77 or, the G8. Alongside these formal bodies there has been a surge in the numbers of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) often depicted as belonging to or representing an emerging global civil society. The explosion of so-called ‘civil society’ actors is a striking development also on the global water arena. Civil society is defined in very many different ways, but in general it refers to the space of voluntary activities and uncoerced collective action that can help to solve social problems independent of and in opposition to formal political structures.31 It includes several different types of actors and activities. Some see a big role for civil society actors in a new world order, either as an alternative to traditional forms of representative democracy or at least as an important extension of conventional politics. Very often civil society in today’s political jargon has become synonymous with NGOs, which portray themselves as being representatives of this civil society, although they to a very large extent have

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been funded by donor governments and are led by people who move between positions in the three sectors (Tvedt 1998). Their public task has become to underline (and perhaps exaggerate) the severity of the problems to solve and the need for collective action. These developments pertain to the water sector too. The World Water Council, the World Water Forum, the Global Water Partnership, and the World Commission on Dams all give civil society and NGOs a prominent role.32 The International Rivers Network is an activist network. The European Union uses direct democracy and public involvement as supplements to representative government structures, and thus a vital factor of its Water Framework Directive is including stakeholders such as NGOs, economic actors and the general public in the political management of water.33 One important concern is to initiate social learning and understanding of the collective action problematic among those affected. So far the experiences are mixed.34 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION This chapter has pointed to three processes of globalization that bestow new meaning on the concept of the geopolitical. The first is the processes of functional specialization that create vast networks and circuits of meaning across and above the nation state. This leads to the second process of finding new means for making collectively binding decisions that can regulate the interaction among these social systems on the regional and global level. Add to this a whole new set of environmental issues, where we have focussed on the management of international water bodies in a context where water scarcity is looming and the uncertainties of future waterscapes are growing. The global political system is faced with the challenge to achieve both internal and external integration of the many social systems at the same time that one has to cater for the needs of the natural systems, since these systems provide a basis for societal existence in the long run. It is in this context we use the distinction between new and old world orders, where the new points to mechanisms for building collective power and making collective binding decisions beyond the segmented systems of territorial states. The interdependencies of these processes are manifested in the open and complex water systems of the world, as more people use more water for many more purposes than before. The dilemma of choosing between cooperation and conflict becomes more pressing for nations sharing the same water basin, and geopolitics in the traditional sense is intensified. However, there is also a new connection between geography and politics. Political systems are always territorial because the physical force needed to accumulate and distribute power depends on the physical characteristics of this space. With increased technological capacities and economic resources power has become less reliant on the physical properties of the terrain, on

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the other hand it has become more of a political task to regulate, protect and restrict human interaction with natural systems. To grasp the old and new meaning of politics and geography we have discussed different aspects of power and its importance. To say that political power is also collective power, and a precondition for solving collective action problems of a certain scale and complexity, is not to idealize it. The distribution of collective power is unpleasant, since it will limit and frame the aspirations of every individual actor. The actual collective action is usually a compromise – nobody is entirely happy with the situation or the outcome – but they accept it because they fear the alternative may be worse – this is the default position of collective rationality. NOTES 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

9 10 11

12 13

Xu and Grumbine, Chapter 14 this volume. See for instance, in this volume: Zeitoun (Chapter 3), Timmerman (Chapter 12), Xu and Grumbine (Chapter 14), Daoudy (Chapter 18), and Karaev (Chapter 19). Also, when power is assumed to be productive as in Michel Foucault (Foucault and Faubion 1997), power is part of a process of social control and discipline. For an overview on social theories of power, see Haugaard 2002. For a discussion of rational choice theory and collective action problems made relevant for water governance, see Waterbury, Chapter 2 this volume. See, for example, the first two volumes in this series: Tvedt and Jakobsson 2006; Coopey and Tvedt 2006. For instance: Bourdieu 1975, 1996; Luhmann 2000, 2004; Foucault et al. 2007. Haldén demonstrates in Chapter 13, this volume, how perceived climate change resonates with different social systems in the case of Somalia and is used strategically for political reasons. Of the three major forces of integration, this chapter (and book) deals mainly with the ‘utilitarian’ approach to the forces of common or collective interests, and power – backed by the institutional use or threat of physical violence, while a few chapters deal with the third force of integration, the identities of ethnicity, language and heritage. For a further discussion of this, see Tvedt 2010b. Earlier volumes of this series have dealt with other aspects of water systems and their social functions. We prefer the term geopolitical to the more used hydropolitical. The term hydropolitical is too narrow, underplaying the multifunctionality of water systems and the broader context in which conflicts or cooperation over water unfolds. The term hydropolitical also indicates that it is a kind of sub-category of geopolitical, but it is rather a variant of it, in some cases being more important than any other geographical factor while in other cases being of very little importance. See Beaudry’s chapter on the Peace of Westphalia and the water question (Chapter 7 this volume). On the role of river systems in imperialism, see the Pádua (Chapter 8 this volume) and Kampanje-Phiri (Chapter 9 this volume).

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14 Attempts at revitalizing the tradition fail to recognize the geopolitical import of freshwater systems (Ó Tuathail 1996; Dalby, Routledge and Ó Tuathail 2006; Dodds 2007; Dodds and Atkinson 2000; Flint 2006). 15 See Kassa, Chapter 21 this volume. 16 Many chapters in this book are testimony to this, not least when it comes to the water question. 17 See Liefferink, Wiering and Leroy, Chapter 11 this volume. 18 This includes water used as a weapon and means of force, see the fascinating studies in Sawyer (Chapter 5 this volume) Nicholson (Chapter 6 this volume). 19 The Saddam Dam on the Tigris, the largest dam in Iraq, has of course been renamed after the invasion in 2003, and is now called the Mosul Dam. 20 This distinction between the collective and distributive aspects of power seems to fit several of the cases studied in this volume rather well; see, for instance, in this volume: Quinn (Chapter 10), Chapman (Chapter 15) , Daoudy (Chapter 18) and Karaev (Chapter 19). 21 See Elster 2007 for an overview of the literature on this topic. 22 This is the phrase used by Waterbury in Chapter 2 (this volume). 23 See Lichbach 1996 for a discussion of this strategy. In general Lichbach finds that no theory of collective action within the field of rational choice theory fulfils both criteria of logical completeness and logical consistency; in other words, if they are complete they are logically inconsistent. 24 For a systematic account of collective interdependencies, see Barrett 2007. 25 Beaudry demonstrates how participants to the Treaty of Westphalia encountered such dilemmas, a treaty which did not speak directly of collective rationality but of ‘the benefit of the other’ (Chapter 7 this volume). 26 See for instance Timmerman’s chapter regarding Spain and Portugal (Chapter 12 this volume), and Chapman (Chapter 15 this volume) on such institutions not being realized due to ‘natural causes’. 27 See www.turkishweekly.net/columnist/3177/water-and-westphalia-in-the-21stcentury.html (accessed on 27 December 2009). 28 See Liefferink, Wiering and Leroy, Chapter 11 this volume. 29 The term water basin, to include aquiferbased units, may be more appropriate. For the (neglected) geopolitics of groundwater see Jarvis (Chapter 20 this volume). 30 See Zeitoun (Chapter 3 this volume) for the Israel–Palestine conflict, and Mustafa (Chapter 17 this volume) for the conflicts over water in the Indus basin. 31 The Centre for Civil Society at London School of Economics makes uncoerced collective action a defining characteristic: www.lse.ac.uk/collections/CCS/ what_is_civil_society.htm (accessed 28 December 2009). 32 Ruth Langridge addresses these type of actors and institutions in Chapter 22 of this volume. 33 ‘A stakeholder is anyone who feels affected by how water resources are managed. This includes people who receive negative effects, such as those downstream (e.g., fisherfolk on coastal lagoons), or people concerned with aspects of the environment and wildlife. All of these, and others, should be considered as groups from which to select stakeholder representatives’ (Abernethy 2005: 66). 34 On this issue, see Liefferink, Wiering and Leroy (Chapter 11 this volume) and Timmerman (Chapter 12 this volume).

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REFERENCES Abernethy, Charles L. 2005. Constructing New Institutions for Sharing Water, in Claudia Ringler, Bryan Randolph Bruns, and Ruth Suseela Meinzen-Dick (eds), Water Rights Reform: Lessons for Institutional Design. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute: 55–84. Barrett, Scott. 2003. Environment and Statecraft: The Strategy of Environmental Treaty-Making. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Barrett, Scott. 2007. Why Cooperate?: The Incentive to Supply Global Public Goods. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bourdieu, Pierre. 1975. The Specificity of the Scientific Field. Social Science Information 14: 19–47. Bourdieu, Pierre. 1996. The State Nobility: Elite Schools in the Field of Power. Cambridge: Polity Press. Chapman, Graham P. 2009. The Geopolitics of South Asia: From Early Empires to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Aldershot: Ashgate. Conca, Ken. 2006. Governing Water: Contentious Transnational Politics and Global Institution Building. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Coopey, Richard and Terje Tvedt. 2006. Water as a Unique Commodity, in Coopey, Richard and Tvedt, Terje (eds), The Political Economy of Water, in Tvedt, Terje (series editor), A History of Water, Series I, vol. II. London: I.B.Tauris. Dahl, Robert A. 1957. The Concept of Power. Behavioral Science 2/3: 201–5. Dalby, Simon, Paul Routledge and Gearóid Ó Tuathail. 2006. The Geopolitics Reader. London: Routledge. Dodds, Klaus. 2007. Geopolitics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Dodds, Klaus and David Atkinson. 2000. Geopolitical Traditions: A Century of Geopolitical Thought. London: Routledge. Elster, Jon. 1989. The Cement of Society: A Study of Social Order. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Elster, Jon. 2007. Explaining Social Behavior: More Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Flint, Colin. 2006. Introduction to Geopolitics. London: Routledge. Foucault, Michel, François Ewald, Michel Senellart and Alessandro Fontana. 2007. Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1977–78. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Foucault, Michel and James Faubion. 1997. Power. London: Allen Lane/Penguin. Giddens, Anthony and Simon Griffiths. 2006. Sociology. Cambridge: Polity. Haas, Peter M. 2008. Introduction, in Peter M. Haas (ed.), International Environmental Governance, Aldershot: Ashgate: xv–xxxvi. Hagen, Roar. 1999. Rasjonell solidaritet. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. Hagen, Roar. 2010. Collective Power: Reception and Prospect of a Scientific Concept, in Willy Østreng (ed.), Transference: Interdisciplinary Communications 2008/2009. Oslo: CAS. Internet publication: http://www.cas. uio.no/publications_/transference.php Hardin, Garrett. 1968. The Tragedy of the Commons. Science 162: 1243–8. Haugaard, Mark. 2002. Power: A Reader. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Kjellén, Rudolf. 1916. Staten som lifsform. Stockholm: Hugo Geber.

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Lichbach, Mark Irving. 1996. The Cooperator’s Dilemma. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. Luhmann, Niklas. 2000. Art as a Social System. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Luhmann, Niklas. 2004. Law as a Social System. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Luhmann, Niklas and André Kieserling. 2000. Die Politik der Gesellschaft. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Mackinder, H.J. 1904. The Geographical Pivot of History. The Geographical Journal 23/ 4: 421–37. Michel, Aloys Arthur. 1967. The Indus Rivers; a study of the effects of partition. New Haven: Yale University Press Ó Tuathail, Gearóid. 1996. Critical Geopolitics: The Politics of Writing Global Space. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Olson, Mancur. 1965. The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Østerud, Øyvind. 1988. Review: The Uses and Abuses of Geopolitics. Journal of Peace Research 25: 191–9. Parsons, Talcott. 1960. The Distribution of Power in American Society. Structure and Process in Modern Societies. New York: Free Press. Rodda, John C. and I.A. Siklomanov. 2003. World Water Resources at the Beginning of the Twenty First Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Tvedt, Terje. 1998. Angels of Mercy or Development Diplomats. NGOs & Foreign Aid. Oxford: James Currey/New Jersey: Africa World Press. Tvedt, Terje. 2010a. The River Nile in the Post-Colonial Age: Conflict and Cooperation in the Nile Basin Countries. London: I.B.Tauris. Tvedt, Terje. 2010b. Water Systems, Environmental History and the Deconstruction of Nature. Environment and History 16/2: 143–83. Tvedt, Terje. 2010c. Why England and not China and India. A Water System Perspective on the History of the Industrial Revolution. Journal of Global History 5: 29–50. Tvedt, Terje and Eva Jakobsson (eds). 2006. Water Control and River Biographies, in Tvedt, Terje (series editor), A History of Water, Series I, vol. I. London: I.B.Tauris.

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You Can’t Get There from Here: Theoretic Puzzles of Collective Action

John Waterbury

INTRODUCTION Collective action problems (CAPs) can be and often are solved. Coordination of actors with diverse interests and strategies does take place. Yet we know that game-theoretic approaches to collective action posit that individual rationality will lead to ‘free riding’ and defection from group undertakings, thereby defeating the collective rationality of cooperation. However, through experimentation and direct observation we have learned that solutions to CAPs may be imposed by a powerful stakeholder, induced by loyalty to a group, driven by the fear of God, or inspired by altruism. These factors may overcome individual rationality. We also must not lose sight of the fact that collective action and cooperation are not necessarily identical. The former may require or involve some form of coercion or threat and may be based on the armtwisting of a hegemon. Cooperation, by contrast, is presumably voluntary or otherwise a perversion of the term. In the literature on collective action, both theoretic and applied, one consistently receives contradictory messages. It is like the law of physics that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In consequence, our conventional wisdom is not always robust or consistent. For example: •



Tradition and custom are seen as building blocks of collective action (i.e., enablers), and, at the same time, as obstacles to collective action, constituting the underpinnings of the status quo (for the latter view, see Abernethy 2005: 56). Put another way, social capital may enhance or inhibit collective action. Norms shaping collective action are frequently contradictory – for example in international water law, the principles of acquired rights and of no appreciable harm (which tend to sustain the status quo) clash with measurable need, equity and potential (making for new deals).

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– What is fair and equitable? Should a sector that contributes, say, 10 per cent of GDP receive 80 per cent of a scarce national resource, as is the case for agricultural water use in many societies? Should populations with high birth rates or high rates of in-migration receive ‘fair’ per capita shares of water or any other common pool resource? – Water communities or users’ associations may use shares in time, which work only if, in a given period, the flow is steady so that time slots yield roughly equal amounts of water; or they may use quantitative quotas which, to work, must be underpinned by volumetric stability over time. Neither norm is likely to prevail in the real world. • The Helsinki Rules and the 1997 ILC Convention on the NonNavigational Use of International Water Courses are broad, nonoperationalized, and non- prioritized. Like sacred texts they can be used to justify just about anything. They give equal weight to appreciable harm and equitable use, norms that may frequently contradict each other. • It is said that we need vastly more information and data in order to promote collective action. It is also said that too much data and information can hinder cooperation (Waterbury 2002: 36–7). • Technology exacerbates public goods and common pool problems: fishing uses sonar, GPS, huge drag nets and increasingly fishing at great depths leading to unprecedented over-fishing; some of the same technology enables much better monitoring and enforcement. Technology (diesel pumps, solar panels) may lead to individualism and unilateralism and thwart cooperation or require significant levels of cooperation and collective action (Wessels 2008 on the qanats of Syria). It is because our assumptions and understandings often point in opposite directions or in multiple directions that I invoke the old saw ‘you can’t get there from here’. A recent collection on common pool resources demonstrates what I would call the ‘everything is possible so we really don’t know what we are doing’ approach to many CAPs: This greater awareness and understanding of many different types of institutional arrangements has increasingly led to the understanding that there is no single best arrangement for solving common-pool resource problems. Rather, in many settings, a combination of approaches is likely the most effective approach. Furthermore, a greater understanding of diverse institutional arrangements has led to an appreciation of the importance of attending to the interactions among the many actors inevitably involved in most water settings. (Schlager 2005: 51)

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Because norms are contradictory and potentially irreconcilable, it is not at all obvious in any specific instance that we know where we want to go. But assuming we do know, then the démarche is: • • •

set and define goals; design incentives to reach them; and deal with unintended consequences (they will always manifest themselves).

All three of these steps depend on our assumptions regarding the dynamics of collective action; in other words, what factors act in support of collective action and what factors inhibit it. The first analyses, in the spirit of or building directly on Olson (1965), emphasized the obstacles to collective action when actors pursue narrow self-interest. Subsequent literature suggests that by changing the parameters of the games and the identities or self-perception of the stakeholders, collective action may become more likely. The dynamics of collective action and of collective action problems (CAPs) are not consistently sensitive to scale. We can generate and test theory at the micro-level of the family, the clique or the putnamian bowling club, the rotating credit association, or a water users’ association; at the intermediate level of the large organization such as a trade union or the state; or at the level of the international system. One size rule does appear consistent: the larger the number of stakeholders, the greater the temptation to free-ride and the more difficult it is to promote collective action. It might seem that the absence of a central authority, capable of making binding rules and enforcing them, at the international level, means that international CAPs are of a different order of difficulty, but the absence of a central authority marks a distinction without much of a difference. After all, the free-rider is precisely one who breaks the rules in a system governed by an authoritative rule maker and gets away with it, and free-riding, defection, and non-participation are the main obstacles to collective action. They may occur at any level. In understanding these sometimes contradictory dynamics of action and defection, I do not think there have been new theoretic insights that take us beyond Olson, Axelrod, Krasner, Lichbach, Mueller, North and Haas, among many others. Barrett, Bates, Chayes, Ostrom, Saleth and Dinar, and Sandler have, in essence, given us good empirical applications and refinements of existing theory. Behavioral economics has, however, focussed attention on the importance of perceptions (as do Saleth and Dinar) and, above all, perceived risk as critical factors in decision-making. Game theory is based on real behavior, and it is tested by the actual playing of games. This conforms to my own comfort zone, one of inductive theorizing stimulated by empirical observation of phenomena and puzzles.

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Paraphrasing Kuhn (1962), all scientific enquiry starts with the conscious or unconscious perception of a puzzle. FOUNDATIONAL PROPOSITIONS Mark Lichbach (1996: 22–5) suggests four explanatory incentive frameworks for collective action: 1. community, involving social capital coupled with the risk of ostracism; 2. market, involving impersonal transactions that lead, à la Adam Smith, to a collective outcome; 3. contract, which leads to a negotiated state of mutual benefit coupled with sanctions for violation of contract; and 4. hierarchy, through which collective action is imposed by a hegemon or dominant interest. This listing is seemingly comprehensive, but one of these things is not like the others: in other words, contract is a solution to a CAP. If it is honored, it links individual to collective rationality. The other three are different kinds of incentive systems that might lead to contracts, either formal or informal. These four frameworks are seldom pure. A community, for example, may be held together by the fear of God or the fear of losing face, or it may be based on a negotiated agreement, such as the Mayflower Compact, which came to govern the community of the first European settlers in Massachusetts. It may be dominated by a hegemon. Markets may only work within a specific community, and contracts may be enforced by fear of ostracism more than by fear of legal action. Lichbach (1996: 117) then goes further than may be warranted: ‘In short, CA (collective action) without morality is impossible’ (emphasis added). General and impersonal commitments drive actions. Kantian ethics, therefore, offers another way to overcome the Cooperator’s Dilemma by overcoming the potential participants’ self-interest.’ Game theory suggests that collective action without morality is quite possible, but that the notion of self-interest is so expansive that it can encompass non-material rewards. The four frameworks (or, in my view, three) help explain how free-riding and defection may be overcome, but they by no means eliminate either. Simulated games consistently demonstrate that players are often moved by sentiments of fairness and justice whatever their individual dominant strategy should be. In the ultimatum game, for example, a proposer has $100 and says she will determine the division of the $100 between herself and the receiver. It would be rational for the receiver to accept any offer, because to refuse the proposed allocation means the receiver would get nothing. But most often receivers will reject an allocation that they regard as not ‘fair’, usually something less than $30 (Stern 2007: 536).

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The perception of fairness is frequently cited as essential to selfsustaining agreements. Scott Barrett (2003: 64) states that self-enforcing treaties must be individually rational, collectively rational and fair. Absent any of the three legs of this stool, then self-enforcement collapses and the dominant strategy of any stakeholder will be to defect. Individual rationality thus defeats collective rationality, and a sub-optimal Nash equilibrium is established. The Nash equilibrium is that combination of choices from which no player would unilaterally change. It entails the paralysis of Adam Smith’s hidden hand by which individual rationality leads to collective benefits. I will have more to say about collective rationality below, but for now I note only that meeting all three of Barrett’s criteria is unlikely, or, at any rate, very difficult in the ‘real world’. Perhaps the most famous example is Adam Smith’s wedding of individual rationality in markets leading to collectively rational outcomes whereby individual acts of maximization aggregate to enhance the welfare of the many. One of the best examples of this wedding is to be found in the avian world in the self-enforcing ‘roosting bird convention’: The question of why some birds roost communally and others roost solitarily is related to the question of why there are both communal and solitary nesters. One possibility is that older, more experienced birds are better able to find food; hence younger birds roost with them in order to follow their elders to better foraging grounds. The older birds accept this social parasitism because they tend to be dominant and are able to appropriate more central and therefore safer positions in the roosting crowd. As long as the costs of increased competition are outweighed by the benefits of increased safety from predators for the older birds and the benefits of locating rich food supplies for the young outweigh reduced nighttime safety for them, roosting should be communal. (Ehrlich et al. 1988: 617; emphasis added)

I do not know if birds are moved by a sense of fairness, or if a sense of fairness among humans is an evolutionary trait. Either way, we have the third leg of the stool, and this arrangement is self-enforcing. Unpredictable behavior of other stakeholders and imperfect knowledge are major obstacles to collective action. Faced with these unknowns, actors are likely to behave defensively and to resist exposing themselves to harm through commitments to collective action. Institutions, taken in their broadest sense (see Williamson 1985; North 1990; Saleth and Dinar 2004), can overcome these unknowns. How institutions come about is itself a CAP, so I will let that chicken and egg strictly alone. Suffice it to say institutions may be designed or they may develop organically. They may involve written rules or tacit understandings and expectations rooted in established practice. Whatever their source they can best be conceived as frameworks

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for the aggregation and transfer of knowledge, for predictable and sanctioned behavior, and hence for the reduction of uncertainty. They enhance voluntary compliance with formal and informal rules, thereby reducing transaction costs associated with information-gathering and rule-enforcement. THE FLEXIBLE BOUNDS OF RATIONALITY Within a narrow definition of rationality, we would expect very little collective action to take place in the absence of a de jure central authority or of a de facto hegemon. From the point of view of individual and collective rationality we would anticipate dominant strategies leading to sub optimal payoffs for all (non-)participants. Empirically, however, that turns out not to be the case in a significant number of instances (see for example Giordano and Wolf 2003). There are various explanations as to why this is so. Legitimacy Simulated games show that sometimes in half of the cases when players are given the opportunity to defect they do not do so (Mueller 2003: 40). This ‘altruism’ may come from early socialization that brands pursuit of narrow self-interest as improper or reprehensible. It is viewed normatively as a form of cheating like the famous turnstile jumpers in the subways of New York. Moreover by not ‘cheating’ we gain legitimacy and standing in the eyes of people we admire or love, or whose approval we seek. After I drafted this contribution, I attended the Swedish International Water Week in Stockholm. At a dinner on Middle East water issues, a representative of the Swedish Foreign Ministry noted that Sweden found itself in the odd position of potentially benefiting from global warming (a longer growing season, a more tourist-friendly climate) but at the same time leading most of the world in taking real measures to mitigate the emission of greenhouse gases. I concluded that Sweden’s rational selfinterest was trumped by its concern to demonstrate its standards as a responsible world citizen. In this instance collective rationality prevailed over rational self-interest. But please note: Mueller’s observation also shows that half of all participants will normally follow narrow self-interest. Multiple games or agendas To the extent that collective action is the result of bargaining and negotiations (which is not the case in voting or the setting of prices in unregulated markets), the carrots and sticks are understood in light of

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empirical assumptions to the effect that if the measurable benefits of collective action do not outweigh the measurable costs of participation, no action will occur. That is the avian calculus above. Reality is far more complex. We should expect iterative games being played simultaneously where benefits may accrue in one domain and costs in another, or, in Axelrod’s terms, we may see tit in one area and tat in another. Parallel and overlapping ‘games’ expand the rational horizon. Collective action in one game may be achieved because of payoffs in another (see Jägerskog 2003; Daoudy 2005: 29; Phillips et al. 2006 for applications). The inverse is also true. Russia ratified the Kyoto Convention only after European countries agreed to support its bid for WTO membership (Harrison and Sundstrom 2007: 12). Turkey and Syria have bargained simultaneously over shared Euphrates water and cross-border ‘terrorism’. In a recent report on climate change, the US Council on Foreign Relations (2008: 62) observed ‘that incentives from outside the climate sphere may be powerful, and recommends that the United States seek opportunities to trade across different foreign policy issues and challenges’. Inconsistent incentives It is fortunately the case that stakeholders in potential or actual collective action are guided by inconsistent or contradictory incentives. Stakeholders may simultaneously contribute to and suffer from public goods and bads such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, acid rain, trans-boundary water flows or pandemics. Beware the stakeholder with consistent or noncontradictory incentives. She will always be very stubborn and sometimes very dangerous. Potential or immanent crisis The prospect of inescapable or potential disaster – such as the melting of the polar ice caps, or ‘perfect storms’ like Katrina – may render the shortsightedness of narrow self-interest or business as usual so obvious that collective action results (Saleth and Dinar 2004: 182). Foresight may be a necessary but is never a sufficient precondition for collective action. Process Initial conditions or steps do not necessarily indicate where we are going. The process of analyzing and mobilizing resources for collective solutions may develop its own internal logic and eventually spawn its own institutional underpinnings and sustainability (see below).

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Third-party facilitators Third parties with expertise and resources may be able to leverage collective action when the immediate stakeholders seem incapable of it on their own. This is paradoxical because, on the surface, it appears that thirdparty incentives to promote collective action must necessarily be weaker than those of the immediate stakeholders (see below). THE BASIS FOR DEFECTION AND NON-PARTICIPATION Ignorance and indifference There is an assumption that the main obstacle to collective action is freeriding on a valued public good (reduction in GHG emissions, or integrated water resource management, for example) and the main challenge is monitoring and enforcement (as in fishing quotas and preservation of fish stocks, or identifying in-stream polluters). But there are other, perhaps more important, obstacles based on three kinds of ignorance. The first kind is well known. A given stakeholder may not know the agendas or incentive matrices of other stakeholders. This is at the heart of the prisoners’ dilemma game. Ignorance in such situations leads to the suboptimal Nash equilibrium. The second kind is less well studied but potentially as powerful in its effects on non-action. At the inception of collective action, its benefits lie in the future and are thus hypothetical. Would-be participants may vaguely see the benefit but be indifferent to it. The status quo always has vested interests that anticipate certain immediate losses against uncertain future benefits. This kind of uncertainty is exacerbated by asymmetrical benefits stemming from collective action or asymmetrical losses stemming from inaction (see below). Thirdly, it may also be the case that would-be participants are ignorant in a more profound sense; they simply do not understand the future benefits or damages (a rise in average global temperatures of 4 degrees Celsius as opposed to 2 degrees) and hence are unwilling to share in any immediate costs. Would-be participants may have other priorities, outside the collective action domain under consideration, and limited resources and talent to devote to them. When benefits are hypothetical, the opportunity cost of deploying scarce resources in quest of them may appear prohibitively high. There is also likely to be no constituency for incurring those immediate costs. So indifference, ignorance and other priorities can stymie collective action and promote non-participation or defection. As we shall see, however, certain kinds of ignorance may foster collective action and fair rules.

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Number of stakeholders It is almost always the case that the fewer the number of stakeholders or potential participants, the less difficult it will be to bring about collective action. The numbers question is insensitive to level or scale. At the international level, the success of the Montreal Protocol on ozone depletion was due to the small number of countries that contributed disproportionately to the problem, although that is only part of the explanation. The failure to date of the Kyoto Convention is due to the large number of stakeholders and the fear or excuse of widespread free-riding. That said, a relatively small number of countries contribute most of the GHG emissions and could conceivably take collective action among themselves. The Nuclear Suppliers Group is one in which individual rationality (the USA vis-à-vis India, China vis-à-vis North Korea) defeats collective rationality. It has 45 members, much like the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (on ICCAT see Barrett 2003: 325–7). Both organizations are failing in their collective tasks due to large numbers and asymmetrical benefits from collective action (see below). Asymmetry If the benefits of collective action vary substantially in amount or in quality among the stakeholders, it will be difficult to move forward. Asymmetry works against collective rationality. If, as in a river basin, a potential participant has a right to be part of a collective action (flood control, pollution abatement, water allocation), and if a given stakeholder anticipates relatively small benefits from participation, that actor will extract a high price for participation or not participate at all. ‘In small groups with common interests there is accordingly a surprising tendency for the ‘exploitation’ of the great by the small (Olson 1971: 35; emphasis in original). The participant who stands to gain the most from collective action will pay the highest price, maybe all of it (for example, the USA fully funds the Center for Disease Control, which is a global public good). Those who stand to gain the least will try to pay less than their fair share. I have already alluded to one way to solve the asymmetry problem: achieve symmetry by payoffs in other games. We could imagine country X, which neither contributes very much to nor suffers very much from acid rain, agreeing to forego development of sulphur-emitting industries in exchange for help in joining the WTO or in limiting illegal immigrants from a neighboring state. Allocational agreements on international water courses may be facilitated by preferential trade agreements or joint trans-border security arrangements. Another way to deal with asymmetry is to set a critical level of participation, short of which the public good will not be provided. I will discuss this at greater length when I turn to monitoring and sanctions. If this requirement is effective, even those who stand to gain relatively little

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will join in the collective action, failing which there will be no public or club good at all. Finally, there may be direct compensation from those who stand to gain the most to those who stand to gain the least. That was at the heart of the Montreal Protocol, where access to technology was a major incentive for those who stood to gain little from the Protocol to adhere to it nonetheless. In the Nile Basin Egypt compensated Uganda for operating the Owen Falls dam in a way that suited Egyptian seasonal water needs but reduced the amount of power generated at the dam, which mainly benefited Uganda and, to a lesser extent, western Kenya. The nature of the public good or bad The prospects for collective action are very sensitive to the nature of the public good or bad at stake. The release of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) into the atmosphere is not the same as the release of greenhouse gases. The costs of ozone depletion in terms of increased rates of cancer and cancer treatment could be localized, with the USA facing trillions of dollars in probable costs over time, while, by contrast, some countries may actually benefit from global warming (e.g. Sweden as noted above; in general see Barrett 2003 and Sandler 2004), while the public bad of warming is widely shared. The nature of the public good or bad impinges directly upon the strategies and technologies of monitoring. In organizing water-users’ communities, it is far easier for the participants to monitor the allocation of shares than it is to determine sources of pollution or even the consequences of declining water quality (Schlager 2005: 47). At a certain point, the deterioration in quality of a common pool good may make it unusable. We may also consider the nature of the resource whose use is to be coordinated. The challenges facing the major coffee exporters of Latin America in the 1960s (Brazil and Colombia) hinged on a product whose quality could be strictly controlled and authenticated and which could be stored (Bates 1997) as opposed to surface waters, whose-long term storage is always problematic and whose quality is subject to myriad and often unobservable factors (such as agro-chemical runoff). In the same vein, the issue of alternatives to the resource is critical to collective action. In theory at least, consumers can switch from coffee to tea or to other sources of stimulants. Ethanol and wind turbines offer alternatives to fossil fuels, and strategic petroleum reserves are an intermediate step in weakening the collective action of OPEC and OAPEC. The fact that there is no alternative to fresh water and that its availability at an acceptable cost is limited are two characteristics that are defining and unique. Put another way, can the resource be cartelized? Is it a resource in the hands of a few and without economic substitutes? Barrett analyzed the

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north Pacific fur seal treaty involving Canada, Japan, Russia and the USA. Like the coffee cartel of producers and roasters, the seal cartel could deter third parties by refusing to buy skins that had not been ‘authenticated’ by what we would call today a certificate of origin. How the resource is exploited is also important. Is it used jointly (a lake, an aquifer), sequentially (a river) or simultaneously (air and air pollution, global warming)? Surface- and groundwater are common pool goods whether used sequentially or jointly. At a cost, access to the ‘pool’ can be regulated and monitored, and an access fee charged. In practice, however, the costs may be very high and ineffective. The CAP is to bring the users – or, as Ostrom calls them, the appropriators – to take collective measures to regulate rates of use and to protect the quality of the water. Because of the monitoring costs involved, any specific appropriator will be tempted to cheat, to take more than her share or to pollute the resource. If the appropriators are numerous, as in an irrigation system, any appropriator may ease her conscience by concluding that her action cannot have much impact. But if most appropriators follow this logic then the common pool resource will decline in quantity and quality (in general, Ostrom 1991: 30–8). Mutual dependency and games of chicken The dominant strategy in many games leads to the maintenance of the status quo. The status quo is recognized as sub-optimal but does not lead immediately to any loss of welfare. Over the long haul the status quo may be unsustainable, but stakeholders tend to discount the future more or less heavily. Discount rates are an important parameter in initiating collective action as they determine the estimated costs and benefits of the action. They reflect inter-generational equity. As the debate between Nicholas Stern and William Nordhaus on the costs of mitigation of GHG emissions reflects, there is not consensus on the appropriate discount rates. Stern states flatly that ‘if a future generation will be present, we suppose that it has the same claim on our ethical attention as the current one’ (2007: 35). Nordhaus (2008: 176–80) challenges the methodology that Stern employs and also invokes rival ethical standards that would stress the welfare of current generations, or of the poorest generation regardless of place in time. The rate at which aquifers are exploited raises these questions of discount rates and inter-generational equity. When stakeholders are mutually dependent, one or more of them may engage in games of chicken. In such instances non-participation or defection does not mean maintaining the status quo but rather a change that is worse than the status quo: a collision resulting immediately in serious injury or death. We may think of gas pipelines across borders, such as those from Russia through the Ukraine. Russia raises prices (puts itself

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on a collision course with the Ukraine); Ukraine reciprocates by refusing to pay. Russia cuts off supply (collision). Ukrainians freeze and Russia loses revenue (see Sandler 2004: 26). GHG emissions are essentially a game of chicken: I won’t reduce my emissions unless you reduce yours. Thus we will all simmer together and be worse off than the existing status quo, or some big emitter will have to ‘chicken out’ and reduce emissions unilaterally. Loss of autonomy Collective action necessitates some loss of autonomy or the ability to act unilaterally. When nations are involved, autonomy equates to sovereignty. Work on water-users groups has confirmed this instinct to go it alone, and technology such as diesel pumps may foster unilateralism (Abernethy 2005: 62). Nonetheless, when the cost–benefit balance is sufficiently favorable, stakeholders will sacrifice autonomy for the collective payoff. The EU over time has confirmed this, as has the overwhelming march to membership in the WTO despite the widespread denunciations of globalization. TWO-EDGED SWORDS The path to collective action is littered with instruments that may, according to circumstance, promote or obstruct it. Information and data, technology, and the intervention of outside authorities or parties are all two-edged. Hegemons, legal authorities and concerned third parties In many instances no collective action will be achieved without the intervention and resources of central authorities or concerned third parties (Saleth and Dinar 2004: 326). In reforming water rights laws and conventions, government initiation and follow-through was found to be essential (Bruns et al. 2005b: 285). More generally, governments will be a part of the design and implementation of incentive systems to achieve collective goals. Consider this statement from the Stern Report that begs the crucial questions: ‘The cost of reducing emissions from deforestation, in particular, may be relatively low, if appropriate institutional and incentive structures are put in place and the countries facing this challenge receive adequate assistance’ (Stern 2007: 238; emphasis added). Who designs and introduces the incentives is not mentioned. Who does the compensating and by what criteria is not explored. Issues of moral hazard and adverse selection are not examined (such as provoking deforestation or paying countries to do what they would have done anyway).

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I argue that deliberately designed incentive systems always generate unintended or perverse consequences. They may, but need not, exacerbate the very problem they are designed to solve; that is, create moral hazard. That is why I list dealing with unintended consequences as an unavoidable step in the sequence of goal definition, and the design of incentives. Dennis Mueller captures the dilemma at its most basic level: ‘State intervention leads to increased asocial behavior requiring more state intervention, and so on … State initiated bribes and sanctions designed to elicit cooperative behavior may “crowd it out” [DM] by destroying the intrinsic motivation of individuals to behave morally and as good citizens’ (Mueller 2003: 14). By extension any outside inducements may provoke perverse consequences, making cooperation less rather than more likely. If lack of cooperation elicits third-party inducements (bribes), cooperation would put an end to them. Yet certain kinds of inducements that are equivalent to membership in a respected club may bring about real cooperation or some other desired reform, such as Turkey’s political reforms to gain entry to the EU. Still, the logic of Mueller is compelling. Cooperation, a needed reform, or steps toward peace ideally should not come as the result of third-party bribes (from governments, IFIs, special emissaries, etc.) but rather from the realization that collective action will make the bribees better off. Like government intervention, third-party intervention may establish incentives that perpetuate the problem rather than solve it. Knowledge and information We normally think that more knowledge and information is intrinsically good. That assumption is in many ways questionable. In the same article, Dietz, Ostrom and Stern (2008: 1908 and 1909) call for both more and less information: Environmental governance depends on good trustworthy information about stocks, flows, and processes within the resource systems being governed, as well as about the human-environment interactions affecting those systems.

And, in seeming contradiction: Fixed rules are likely to fail because they place too much confidence in the current state of knowledge…

We need to ask what kind of knowledge is necessary and useful, and what kind blocks rules of equity and fairness, including the precautionary principle (in the face of great uncertainty, err on the side of caution), which may best be served by uncertainty. Climate change will always be a source

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of uncertainty and perhaps we should be grateful for that. Nordhaus (2008: 62), puts it colorfully: global warming ‘is the mother of all public goods’ and ‘the father of decision-making under uncertainty’. We should both fear and embrace the unknown, or that which lies behind what Rawls calls the veil of ignorance (1971: 136–41). Note, however, that Rawls sees this ‘unknown’ as a pure hypothetical; that is, the ignorance we experience in the so-called ‘original position’ that includes not only ignorance of the future but ignorance of the present, of who one is and where one stands relative to others. If we have such knowledge we may devise arrangements that are not fair and hence not just. In fact, negotiating in the absence of full knowledge may help us devise collective action guidelines that ensure fairness. All the negotiators need ask is ‘What would happen to me/us if…?’ questions. That said, the answers will not be simple. I have already noted the difficulty of defining fairness in the allocation of water ‘rights’ on a per capita basis or in determining intergenerational claims. In essence, viable agreements may be best served by maximum uncertainty regarding the big questions and maximum certainty regarding the details of implementation. It may be counter-productive to know too precisely who stands to gain what as the result of an accord. Technology It is always a two-edged sword. Technology enables us to extract or utilize resources at unsustainable rates and to render economical what had heretofore been prohibitively expensive: extracting oil from tar sands, mining the ocean floor, removing mountain tops to get at coal seams, locating fish stocks by sonar, and so on. At the same time, new technologies enable us to monitor resource exploitation with far greater precision than ever before. We can monitor not only the amount of water any given farmer applies to a crop but the actual amount of water required given the minuteby-minute climate-driven needs of the crop. Let us imagine that genetic engineering makes it possible to produce coffee outside the humid tropics and distant from the equator. The cartel of coffee producers analyzed by Bates would break down, just as alternative energy sources challenge the OPEC petroleum cartel. We may debate the merits of such cartels, but they have successfully solved collective action problems, and technological innovation is a threat to them. Technology is critical to monitoring. Behavior that cannot be monitored cannot be appropriately sanctioned or rewarded. The cost/ benefit analysis of monitoring is critical and not obvious. Iceland has successfully introduced a regime for managing its maritime fish stocks, using transferable quotas – in other words, property rights of a kind. Here is the Economist (3 January 2009: 15) commenting on the monitoring system:

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Bycatch must not be discarded. Instead it must be landed and recorded as part of that boat’s quota … . Gadgets carried on all vessels send electronic signals to make satellite monitoring possible at all times, and each boat is likely to go to sea with an inspector aboard twice a year. All catches are rigorously recorded as soon as they are landed at any of the country’s 53 ports or by Icelandic officials abroad. So the Marine Research Institute knows exactly how much each boat is catching and where. It claims that 95% of the total is well reported. (emphasis added)

It is the (fortunate) lack of a technological break-through that makes water wars unlikely. Water cannot be stored indefinitely; below some critical minimum it cannot be denied to ‘conquered’ populations. It is hard to imagine any cost/benefit analysis that would yield a ‘rational’ case for a water war. At the micro-level, however, physical control of wells or aquifers at the expense of others may be feasible and rewarding. The sanctions paradox It is hard to imagine ‘voluntary’ solutions to CAPs in the absence of sanctions and monitoring. We may enter into compacts voluntarily, but we probably do not trust ourselves to maintain them altruistically – the temptation to defect and free-ride is always there. That said, few conventions have effective sanctions systems, and sanctions are rarely invoked or applied. Indeed, application of sanctions is a classic CAP involving a public good – the costs vary across participants but the benefits of successful sanctions cannot be denied to any party to the convention. It is important to recognize that effective sanctions against nonparticipation or defection may include fear of divine retribution, loss of face or friendship, and ostracism, alongside the more mundane sanctions of fines and punishment. Behavioral economics may be the field most likely to produce new, but always inductive, insights on how costs and benefits may be perceived by key actors. Sanctions are needed to sustain the provision of a public good, a common pool resource, or a club good. Sanctions are needed to maintain collective action. But sanctions may destroy the collective action that provides the public and other goods. ‘Market’ logic underpinning sanctions is likely to be more effective than ‘welfare’ logic. If you do not pay your common costs you will be thrown out of the condominium. Someone new will take your place, the condo will continue, but you may sleep in the street. That is market logic. Turkey wants admission to the EU (a club). Let us imagine that adherence to Kyoto or to son of Kyoto is made part of the admissions price. Turkey’s defection from Kyoto or son of Kyoto would result in denial of entry to the EU, a ‘bad’ of sufficient value that Turkey might comply with Kyoto to avoid it. As noted, Russia signed on to Kyoto in exchange for

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support from the EU and Japan for its bid to join the WTO. If Turkey does not join the EU, the existence of the EU will not be threatened nor would be a future compact on global warming be. Market-logic bargaining is appropriate here. Welfare logic, by contrast, may drain sanctions of credibility because the public good is desirable in the first place because it increases the welfare of a given community. Its continued provision may hinge on maintaining its original membership. Natural resource consortia, or international networks to thwart terrorism, the drug trade or intellectual property piracy, cannot apply sanctions easily. Think of OPEC expelling a major petroleum exporter or the Mekong Authority expelling a major riparian. Expulsion from the group defeats the purpose of the group, which is inclusion, and, besides, the free-rider has already left the group de facto so expulsion loses all practical meaning. In financing projects, the World Bank has most leverage with the poorest developing economies that face difficulties borrowing through conventional sources. It has long been Bank practice with respect to international water courses (codified in Operational Directive 750 in 1990) to insist that any riparian initiating a project in the water course seek the acceptance of the other riparians. In the absence of such consultations, the Bank cannot consider funding the project. That was the case, for example, with respect to the several Turkish projects in south-east Anatolia about which neither Syria nor Iraq was consulted. The basic mission of the World Bank is to improve the welfare of the peoples of the developing world, yet applying the sanction of denying funding to welfare-enhancing projects flies in the face of that mission. Barrett, as mentioned at the outset, stipulates three conditions for selfsustaining collective action: individual rationality, collective rationality, and fairness. Barrett achieves collective rationality by a mechanism through which the defection of one participant entails, by treaty, the defection of all. Defection thus does not result in free-riding as there will be no public good on which to free-ride. Barrett (2003: 213–14, 276–7) refers to these as ‘grim treaties’, or what I would call ‘pulling the temple down on your head’. That too is paradoxical. Mueller (2003: 38) provides a partial solution. There is a public good that will be of positive benefit to all stakeholders (a dike to protect them from floods). However, there must be a meeting of the stakeholders to decide how to provide the public good. Provision will depend on a certain number of participants in the meeting (i.e., a quorum). The result could be that no stakeholder will attend the meeting, hoping to get the public good anyway. Mueller suggests that it must be stated that unless all stakeholders attend the meeting the public good will not be provided. There is no cost to calling for more meetings, but there is no point in not attending the first meeting inasmuch the public good will only be provided with full participation. In other words, why wait? Mueller, however, does not explain why any given

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member would not play chicken with the others, if non-provision of the public good might entail flooding the community. Once again, the suggested sanction appears to be hollow. ‘We would rather drown than tolerate your defection.’ Thresholds are used in environmental conventions to induce collective action; a convention will not go into effect until a certain number of signatories ratify it. The Montreal Protocol required eleven ratifiers, producing 66 per cent of all CFCs (Barrett 2003: 226–7). But Barrett, Sandler and others concur that the public good would have been provided by the USA and a few other emitters even in the absence of the Protocol. It is not clear if a threshold will actually constitute a credible threat to the non-provision of a public good. The Grameen Bank, now operating in over 43 countries, has successfully created social capital and group collateral on micro-loans, mainly to poor women without assets. Although each borrower must belong to a fivemember group, the group is not required to give any guarantee for a loan to one of its members. Repayment responsibility solely rests with the individual borrower, while the group and the center oversee that everyone behaves in a responsible way and none gets into a repayment problem. However, in practice the group members often contribute the defaulted amount with the intention of collecting the money from the defaulted member at a later time. ‘Such behavior is facilitated by Grameen’s policy of not extending any further credit to a group in which a member defaults’ (see the Wikipedia entry on Grameen). I have not seen evidence of how often this policy has actually been applied or, put another way, what the default rate is. The sanction policy has a market logic, but Grameen is driven by a welfare logic, and expelling borrowers from the system would not directly serve it. That is, Grameen’s micro-credit rests on a very different logic from membership in a housing condominium. I imagine the response of the Grameen leadership would be that if defaults were widespread it would destroy the club good thereby reducing the welfare of the majority, so that, in welfare terms, it makes sense to apply sanctions to a minority. PROCESS Most often process (or iterative games) is a positive factor in securing collective action. There is, however, the risk of what I call a process to nowhere. It entails the stakeholders holding out for a better deal, or, once in the deal, breaking it because of a better offer. Three-party games (the old ménage à trois problem) are particularly susceptible to non-resolution. Mueller refers to this as ‘cycling’, which ‘arises because each actor can unilaterally (emphasis in original) break any “agreement” and accept a better offer’ (Mueller 2003: 32).

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By contrast, several observers have stressed the positive effects of process. ‘Once a sufficient threshold of participation is surpassed, it becomes easier to extend cooperation because nations prefer to abide by largely-held norms’ (Sandler 2004: 259; also Chayes 1995: 13; Phillips, et al. 2006: 195). This observation combines forward motion with the quest for legitimacy and respect. Similarly, even though a particular effort to solve a CAP may fail (Kyoto I, for example) the failed effort may initiate a process that leads to success further down the road – Kyoto II? (Sandler 2004: 30, Barrett 2003: 17) Process is critical because the nature of the resource and the technologies of exploitation and monitoring are dynamic variables; there must be processes and experts in place for dealing with changes in the ‘givens’. As important, of course, is that the process, and those leading it, change the perceptions of the issues among key actors and publics. Over time and often in conjunction with third parties, issue-defined interests, expert bureaucracies and networks develop around a CAP. These come to constitute what Peter Haas (1993) called epistemic communities, and they may well be critical to initiating and carrying forward a collective action. I alluded above to the seeming anomaly of third parties or hegemons inducing collective action among stakeholders whom one would suppose would undertake the action out of self-interest. I referred to the inducements as bribes. It is quite possible that with time the bribees may actually come to believe in what they were induced to do. In the same logic, Stern (2007: 523) notes that: ‘Soft law may allow countries to take on obligations that otherwise they would not. This is because non-binding instruments usually have an element of good faith that they will be adhered to by countries if possible, and may embody a desire to influence the development of state practices towards actual law making.’ Third parties Third parties are paradoxical but generally positive forces in bringing about collective action. They develop institutional cultures in which the pursuit of collective action among other parties and rates of success in achieving it are the criteria by which the actor and its employees are evaluated. As these professionals interact over time with counterparts in target groups, they foster epistemic communities, or communities of practice. They include national aid agencies, UN organizations, international financial institutions, foundations, and non-governmental organizations. They may be an essential part of initiating and sustaining a process toward collective action. A good example is that of the UNDP and the World Bank in promoting the Nile Basin Initiative.

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BENCHMARKS: POSITIVE UNILATERALISM While waiting or working for collective action, there is much that can be done unilaterally. Best practice begins at home and need not be contingent on the actions or cooperation of others. Performance standards and ‘fleet averages’ like the corporate average fuel efficiency (CAFE), or the Cement Sustainability Initiative that sets industry-wide standards (Stern 2007: 433) are already in wide use. Averages used as benchmarks do not preclude the least efficient technology or practice so long as the average standard is attained. Best practice in water use and efficiency also begins at home. The most efficient user in a basin is likely to establish benchmarks for all other riparians and set the norms for acceptable use. Such benchmarks will become important elements in determining the ‘fair’ allocation of water or water rights (Waterbury 2002: 173). CONCLUSION Collective action is always difficult but by no means impossible. Because we value collective action and cooperation so highly we may have wanted to believe that it is both easy and natural. Mancur Olson in 1965 put paid to that wishful thinking. In so doing he probably over-emphasized the rational actor impediments to collective action. In good dialectical fashion, economists, political scientists, anthropologists and now behavioral economists have produced a far more nuanced understanding of the incentive systems underpinning collective action, including the role of morality, altruistic behavior, and risk aversion. Nuance, however, is not parsimonious. It yields complicated and contingent propositions that can be used to guide policy only with great peril and risk. Designing and adjusting incentive systems is probably beyond the capacity of governments or even well-intentioned third parties. Still, there is no option but to try, in the knowledge that things will go wrong, and that the resulting adjustments will yield their own unintended consequences. We can’t get there from here, but we can get somewhere. REFERENCES Abernethy, Charles. 2005. Constructing New Institutions for Sharing Water, in Bruns, Bryan R., Claudia Ringler and Ruth Meinzen-Dick (eds), Water Rights Reform: Lessons for Institutional Design. Washington DC: IFPRI: 55–84. Axelrod, Robert. 1984. The Evolution of Cooperation. New York: Basic Books. Barrett, Scott. 2003. Environment & Statecraft: The Strategy of Environmental Treaty Making. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bates, Robert. 1997. Open-Economy Politics: The Political Economy of the World Coffee Trade. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

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Biswas, Asit, Eglal Rached and Cecilia Tortajada (eds). 2007. Water as a Human Right for the Middle East and North Africa special issue. International Journal of Water Resources Development 23/2 (June). Brooks, David. 2007. Human Rights to Water in North Africa and the Middle East: What is New and What is Not; What is Important and What is Not. International Journal of Water Resources Development 23/2 (June): 227–42. Bruns, Bryan R., Claudia Ringler and Ruth Meinzen-Dick (eds). 2005a. Water Rights Reform: Lessons for Institutional Design. Washington, DC: IFPRI. Bruns, Bryan R., Claudia Ringler and Ruth Meinzen-Dick. 2005b. Reforming Water Rights: Governance, Tenure, and Transfers, in Bruns, Bryan R., Claudia Ringler and Ruth Meinzen-Dick (eds), Water Rights Reform: Lessons for Institutional Design. Washington: IFPRI: 283–310. Chayes, Abram and Antonia Handler. 1995. The New Sovereignty: Compliance with International Regulatory Agreements. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Council on Foreign Relations. 2008. Confronting Climate Change: A Strategy for US Foreign Policy. Independent Task Force Report No. 61 June, New York: CFR. Daoudy, Marwa. 2005. Le partage des eaux entre la Syrie, l’Irak et la Turquie: négociation, sécurité, et asymétrie des pouvoirs. Paris: CNRS Editions. Dietz, Thomas, Elinor Ostrom and Paul Stern. 2008. The Struggle to Govern the Commons. Science, 302: 1907–9. Economist, The. 2009. An Icelandic Success: Special Report on the Sea, 3 January 2009: 15–16. Ehrlich, Paul, David Dobkin and Darryl Wheye. 1988. The Birder’s Handbook. New York: Simon and Schuster. Giordano, M. and A. Wolf. 2003. Sharing Waters: Post-Rio International Water Management. Natural Resources Forum 27: 163–71. Haas, Peter. 1993. Epistemic Communities and the Dynamics of International Cooperation, in Volker Rittberger (ed.), Regime Theory and International Relations. Oxford: Clarendon Press: 168–201. Harrison, Kathryn and Lisa Sundstrom. 2007. The Comparative Politics of Climate Change. Global Environmental Politics 7/4 (November): 1–18. Krasner, Stephen. 1983. Regimes and the Limits of Realism. in Krasner, Stephen (ed.), International Regimes. Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press: 355–68. Jägerskog, Anders. 2003. Why States Cooperate over Shared Water: The Water Negotiations in the Jordan River Basin. Linköping: Linköping University. Kuhn, Thomas. 1962. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press. Lichbach, Mark I. 1996. The Cooperator’s Dilemma. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Mueller, Dennis C. 2003. Public Choice III. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. Nordhaus, William. 2008. A Question of Balance: Weighing the Options on Global Warming Policies. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. North, Douglass. 1990. Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. Olson, Mancur. 1971 [1965]. The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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Ostrom, Elinor. 1991. Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions of Collective Action. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. Phillips, David, et al. 2006. Transboundary Water Co-operation as a Tool for Conflict Prevention and Broader Benefit Sharing. Stockholm: Sweden Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Rawls, John. 1971. A Theory of Justice. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Saleth, R. Maria and Ariel Dinar. 2004. The Institutional Economics of Water: A Cross-Country Analysis of Institutions and Performance. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar and the World Bank. Sandler, Todd. 2004. Global Collective Action. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. Schlager, Edella. 2005. Getting the Water Relationships Right in Water Property Rights, in Brian R. Bruns, Claudia Ringler and Ruth Meinzen-Dick (eds), Water Rights Reform: Lessons for Institutional Design. Washington, DC: IFPRI. Stern, Nicholas. 2007. The Economics of Climate Change: the Stern Review. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Waterbury, John. 1979. The Hydropolitics of the Nile Valley. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press. Waterbury, John. 2002. The Nile Basin: National Determinants of Collective Action. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Wessels, Joshka. 2008. To Cooperate or not to Cooperate?: Collective Action for Rehabilitation of Traditional Water Tunnel Systems (Qanats) in Syria. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Williamson, Oliver. 1985. The Economic Institutions of Capitalism: Firms, Markets, Relational Contracting. New York: The Free Press.

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Environmental Geopolitics and Hydro-Hegemony: The Case of Palestine and Israel

Mark Zeitoun

GEOPOLITICS AND CRITICAL POLITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS This chapter seeks to enhance the theoretical base required for blending geopolitics with a form of critical political environmental analysis particular to water conflicts. It presents the analytical framework of hydro-hegemony, which examines the influence of power and hegemony on the shape and outcomes of water conflicts that fall short of violence. The focus is on the use of ‘soft’ power active within Palestinian–Israeli relations in one of the most heavily securitised geographies of the world – the Jordan River Basin. The analytical approach recognises that Laswell’s base distributional and fundamentally political question of ‘who gets how much [water], how, when and why’ is to a very large extent determined by the basin or aquifer’s topography, climate and biophysical features. Certainly, the water conflicts in the mountains of post-Soviet Central Asia are in numerous respects very different from the conflict between desert nations over the Nile. But the distribution and use of water is just as inherently political, and the hydrohegemony stream of critical environmental geopolitics accepts that water can defy gravity to ‘flow uphill to money and power’ (Reisner 1986). The approach furthermore asserts that the political relations between competing riparian parties that tend to shape the intensity or form of the conflict are themselves informed to a certain degree by power. The outcome and shape of distributional water conflicts are thus considered to result from the interplay of the geography and power of the entities in question. Ethiopia’s upstream advantage on the Omo River allows it to dam with little regard for downstream (Kenyan) consequences (Daily Nation 2009; IR 2009), for instance. But the same topographical advantage it has on the Nile River is of little use when faced with downstream Egypt’s might.1 Scholars of geopolitics, international relations and environmental governance have attempted to answer which forces are more determining

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of the other; that is, whether foreign policy and relations determine the allocation of trans-boundary flows or if the conflict itself shapes political relations. The academic battles waged over the analytical approaches of geopolitics (see e.g. Dodds 2005), or over trans-boundary water regimes (Scholz and Stiftel 2005; Conca 2006; Dellapenna 2006) may pale in importance relative to the suffering induced by the water conflicts themselves. But the debates do serve to continuously refine analysis. Geopolitics that can incorporate the relevant aspects of hybrid approaches that combine power and politics can serve to further our interpretations of water conflicts. As Dalby (2006: 179) points out in discussing environmental geopolitics, ‘how these [environmental] issues are described and who is designated as either the source of the problem, or provider of the potential solution to that problem, is an important matter in how environmental themes are argued about and in who gets to make decisions about what should be done by whom’. While no general theory can cover each case, insight is provided through deep probes into the geography and power plays in the political economy of specific cases (what Le Billon (2006) calls ‘the geopolitical economy of “resource wars”’). The light shone on the Nile conflict by Tvedt’s (2004) broad treatment of the defining elements of the economy, nationalism, colonialism and geography illustrates the point very well. When it comes to the examination of water conflicts in particular, three streams of thought stand out. One stream emphasises the causal relationship between water scarcity (or over-abundance) and violent conflict, or poverty. The work led by Homer-Dixon (e.g. Homer-Dixon 1995; Percival and Homer-Dixon 1995), which was once so effectively discredited (e.g. Levy 2001; Hartmann 2002), is being taken up again by academics and media writing about climate change (e.g. CNA 2007; Abbott 2008; Mabey 2008). Such analysis may reflect the tensions Cramer (2006: 5) identifies between the analysts’ ‘compulsion to classify’ and ‘the artificiality of virtually all analytical categories [of causes of war]’. The deterministic vein has clearly taken root in the attribution of the killing in Darfur largely or in part to environmental or water stressors (e.g. Ki-Moon 2007; Zawahri and Gerlak 2009; Mazo 2010). Like the overly deterministic approach for which traditional geopolitics has been criticised, the environmentally deterministic approach has serious drawbacks. An emphasis on the causal effects of environmental features of conflict too often leads to a de-emphasis of its historical, ethnic and political roots (in the case of Darfur, for example) or religious and other ideological tensions of so many other conflicts. The simplistic links constructed between water and violent conflict narrow the policy options to a point that the work is of little practical use to those caught up in the conflict, or those trying to resolve it.2 A second stream of literature implicitly suggests a trend toward greater environmental cooperation, stability and wealth. The mainly apolitical

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quantitative work rendered possible through the development of the Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database in this stream (Yoffe, Wolf and Giordano 2001; Wolf 2002; Wolf, Yoffe and Giordano 2003; Wolf et al. 2005) has created a wake in which many have since followed (e.g. Zeitoun 2007; Bakker 2009). In distinguishing between causation and determinism, the work is convincing in its destruction of the deterministic ‘water leads to war’ approach, and in demonstrating the numerous cases of transboundary water ‘cooperation’3 (see e.g. Wolf 2007: 243). There is a concern that the pendulum swings too far in this direction, however, leading to analysis that avoids attempts to interpret and resolve the very real water conflicts that fall short of war (Zeitoun 2008a). The analysis presented here challenges the first stream and sets off from the second. Broadly, this third stream examines the interface of the ‘environment’ as it relates to trans-boundary resources, and the influence of this interface on political relations between states. The stream may be considered a form of critical political environmental analysis (itself a form of Dalby’s broader ‘environmental geopolitics’). Insofar as it relates to water resources, the approach is consistent with the ‘critical hydropolitics’ called for by Sneddon and Fox (2006). The analytical framework of hydrohegemony that is elaborated upon and employed here is but one tributary in this critical hydropolitical stream. The approach developed as an attempt to reflect the river basin reality observed by a broad range of thinkers from law, natural resource science, international relations and political science. The framework of hydro-hegemony is thus both interdisciplinary and quite ‘realist’ (in the sense that power matters, but not that foreign policy is best formed around realist analysis). As the review in the following section shows, the framework exposes the less visible and more pervasive causes and effects of water conflicts, primarily the effects of power asymmetry (and less so the economic side of the (geo)political economy). The hard physical world of geography and the less material world of politics mix with the even more abstract world of ‘hegemony’, thus possibly serving to refine critical political environmental analysis. The interpretation of the Palestinian–Israeli water conflict discussed here serves to illustrate the assertions. The Jordan River Basin is small on geography, but big on politics. The Jordan basin is barely the size of the Thames River Basin in England, yet the river flows through five competing political entities. As we will see following the theory review, some ideological elements at the core of the water conflict have endured the evolution of the conflict, and continued throughout the temporary shift from Israeli dominance to Israeli hegemony that began with the ‘Oslo’ political process in the 1990s. A review of the importance of water to efforts by the Zionist movement to create an Israeli state, and the role of water in the 1967 war is offered first. Considerable space is then devoted to how Israeli control over water resources was achieved and maintained. The answer is found through a combination of hard and soft methods employed to ensure the

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compliance of the Palestinian side. The extent of the hydro-hegemony established is seen to extend over the international donor community and the Palestinian water authorities – to the point that the most logic-defying proposals are entertained. The extent of the hegemony is found to be limited, however. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the case’s analysis on geopolitical and critical political environmental approaches. HEGEMONY AND CONTROL OVER TRANS-BOUNDARY WATER RESOURCES The limits of apolitical analysis The quantitative work in the second stream of hydropolitical analysis has shown that bona fide water wars have never really existed, and that the bulk of those international water ‘events’ that are of a conflictual nature, are (only) ‘mild’ (Wolf et al. 2005). The large-n studies are based on the Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database (TFDD), and measured against a graded continuum which pits ‘conflict events’ and ‘cooperation events’ at opposing ends. The polarising effect that the use of the continuum has on analysis has been noted: political relationships over water are seen as either conflictual or cooperative, when in fact they are usually a bit of both4 (Zeitoun and Mirumachi 2008). The largely apolitical approach is furthermore hampered by its inability to allow for consideration of political economic or geopolitical explanations behind the indentified conflict. The data-crunching work emerging from the Centre for the Study of Civil War at the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO) (e.g. Toset, Gleditsch and Hegre 2000) begins to draw geographical features into the TFDD, through treatment of ‘environmental variables’. The findings confirm a generally weak link between the geographical features and war. Gleditsch et al. (2006) conclude, for example, that drought has no direct bearing on military disputes. Physical water scarcity is found to be less related to military conflict than the size of the river basin over which states are obliged to interact, which itself is only very mildly co-related.5 Though the potential de-politicising implications of such apolitical analysis should be considered,6 the quantitative approaches are useful for pointing to trends that should be explored deeper. The tendency to focus on either violence or the lack of it, however, ultimately narrows the utility of the efforts. Considering the very real and enduring conflicts that are suffered by peasants, farmers and fishermen along the Nile, Amu Darya, Tigris, Mekong or Jordan or many other rivers, the need for further analysis does not vanish following confirmation that inter-state war has not broken out. The more explicitly political ‘environmental peacebuilding’ approach builds on the quantitative work. It tests the hypothesis that political

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relations may be improved through trans-boundary environmental or water cooperation, through an appreciation of the unique geopolitical and political economy features of specific contexts (e.g. Weinthal 2004; DelliPriscoli and Wolf 2008; Kramer 2008). While we will see that the thesis is disproven in the case of the Jordan River, the breadth of the environmental peacebuilding approach is akin to the analytical framework of hydrohegemony in suggesting ways in which the effects of the combined geographic and political roots of the tensions over natural resources may be interpreted. Power and control over trans-boundary resources Analysis of the roots of water conflict may be facilitated by considering the conflict in terms of the nature of control over the trans-boundary flows, as shown in Figure 1. At one extreme, control is roughly equally shared and the nature of the interaction is what is generally understood to be cooperative (in its ethical, ‘fair’ sense). Such is currently the case of the Rhine in the roughly egalitarian club of the European Union, where the equality of states in principle is close to equality in practice. The Netherlands can hold sway over water policy in deliberations with much ‘bigger’ upstream powers such as Germany, for instance (Warner 2008). At the other extreme, control is contested openly, primarily through expressions of material power and in highly competitive circumstances. Wegerich (2008) suggests that this is the case in post-Soviet Central Asia, where Uzbekistan, downstream on the Amu Darya River, is obliged to confront actions both threatened and carried out by the relatively weaker upstream Tajikistan. The bulk of the cases considered in this volume – like the bulk of basins around the world – fall in the middle category of Figure 1, where control is neither equally shared nor openly contested. Control of water resources in this position is consolidated in favour of the most powerful riparian state. There may be competition in such contexts but it is generally stifled, in the sense that it is quiet or covert. The more powerful state might command relations on the river through hierarchy and dominance, or through more hegemonic means of ensuring consent, backed up by force or the threat of it. The European colonial project is an example of the former methods. What Gaffney (1997: 484) has labelled ‘hydro-imperialism’ has been Shared Control

Consolidated Control

Contested Control

Cooperative

Competitive (but stifled)

Competitive (and cut-throat)

Source: Based on Zeitoun and Warner (2006).

Figure 1. Continuum of forms of interaction over trans-boundary water resources.

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A History of Water

explored along the extent of the Nile by Tvedt (2004) and throughout India by Headrick (1988). Zeitoun and Warner (2006) demonstrate how control is assumed in the latter, hegemonic contexts – where there is equality in principle but not in practice. As shown in Figure 2, three strategies of water resource control have been identified: resource capture, containment or integration. Based primarily on the conflicts along the Jordan, Tigris, Euphrates and Nile rivers, the tactics identified to support the strategies have been categorised into four methods of assuring compliance suggested by Lustick (2002). Figure 2 suggests that material (or ‘hard’) forms of power – such as military force or covert military actions – are a minority of tactics, in keeping with the research indicating the insignificance of the occurrence of water wars. The bulk of the tactics relate to the more general realm of ‘soft’ power. ‘Soft’ power is taken very loosely here from Nye (1990: 31) to mean ‘getting others to want what you want’. Achieving such consent in international water conflicts comes through a number of tactics. These include coercive acts of ‘active stalling’ (e.g. Egypt through its participation in the Nile Basin Initiative (Cascao 2009)), or attempts to normalise unfair water-sharing arrangements through the signing of skewed treaties (e.g. Israel with Jordan) (Zeitoun, Mirumachi and Warner forthcoming 2010)). The most effective forms of tactics that enable water control strategies are those falling into Lustick’s ‘Type IV’ category of ‘ideological hegemonic beliefs’ – sanctioning the discourse, securitisation, and knowledge construction. It is in this latter category that power and water mix with Antonio Gramsci’s concept of hegemony. One of Gramsci’s brilliant insights into

Goal

Strategies

CONSOLIDATED CONTROL

A. RESOURCE CAPTURE

B. CONTAINMENT

C. INTEGRATION

Tactics

(I) MILITARY FORCE ACTIVE STALLING

COVERT ACTIONS

(II) INCENTIVES

COERCION-PRESSURE

(III) SKEWED TREATIES

(IV) KNOWLEDGE CONSTRUCTION SANCTIONING THE DISCOURSE SECURITIZATION Source: Based on Zeitoun and Warner (2006). Roman numerals relate to Lustick’s (2002) classification of increasingly efficient ‘compliance-producing mechanisms’: (I) coercion, (II) utilitarian exchange, (III) instigating normative agreement, and (IV) inducing ideologically hegemonic beliefs. The list is non-exhaustive.

Figure 2. Water resource control strategies and tactics.

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relations between authorities and those they have authority over was to interpret the give-and-take that goes on in exchanges between them.7 Unlike situations of clear dominance where control may be exerted through force alone, power is contested when both sides have authority – and control is more readily achieved and maintained through a mix of force and consent (Gramsci 2003 [1935]). The consent of the weaker subject to a hegemonic arrangement established by the ‘first amongst equals’ thus becomes crucial for its maintenance. And that consent can be obtained and maintained in turn through ideological domination – what Gramsci termed ‘hegemony’. ‘Hydro’-hegemony is hegemony active at the international basin or aquifer level. The analytical approach of hydro-hegemony suggests looking for the ‘softer’ forms of power that determine the outcome and shape of conflicts for control of trans-boundary flows, particular those that operate in the realm of ideology and ideas. Full application of the concept of hegemony to trans-boundary water interaction is lacking, and the analytical frame of hydro-hegemony is incomplete. As critics have pointed out, the approach would be greatly assisted by considering hegemony at the sub-national level (e.g. Selby 2007a; Furlong 2008). The approach would also be strengthened by the discipline of political psychology. A potential limiting issue is that of ‘false consciousness’, which haunts scholars of hegemony from all disciplines. An assertion of the existence of hegemony implies, after all, that some actors by their consent to an arrangement over which they may be perceived to have little control are either consciously or unconsciously submitting. While the average geopolitical or hydropolitical analyst is not nearly properly equipped to solidly ground such assertions, the trans-boundary and political nature of the water conflicts in question nonetheless obliges consideration of consent, discourse, quiet coercion and the influence of ideas or the shape and intensity of water conflicts. Hegemonic tactics of trans-boundary water control Certainly, fixed ideas about water management policy continue to hold so tight as to appear hegemonic. The paradigm of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), for instance, has been elevated to such a level that it is rarely questioned – even in the face of its numerous (and now wellrecognised) shortcomings (e.g. Warner, Wester and Bolding 2008). The paradigm has passed the crucial step from being a compelling idea to one that is so widely sanctioned by the more influential in the international water community that it is taught, promoted and attempted to be implemented all over the world (e.g. the efforts of the Global Water Partnership). The unconscious acceptance of the paradigm can be considered an example of what Allan (2001) refers to as ‘sanctioned discourse’.8 Sanctioned discourse is a tautological term used to distinguish

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discourse that is politically acceptable from discourse which is essentially ignored, for not being ‘blessed’ by the powers that be (see Zeitoun and Warner 2006: 448). The concept is analogous to Hajer’s idea of ‘discourse coalitions’ forming along common storylines to exclude discourse that don’t ‘fit’ (Hajer 1997). The concept asserts that ideas can be consistently promoted by the discourse of influential actors to the point that they may be more accepted by less-grounded thinkers unable to challenge their validity through experience. And the subconscious acceptance of the ideas and discourses may be interpreted as subconscious compliance with the order the discourse is based upon, or arranges. The ‘securitisation’ of issues is a second ideological hegemonic tactic that can have a similar compliance-producing effect on water conflicts. When political issues are securitised, they are shifted to a realm where state or individual security takes precedence over questioning or concerns raised, and alternatives are excluded (Buzan, Waever and de Wilde 1998; Neumann 1998). ‘Egypt is the Nile and the Nile is Egypt’ is the slogan that Cascao (2007) picks up on to demonstrate how linking a water issue with state security can have an effect operating somewhere in the subconscious of the citizens (analogous to what Allouche (2004) refers to as ‘hydronationalism’). Securitisation can combine here with sanctioned discourse to ensure compliance. For example, repetition of the slogan makes of it a mantra – and may serve to generate a sense of inevitability among weaker riparian states and third-parties that the established allocations cannot be altered. If the ‘Nile is Egypt’, Tanzanian claims for a legal share may be viewed as not just a threat to Egypt, but as an unpragmatic waste of time. A third tactic in this ideological hegemonic category is the construction of knowledge. Knowledge, as we know, is not neutral – it can be as much built upon popular beliefs as on scientific testing and argument. ‘Conventional wisdom’ (attributed to Galbraith) and ‘manufactured consent’ (Chomsky 1992) are common terms used to describe the construction process or its outcome. Both indicate that an issue or fact can be placed beyond questioning – and into the unconscious. When such knowledge is determined by the more powerful, its contestation by the weaker side is also unpragmatic, or even counter-productive (Lustick 2002). The lack of data-sharing between Turkish or Indian authorities and their smaller riparian neighbours does not facilitate deconstruction of official claims that the water is being shared equitably, for instance. Control over distribution of flows remains unchanged as the claims of the weaker riparians are contained. As we will see, the multiple tactics, force and ideological domination are all quite active along the Jordan River – one of the most highly securitised river basins in the world.

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DOMINANCE, HEGEMONY AND THE PALESTINIAN–ISRAELI WATER CONFLICT Establishing control over trans-boundary resources There are at least five trans-boundary water resources that cross the borders of Israel and the West Bank and Gaza, or Occupied Palestinian Territory (see Figure 3). The primary surface-water resource is the Jordan River Basin, which covers part of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel and ‘Palestine’. The Upper Jordan River feeds the Lake of Tiberias, from which Israel draws about one-third of its drinking water today, through the National Water Carrier. The rest of the bulk of trans-boundary resources is located in any of four aquifers. Groundwater is most easily available in the Coastal Aquifer Basin, though since the 1970s over-pumping has ensured the limits of the aquifer are strained, and it is now heavily polluted, especially in Gaza (Vengosh et al. 2005). The rain that infiltrates the bulk of the remaining aquifers falls mainly on the West Bank. The Western Aquifer Basin is thus considered today the most lucrative of all the resources – where much of the water is not so deep as to be too expensive to exploit, but still of drinking-water quality (SUSMAQ 2003). The depth of the North-Eastern Aquifer make exploitation there less attractive,9 while the Eastern Aquifer Basin is by far the least productive and coveted of all the aquifers, for the relatively poor well-recharge rates, and depth and quality of the water (USAID 2002). Politics and power determine allocation of the rain falling in the Jordan River basin much more than does topography. The division of control over the trans-boundary resource means that only one drop in every ten that flows into the Jordan River or the aquifers is available to Palestinians (Snowdon 2006; COHRE 2008b). Israeli government restrictions have since 1967 prevented all Palestinian access and abstraction from the Jordan River, any diversions of Wadi Gaza upstream of Gaza, and any new drilling in the Western or North-Eastern Aquifer Basins. The asymmetric distribution was consented to by the Palestine Liberation Organisation under the 1995 Interim Agreement it signed with Israel, also known as the ‘Oslo II’ agreement. Article 40 of Annex III of the agreement established limits on groundwater use based on quantities abstracted by both parties at the time of the agreement, following 28 years of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This is roughly 80–20 per cent in favour of the Israeli side, with a minor (and contentious) extra amount from the Eastern Aquifer Basin (Dombrowski 2003) (as well as the over-pumped Gaza portion of the Coastal Aquifer Basin, which was not mentioned in the agreement). The most extremely asymmetric distribution is in the Western Aquifer Basin, where Palestinian use was set at 22 and Israeli use at 340 million cubic metres per year.10 The asymmetry in control and continued Palestinian consent to it is explained by a combination of ideology, domination, geography and hegemony.

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A History of Water

Litani River Hasbani R. LEBANON

River or wadi

Dan R.

Banias R. SYRIA

Aquifer boundary

Upper Jordan GOLAN River HE IGH TS

Direction of groundwater flow

Lake Tiberias

International Border Haifa

City Israeli settlement

ISRAEL

(occupied by Israel)

Tiberias

Yarmouk River Lower Jordan River

Jenin

NorthEastern Aquifer Hadera

Tulkarem Qalqilya Nablus

Mediterranean Sea

Yitzhar

Gaza City

Western Aquifer

WEST BANK Ramallah

Jerusalem

Eastern Aquifer Hebron

GAZA STRIP

Jericho

JORDAN

Dead Sea Dea

Coa sta l Aq

Tel Aviv

uife r

Ariel

Wadi Gaza EGYPT

Beersheba

Source: Adapted from the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs Center for Economic and Social Rights; United States Geological Survey – Executive Action Team.

Figure 3. Trans-boundary surface and groundwater resources of Palestine and Israel. The Jordan River, Wadi Gaza and four aquifers.

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Water and territory Water resources and political relationships in the region were linked from the outset of the fall of the Ottoman Empire, at the end of World War One. European settlers driven by the Zionist ideology made their designs to link water and borders explicit to the ruling British authorities. In a letter to British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, the chairman of the World Zionist Organisation called for an expansion of British Mandate Palestine: ‘The whole economic future of Palestine is dependent on its water supply for irrigation and electric power, and the water supply must be from the slopes of Mount Hermon [Jabil esh Sheikh], from the headwaters of the Jordan and the [Lebanese] Litani River … [We] consider it essential that the northern frontier of Palestine should include the Litani, for a distance of about 25 miles above the bend, and the western and southern slopes of Mount Hermon’ (Frederiksen 2003: 71 citing UN 1992) (see also FO 1920; Kartin 2001). Zionist lobbying on development of water resources was furthermore driven by a desire to increase the ‘absorption capacity’ of the land of Palestine, as a response to attempts by the British authorities to limit Jewish immigration to Palestine until the end of World War Two. The UK National Archives show how this led to an increase in European Zionist settlers in the Negev taking water from the residents of Gaza (CO 1937, 1947) and elsewhere (CO 1938), to the point that water usage between the newcomers and the Palestinian inhabitants of the land just ahead of the 1948 nakba (‘catastrophe’, in Arabic) and the founding of the State of Israel was roughly 50–50 (in 194311 (NSU 2008)). Attempts to develop the Jordan River in the 1950s led to some of the most direct instances of violent inter-state conflict over water resources in history. The topic has attracted substantial attention, and is touched upon only briefly here. Israeli attempts to divert the Upper Jordan River in order to build the National Water Carrier (NWC) were met by a military and diplomatic Syrian response – tank volleys and UN flurries. The NWC was nonetheless completed in 1964, albeit with the intake in a less exposed (and less efficient) lower position on the shore of the Lake of Tiberias. Subsequent Syrian efforts to divert the Hasbani tributary of the Upper Jordan River were successfully countered by the Israeli air force (Lowi 1993; Lonergan and Brooks 1994; Trottier 1999). There is also considerable academic interest in the role that water possibly played as a casus belli in the 1967 Six Day War. On one hand, there are statements by political leaders crediting the role of water as a cause of the war, fitting easily (if completely out of context) into openly environmentally deterministic accounts. Bullock and Darwish (1993: 50), for example, cite the Israel general and future Prime Minister Ariel Sharon: ‘People generally regard 5 June 1967 as the day the Six Day War began. This is the official date. But in reality the Six Day War started two and a half years

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earlier, on the day Israel decided to act against the diversion (initiated by upstream Arab states) of the Jordan’. On the other hand, the 1967 war has at least as many ideological, territorial, political, economic and religious facets as does the conflict in Darfur. It may be more helpful to resist the compulsion of seeking mono-causes of war, as other related points may also be missed. El Musa (1997: 218), for instance, argues that ‘the fact that Israel has benefited enormously from the water it seized in 1967 does not necessarily make the “water imperative” in this instance plausible. The outcome of the June 1967 war was by no means as certain at the time as it appears in retrospect, just as the fact that Israel benefited tremendously from cheap Palestinian labour does not suggest that it would have fought a war for it.’12 In any case, control over the water resources came with the territory captured and occupied by Israel. Following its victory, Israel had full control over both shores of the Upper Jordan River, the headwaters of the Banias and Dan tributaries, the western shore of the Lower Jordan River, and all four trans-boundary aquifer basins. The resource capture dramatically altered hydropolitics along the Jordan, changing ‘both the hydrostrategic relationship of Israel and her neighbours, and the power balance between them’ (Feitelson 2000: 350). Subsequent Israeli governments developed and enforced a number of policies that served to increase the power imbalance and to maintain control through hard but also increasingly ‘soft’ measures. Dual development and control through hard and ‘soft’ power Evidence of a shift in Israeli strategy of control after the 1967 war from one of ‘resource capture’ to one of ‘containment’ (refer to Figure 2) abounds. Among the first military orders placed by the Israel Civil Administration (ICA) on the Palestinian inhabitants were those restricting Palestinians from any well-drilling. As the occupation administrative authority, the ICA took over operation of the Palestinian-staffed West Bank Water Department (WBWD). The ICA’s efforts centred on providing water to the state-run project of establishing settlements on the occupied land (see Segal and Weizmann 2003; Weizman 2007). Israeli pipelines supplying settlements (see Figure 4) were secured against sabotage through the consent of village leaders who provide their protection in return of having their own villages connected to the same water network (Zeitoun 2008b). Furthermore, the technical capacity of the Palestinian staff of the WBWD was deliberately ‘dedeveloped’. As Minister of Infrastructure, the former general and later Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is credited for a policy of not hiring Palestinian hydrogeologists inside the WBWD (el Musa 1997: 272) and the dismantlement of the Palestinian well-drilling division of the WBWD (Nassereddin 2005, personal communication). The 1995 Oslo II Agreement shifted partial control of the land and full responsibility for provision of basic services such as health, education and

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water from the ICA to the newly created Palestinian Authority (PA). The consent of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) to the interim agreement has been noted for shifting the balance of power from one of clear Israeli domination to one – arguably – of Israeli hegemony.13 Prior to the agreement, Palestinian–Israeli relations were clearly those of an occupying force and an occupied people. Following the consent of the PLO to the Oslo II interim agreement, the relations became formally one of (near) equals – the state of Israel and the PA, which would possibly rule over an eventual Palestinian state (see e.g. Khan 2004). The authority and legitimacy of each side were recognised by the other as well as by the international political and donor community. The power relations otherwise remained as asymmetrical as they were prior to the agreement. With continued Israeli authority in the West Bank and Gaza formally accepted by the Palestinian side, rule and control by the ‘first amongst “equals”’ shifted away from the use of force towards greater use of consent (Said 1993; Finkelstein 1995). A similar shift from domination to hegemony is apparent in the water sector. The official endorsement of the inequitable allocations and arrangements continues to hamper the PA-derived Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) (AE 2008). Pre-judging the terms of the water-sharing clauses of the 1993 ‘Oslo I’ agreement,14 Chomsky (1993) suggested that ‘the outcome of cooperation between an elephant and a fly is not difficult to predict’. The Oslo II Agreement indeed cemented the previously discussed asymmetric allocations in 1995. The established Israeli control over trans-boundary water resources was then maintained through a variety of methods, including securitisation of the resource, knowledge construction and the sanctioning of the discourse. Maintaining control over trans-boundary resources The terms of the Oslo II Agreement ensured that the PWA inherited in 1995 a rather compromised starting-point position: a triple burden of a highly asymmetric allocation, responsibility to develop a severely underdeveloped water sector, and the difficulties in management related to movement restrictions with the effective continuation of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. The PWA also achieved from the agreement, on the other hand, official Israeli recognition of ‘Palestinian water rights’ (Oslo II 1995: Art 40, clause 1), and the skeleton of a suggested water cooperation mechanism – the Joint Water Committee (JWC). Although they were explicitly recognised, the water rights have never been implemented, and groups or individuals advocating them today are dismissed as unpragmatic (consider the response to the Amnesty International report on violations to water as a human right in Palestine (AI 2009)). For its part, the structural defects of the JWC are being recognised 14 years after its establishment (e.g. Baskin 2008) for what

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Selby (2003a) much earlier noted as ‘domination dressed up as cooperation’ and as a ‘forum for mis-management’ (Selby 2007b). Examples given include the effective Israeli veto on even basic Palestinian drinking water projects (e.g. OI 2003; COHRE 2008b), which stems from the JWC’s jurisdiction excluding the Israeli portion of the same aquifers. The challenges engendered by the JWC and continued Israeli travel restrictions, land acquisitions and settler project are by now so well exposed that conservative organisations such as the World Bank join Oxfam and Amnesty International in highlighting the political obstacles (World Bank 2009). But it takes two to dance, and a deeper look at the relationship between the Palestinian and Israeli water authorities reveals interesting nuances within a hegemonic relationship. At the peril of invoking false consciousness, the compliance of the PWA to arrangements structured in its disfavour may be taken as either conscious or unconscious submission to the order enabled by the power asymmetry. The suggestion follows the line of Peteet’s assertion in her study of nomenclature that ‘Israeli domination and hegemony in the arena of discourse and terminology is not meant to sway the natives to their ideological and political position’, but to ‘pacify’ them (Peteet 2005: 154). The reach of Israeli hydro-hegemony extends beyond restricting PWA movements and access and its coercive modus operandi at the JWC (Selby 2003b). It also reaches the efforts of the international donor community seeking to assist the PWA in its ‘development’ of the Palestinian water sector. The West Bank Water Department – still staffed and run primarily by the Israel Civil Administration – remains active inside the West Bank, alongside the PWA, for instance. On paper, oversight of the WBWD falls to the PWA, which pays the salaries of part of its staff. In practice, the Department continues under an ICA-appointed head and more senior (and better-paid) management. Thus water policy that prioritises water supply to Israeli military bases and settlements in the West Bank remarkably endures largely unquestioned, 15 years on from the Oslo II Agreement. Such a blatantly controlling relationship is certainly better characterised as dominating than hegemonic. Yet the PWA has never mentioned the uncomfortable fact, which remains either unknown or ignored by the international donor community, suggesting that hegemony is active alongside the dominance. Taken together, the image presented by the more powerful and complying sides generate a discourse that the water sector is run according to good governance principles and best practice, and not run in fact in completely opposing priorities in parallel. The knowledge is suitably constructed to the point that the Israeli-led WBWD is supported by donor funds from the French government’s bi-lateral agency l’Agence Française de Développement (which had spent, by 2003, roughly US$ 6M on reform of the WBWD (PWA 2003)), and USAID (which had spent at least US$ 1M in a donation of water network materials (EWOC 2002)).

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The ‘Hadera–Tulkarem’ project: water flows uphill Ideology and geography mix to an even greater degree with the proposed ‘Hadera–Tulkarem’ project. The details of the grand desalination plan reveal the bold confidence of Israeli hydro-hegemony, but also its limits. The plan suggests defiance of gravity by proposing that water desalinated on the Israeli coast be pumped through Israel and into the hills of the West Bank, as shown in Figure 4. The plan has been openly presented in a spirit of ‘cooperation’, and as a pragmatic solution to the region’s physical water scarcity. It has also been identified as a manner to avoid discussion about implementation of the recognised Palestinian water rights (Zeitoun 2008b). The mass of decaying infrastructure mega-projects that dot the globe remind us that poorly conceived technical fixes are not uncommon. What distinguishes the Hadera–Tulkarem project from other ‘white elephants’ is the hegemony active in assuring the consent of the international donor community (particularly USAID) and of the PWA itself, this time through a mix of sanctioned discourse, constructed knowledge and securitisation. The plan shows how rationality can be over-run by ideas, as logic is defied along with gravity by pumping expensive water uphill from where there is none to where there is an abundance. Residents of Barta’ and the hundreds of other villages sitting on top of the very productive Western Aquifer Basin wonder why they would pay up to six times more for desalinated water when they are prevented from tapping into the very cheap water beneath their feet.15 The proposal has also been criticised from various voices in Palestinian civil society for deflecting efforts to resolve the water conflict through negotiating water reallocations, for the waste in energy, and for the security and dependence concerns (Attili 2004; Pearce 2004; NSU 2005). Yet, as with the case of the continued reach of the ICA-controlled West Bank Water Department, the Hadera–Tulkarem plan has not been openly criticised by the PWA. Then Israeli Water Commissioner Noah Kinnarty made the first public declaration of the project in 2002, when he suggested US-funded desalination projects as the ‘solution’ for water in Gaza, and US-funded wells as the solution for the southern West Bank. He announced the same base for support for the northern West Bank: ‘I have proposed that the international community build a desal [sic] plant at Hadera with a supply pipeline to the northern West Bank. The Americans will build the facility and the additional donor countries perhaps will lay the distribution pipe for the Palestinians’ (Kinnarty 2002). A pre-feasibility study for the Hadera–Tulkarem project was commissioned by the Israel Water Commission (IWC) and delivered to the PWA in January 2004. The study suggests the planned infrastructure shown in Figure 4, and put the cost of treated and delivered water at about US$ 1.85 per m3. The IWC also presented the idea to the US House of Representatives in May 2004 (Shamir 2004), and promoted it at two

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(from Lake of Tiberias)

Israel Barta'a

Mediter ranean Sea

Jenin

Jordan River

Israeli National Water Carrier

Proposed Desalination Plant

Tulkarem

West Bank

Hadera

Qalqilya

transmission lines from 17 wells for approx. 13 Israeli settlements inside West Bank

750 m above sea level Nablus

'Ein Samia

Jordan

proposed desalination for the West Bank existing Palestinian pipelines inside the West Bank existing Israeli pipelines inside the West Bank = direction of flow ~ 12 kilometres

Source: Adapted from IWC (2004) and WBWD (2003). Apart from National Water Carrier, transmission pipelines in Israel not shown.

Figure 4. Water defying gravity and logic to flow uphill. Suggested route of the proposed Hadera–Tulkarem project of desalination for the West Bank, along with existing Palestinian and Israeli water pipelines in the West Bank.

high-profile international conferences. The cost of the water to Palestinians could be US$ 0.50 per m3, it was claimed, and at least would be cheaper than the price the Palestinians are currently charged for water sold by the Israeli side (which varies from roughly US$ 0.40 to US$ 0.70 per m3) (Dreizin 2004: IWC 2004). At some point following the State Department meeting, the USAID office in Tel Aviv promoted the proposal to the PWA. The position of the PWA on what had become an Israel/US proposal was unclear. The PWA gave a

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conditional green light to the project, so long as Israel was not to have control of the desalination plant itself, and that the project ‘would not compromise Palestinian water rights’ (Anon. 2005, pers. comm.-a). Officially, the PWA has since refuted any such agreement, both publicly and behind closed doors. In not publicly rejecting the proposal, it appears the PWA was taking a pragmatic approach to the asymmetric position it found itself in. Speculation would see the project serve to increase the PWA’s legitimacy through a near doubling of the value of the water infrastructure it controls. The project may also bring to all those involved financial dividends and favours, both legitimate and otherwise. It is not clear, however, whether strategy was behind the decision not to reject the project outright. If there was a sense of inevitability that the project will be built in any case, it could be expected that PWA decision-makers might decide to ‘live with it’ and ensure that maximum benefits would be achieved under an altered set of interests (Anon. 2005, pers. comm.-b). This unconscious resignation to the established order signifies submission to ideological hegemony of the deepest kind. Appreciation by USAID officials of the domestic problems the unpopular project would bring for the PWA did not alter their promotion of the project. The senior resident water official at USAID noted at the time that: ‘the PWA are afraid to show public support for the Hadera–Tulkarem project but we think it’s a great idea since a) donors will fund it, b) it’s easy to build (since it’s mostly in Israel) and, c) the land is not an issue (we may deem the parts of the project running through Israeli sovereign territory as US property). But politically we know the Palestinians cannot support it. But they will support it, they say, as long as it doesn’t pre-empt their water rights. So USAID and the Israelis will say “fine, it doesn’t pre-empt your water rights” and then we’ll build it anyway’ (Newman 2004, pers. comm. (paraphrased)). Donor-driven agendas ignoring the stated interests of their recipient ‘partners’ are even more common than white elephant projects in developing contexts. Yet again, however, there is more to the story than first appearances. In coinciding neatly with the approach of the Israel Water Commission, the attitude of the PWA’s single largest donor reinforces the Israeli position, control and asymmetric distribution of trans-boundary resources. The ‘discourse coalition’ so formed excludes the Palestinian call for implementation of the rights agreed to under Oslo, which can hence be labelled as obstructive. IWC Commissioner Kinnarty attributed earlier internal Palestinian resistance to the project to generalisation of their collective behaviour: ‘there is no agreement with the Palestinians because some of them are still insisting on water rights from aquifers that in any case are empty and becoming saline. In other words, some of the Palestinians who deal with this issue are in the ideological phase, not the phase of pragmatic solutions’ (Kinnarty 2002). The former commissioner

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appears to be relying on constructed knowledge to support his position and sanction the discourse. In other words, he may be perpetuating hegemonic ideology in an attempt to force Palestinian compliance. The aquifers the Palestinians were negotiating at the time for were in fact not ‘empty’ at all. And the rights that were being insisted on are part of the agreement the Israeli side had itself consented to, not an unfulfilled and unpragmatic vision. Though promotion by the Israeli and American sides continued, the project had still not been initiated by the time of the election of the Hamas government in the West Bank and Gaza in January 2006. The bulk of USAID funds of assistance for the Palestinian people were cut off following the election. At the broader political level, the subsequent Israeli tightening of the siege of Gaza and continued expansion of settlements in the West Bank indicates a return from hegemony to domination. Once again, the shift is being replicated in the water sector through recourse to more physically coercive interaction over trans-boundary environmental issues – what Fischhendler (2008) terms ‘unilateralism’. From a strict hydro-hegemony perspective, Israel continues with a ‘containment’ strategy, though there is considerably less evidence of further attempts of ideological hegemony. LESSONS FROM THE JORDAN BASIN AND IMPLICATIONS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPOLITICS A cursory critical environmental political analysis of the Palestinian–Israeli water conflict in general and of the Hadera–Tulkarem case in particular reveals several interesting features relevant to geopolitical and other analytical approaches. First, it may be concluded that political relations over water issues at least in this case are subordinate to the broader political scene. Contrary to the ‘environmental peacebuilding’ and environmental determinism theses, collaboration of Palestinian and Israeli water technicians and policy-makers at the Joint Water Committee did not translate, in any visible manner, to improve relations between the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. As the hard and soft methods used by the Israeli water authorities to produce compliance were never openly acknowledged or challenged by the PWA, it is difficult to detect if the conflictual aspects of the interaction over water served to worsen relations at the broader level. Certainly, the failure of the six rounds of water negotiations held in 2008 testifies to the minimal positive impact the interaction over water has had on broader political relations (Zeitoun and Jägerskog 2009). Second, the important role of ideology in the Palestinian–Israeli water conflict has been confirmed, suggesting that classical geopolitics consider such ‘softer’ influencing features. The Zionist ideology linked to the land

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also extended directly to the constructed need for greater water sources, as demonstrated by the early Zionist claims for the Litani river, and the possible role of water in the 1967 war. Furthermore, a number of ideological tactics have been used to maintain the asymmetric distribution. These include Israeli sanctioning of the discourse against Palestinian water rights and the construction of knowledge regarding Palestinian claims and project costs. Israeli hydro-hegemony extended over the Palestinian Water Authority to the point that it shifted its interests in order to comply to a project that would not meet its officially stated interests. The criticism of the PWA and the division with it from Palestinian civil society suggest that the reach of the Israeli hegemony was much less successful over Palestinian society.16 The hegemony was perpetuated through formation of discourse coalitions, revealing that third parties can be influential in shaping the character of the political relations over water issues. Without the solid USAID financial and political backing, for instance, it is doubtful that the proposed Hadera–Tulkarem project would have been so heavily promoted by the Israeli side or so well ‘received’ by the PWA. While the beneficial role that objective third-party mediators can play in conflict resolution is well known, the evidence here suggests that less-objective mediators also play a role in conflict perpetuation. A final lesson drawn from the case study is that despite the rather tense and combative atmosphere of the Palestinian–Israeli water conflict, it has not been militarised. Israeli destruction of Palestinian water infrastructure throughout the West Bank and Gaza in 2001–03 and in 2008–09 was extensive (IMG 2004; OI 2009; PHG 2009), and severely debilitated the water supply systems and thus PWA efforts to build the sector. The violence has most directly affected hundreds of thousands of people who were not part of the conflict, by cutting off or contaminating their water supplies for weeks at a time (Zeitoun 2005). Such violence has not been replicated directly in the struggle over control of the water resources, however. Compliance of Palestinian officials has been assured through much softer – and probably more effective – measures. CONCLUSIONS This chapter’s critical hydropolitical analysis offers a number of contributions to environmental geopolitics. The hydro-hegemony approach within this stream of research reveals features overlooked by the environmental deterministic or apolitical streams. It is confirmed that the ‘water scarcity leads to war’ approach of environmental determinism is far too simplistic to capture the myriad of the roots of any water conflict. Any water conflict is situated within a broader political relationship, and is of course subject to its economic, social and territorial facets, particularly if the political relationship is already tense. Ascribing too great a role to the

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role of trans-boundary water resources to drive towards greater conflict (or cooperation) at the political level is a temptation best avoided. At the same time, the importance of topography, hydrology and natural resources on political relations has been renewed. Quantitative analysis largely devoid of politics does not assist in fleshing out the complexity of the role of water conflicts on broader political relations. Under-emphasis of the effects of water conflicts on political relations (or, it must be said, on the people themselves) is another temptation best avoided – by keeping eyes wide open to this reality. As such, the critical political environmental approach combining geopolitics, the environment and politics is considered useful. Insight and clarity into the shape of the relations will be achieved, it has been asserted, through consideration of power and power asymmetry. The clearer the perspective becomes, the more evident is the fact that political relations and political conflicts are more determining of relations over trans-boundary natural resources than the other way around. The approach presented here requires further work, of course. It would be greatly assisted by more detailed examination of the interplay between sub-national and national tensions – such as the differences in the Palestinian society and the Palestinian Authority touched upon here. Similarly, food trade and other features of the political economy that have a direct bearing both on the character of the water conflict and on the political relations should be incorporated. It is hoped the reader may glean the relevance of such features from the other contributions in this volume. NOTES 1

2

3

Political relations between riparian states are of course shaped by numerous economic, social, political and other factors. State interests figure prominently, for example – consider Nairobi’s very mild economic and political interests in Lake Turkana with Cairo’s very highly safeguarded interests in the Nile River. Consider the hypothetical case of researchers from Khartoum fixated on examining the role of the bitter cold and inefficient peat-burning of modern Ireland on ‘the Troubles’. They would be just as far off the mark as those seeking environmental explanations for the fighting in Darfur, and they would have had the international community sending blankets and heaters to the region, rather than diplomats. For ignoring the multiple drivers of the conflict, the researchers would be given short shrift in Belfast. The resurfacing of the environmental determinism trend in Darfur is taken just as seriously in many circles of northern and central Africa (see e.g. de Waal 2007; el-Tom 2007; Raleigh and Urdal 2007) and non-deterministic climate change scientists (e.g. Hulme 2009). Transboundary water ‘cooperation’ is poorly defined in the hydropolitical literature. Single quotes around the word are used to indicate that the author disagrees with the meaning implied. See Zeitoun and Mirumachi (2008) for an attempt to expand upon and clarify the term trans-boundary water ‘cooperation’.

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4

5 6 7 8 9

10 11

12 13 14

15

16 17

69

Zeitoun and Mirumachi (2008) suggest that the nuance and depth of the dual nature of coexisting conflict and cooperation is more readily interpreted through the Transboundary Water Interaction NexuS (TWINS) matrix (Mirumachi 2007b). Interestingly, the strongest co-relation of indicators is found to be between a state’s water scarcity and the number of river claims that stop short of violence (Hensel and Brochmann 2007; Brochmann and Hensel 2008). For application of Ferguson’s approach to hydropolitics, refer to Chhotray (2007) and Mollinga (2008). ‘The process of transaction, negotiation and compromise that takes place between ruling and subaltern groups’, in other words (Jones 2006: 92). And what Molle (2008) refers to as a ‘nirvana concept’. A drinking water well drilled by USAID in 2001 on behalf of the PWA for the city of Jenin is over 700 m deep. The pump and motor fitted into the well failed every few months for several years after it was brought on-line, as its technical water-pumping limits were strained or superseded (al Ahmad 2003, pers. comm.; Zeitoun 2005). Though this latter limit is routinely and possibly dangerously exceeded (Zeitoun, Messerschmid and Attili 2009). Though the land around the Litani River (but not Jabil esh Sheikh) was eventually occupied by Israel from 1978 to 2000, and the river was used locally by Israeli forces, there is no evidence that the Litani was diverted for Israeli use. See discussion in Amery (2000), Amery and Wolf (2000) and Medzini (2001). The mountainous topography renders such a project economically unfeasible, particularly when Israeli water needs had been largely met through the asymmetric abstraction from the trans-boundary aquifers. Based on many sources, including Pälastina (1927), Ruppin (1916) and GOP (1947). Readers interested in the debate are referred to el Musa (1997), Trottier (1999), Amery (2000) and Medzini (2001). These include, but are not limited to, Military Orders 92 (1967), 158 (1967), 457 (1974), and 498 (1974). Israel’s control over water resources in the occupied Palestinian territories has been well covered: e.g. el Musa 1997; B’tselem 2001; Messerschmid 2005; COHRE 2005, 2008a, 2008b. Resolution of the conflict and Palestinian self-determination were given a very remote outside chance by several analysts, as the promises of trappings of a Palestinian state ignored the structural roots of the conflict (Finkelstein 1995; Said 1996). The 1993 ‘Oslo I’ agreement is also known as the ‘Gaza–Jericho First’ agreement, and was the precursor to the 1995 Oslo II Agreement. The pre-feasibility report Supply of Water to the Palestinian Authority from the Desalination Plant at Hadera (see IWC 2004) estimates the transmission costs alone at US$1.15 per m3. The cost of water was expected to be near US$1.85 per m3, once production and capital investment costs are included. This compares with the roughly US$0.40 to US$ 0.70 per m3 that the targeted West Bank consumers currently pay, and the roughly US$0.35 per m3 that it would cost to produce water from the Western Aquifer Basin, were it not prohibited by the terms of the Oslo II Accord to do so.

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18 From Gramsci’s perspective, this would suggest the extent of the hegemony of the PWA (and PA) over its own people was almost nil.

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Selby, Jan. 2007b. Joint Mismanagement: Reappraising the Oslo Water Regime, in Hillel Shuval and Hassan Dweik (eds), Water Resources in the Middle East: Israeli-Palestinian Water Issues – From Conflict to Cooperation. Heidelberg: Springer Verlag: 203–12. Shamir, Uri. 2004. ‘Water Scarcity in the Middle East - Regional Cooperation as a Mechanism Towards Peace’ - Testimony to the Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives (One Hundred Eighth Congres), 5 May 2004. Washington DC: US House of Representatives. Sneddon, Chris and Coleen Fox. 2006. Rethinking Transboundary Waters: A Critical Hydropolitics of the Mekong Basin. Political Geography 25: 181–202. Snowdon, Peter. 2006. Drying Up Palestine. Video documentary on the DFID-funded SUSMAQ Project in Palestine, UK Department for International Development. SUSMAQ. 2003. Conceptual Flow Model of the Wester Aquifer Basin, Sustainable Management of the West Bank and Gaza Aquifers, Working Report SUSMAQ-MOD No. 6 VO.03, Water Resources and Planning Department, Palestinian Water Authority, (August). Toset, Hans Petter Wollebaek, Nils Petter Gleditsch and Havard Hegre. 2000. Shared Rivers and Interstate Conflict. Political Geography 19: 971–96. Trottier, Julie. 1999. Hydropolitics in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Jerusalem: PASSIA (Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs). Tvedt, T. 2004. The River Nile in the Age of the British: Political Ecology & the Quest for Economic Power. London: I.B.Tauris. USAID. 2002. West Bank Integrated Water Resources Management Plan, prepared by CH2MHill. Tel Aviv: United States Agency for International Development and the Palestinian Water Authority. Vengosh, Avner, Wolfram Klopmann, Amer Marei, Yacov Livshitz, Alexis Guttierez, Mazen Banna, Catherine Guerrot, Irena Pankratov and Hadas Ranaan. 2005. Sources of Salinity and Boron in the Gaza Strip: Natural Contaminant Flow in the Southern Mediterranean Coastal Aquifer. Water Resources Research 41/1, doi:10.1029/2004WR003344. Warner, Jeroen. 2008. Contested Hydrohegemony: Hydraulic Control and Security in Turkey. Water Alternatives 1/2: 271–88. Warner, Jeroen, Philippus Wester and Alex Bolding. 2008. Going With the Flow: River Basins as the Natural Units for Water Management? Water Policy 10/S2: 121–38. WBWD. 2003. Water Facilities for WBWD Water System (map). Ramallah, West Bank: West Bank Water Department. Wegerich, Kai. 2008. Hydro-Hegemony in the Amu Darya Basin. Water Policy 10/S2: 71–88. Weinthal, Erika. 2004. From Environmental Peacemaking to Environmental Peacekeeping. Environmental Change and Security Program, ECSP Report, Issue 10. Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Weizman, Eyal. 2007. Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation. London: Verso. Wolf, Aaron T. 2000. ‘Hydrostrategic’ Territory in the Jordan Basin: Water, War, and Arab-Israeli Peace Negotiations, in Aaron Wolf and Hussein Amery, Water in the Middle East: A Geography of Peace. Austin: University of Texas Press.

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Wolf, Aaron T. (ed.) 2002. Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Water Systems. The Management of Water Series. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. Wolf, Aaron T. 2007. Shared Waters: Conflict and Cooperation. Annual Review of Environmental Resources 32: 241–69. Wolf, Aaron T., Annika Kramer, Alexander Carius and Geoffrey D. Dabelko. 2005. Managing Water Conflict and Cooperation. State of the World 2005: Redefining Global Security. Washington, DC: Worldwatch Institute. Wolf, Aaron T., Shira Yoffe and Mark Giordano. 2003. International Waters: Identifying Basins at Risk. Water Policy 29–60. World Bank. 2009. West Bank and Gaza: Assessment of Restrictions on Palestinian Water Sector Development Sector Note April 2009. Middle East and North Africa Region – Sustainable Development. Report No. 47657-GZ Washington, DC: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Yoffe, Shira B., Aaron T. Wolf and Mark Giordano. 2001. Conflict and Cooperation over International Freshwater Resources: Indicators and Findings of the Basins at Risk. Journal of American Water Resources Association 39/5: 1109–26. Zawahri, Neda A. and Andrea K. Gerlak. 2009. Navigating International River Disputes to Avert Conflict. International Negotiation 14: 211–27. Zeitoun, Mark. 2005. Conflict and Water in Palestine: The Consequences of Armed Conflict on Drinking-Water Systems in Jenin, West Bank, in Imad Khatib, Karen Assaf, Dominique Clayes and Ayman al Haj Daoud (eds), Water Values and Rights, Ramallah: Palestine Academy Press. Zeitoun, Mark. 2007. The Conflict vs. Cooperation Paradox: Fighting Over or Sharing of Palestinian-Israeli Groundwater? Water International 32/1: 105–20. Zeitoun, Mark. 2008a. Not All Water Cooperation is Pretty. The New Security Beat, Blog of the Environmental Change and Security Program (4 June). Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars. Zeitoun, Mark. 2008b. Power and Water: The Hidden Politics of the Palestinian–Israeli Conflict. London: I.B.Tauris. Zeitoun, Mark and Anders Jägerskog. 2009. Confronting Power: Strategies to Support less Powerful States, in Anders Jägerskog and Mark Zeitoun, Transboundary Water Politics. Stockholm: Stockholm International Water Institute. Zeitoun, Mark, Clemens Messerschmid and Shaddad Attili. 2009. Asymmetric Abstraction and Allocation: The Israeli-Palestinian Water Pumping Record. Ground Water 47/1: 146–60. Zeitoun, Mark and Naho Mirumachi. 2008. Transboundary Water Interaction I: Reconsidering Conflict and Cooperation. International Environmental Agreements 8: 297–316. Zeitoun, Mark, Naho Mirumachi and Jeroen Warner (forthcoming). 2010. Transboundary Water Interaction II: Soft Power Underlying Conflict and Cooperation. International Environmental Agreements. Zeitoun, Mark and Jeroen Warner. 2006. Hydro-Hegemony: A Framework for Analysis of Transboundary Water Conflicts. Water Policy 8: 435–60.

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Water: A Source of Wars or a Pathway to Peace? An Empirical Critique of Two Dominant Schools of Thought on Water and International Politics

Terje Tvedt

INTRODUCTION The discourse on water and international relations or on water and hydropolitics has tended to pose a question that is too general: will scarcity of water lead to conflict or cooperation among states? This chapter will, by presenting two dramatic events in the long history of the Nile, show that the relationship between water and international politics is so complex that abstract models or general either/or questions are not very useful. It will argue that in order to understand how the relationship between water, cooperation and power is played out in the real world, one has to analyse not only the hydrological character of the particular river system and how this develops over time, but also human modifications of this system and how the different actors conceive the river at different points in time. A definite physical position in a river basin, be it as an upstream or a downstream power, will definitely tend to make some patterns of actions more likely than other patterns of actions, but the actors will at the same time (but not always) have a wide range of possibilities, between outright competition and full cooperation. In the 1990s it became quite common to talk about a future of water wars (Starr and Stoll 1988; Starr 1991; Serageldin 1994; Homer-Dixon 1995; Kukk and Deese 1996; Ward 2002; Morrissette and Borer 2004–05). The growing water crisis and the subsequent increasing competition among states in international river basins would lead to wars, said the Vice-President of the World Bank and the Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs, and a number of academic articles sounded the alarm bell. Politicians and analysts alike conveyed the idea that water is a resource with links to conflict that range from the plausible to the almost certain (Starr and Stoll 1988; Starr 1991; Homer-Dixon 1994, 1995; Serageldin 1994; Gleick 1995; Kukk and Deese 1996; Ward 2002; Morrissette and Borer 2004–05; Smith and Vivekananda 2008), and the examples typically given were wars between the city states

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of ancient Sumer about 5,000 years ago and from etymology; the word rival is derived from two people sharing the same stretch of the river. Quite soon and suddenly, however, this idea fell into discredit. It was argued that studies had shown the opposite to be the case, and that the connection between scarcity of water and water conflicts and war is a myth. A very influential idea that has emerged at the beginning of the twentieth-first century has been that water and international river basins are some sort of gateways to peace and cooperation. This conclusion is based, it is argued, on empirical evidence; that water wars have never really been fought and that the water ‘events’, even of a conflictual nature, are (only) ‘mild’ (Murakami 1995; Wolf 2004, 2007; Wolf et al. 2005; Yoffe et al. 2003, 2004). Quantitative research projects have concluded that there is no observable connection between geographical features, such as rivers, and wars, and have rejected the idea of water wars in general. Long-range studies of water scarcity conducted by researchers belonging to this school have tended to find greater likelihood of cooperation and adaptation than conflict. Water wars themselves are now generally viewed as unfounded hyperbole. Now it is underlined that water promotes cooperation. Water will fuel greater interdependence and ‘water and river basins are pathways to peace’. But, in 2007, again it was warned that water scarcity leads to wars. This time it was the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon who sounded the bell, at the Davos summit. Later the same year, he claimed that the crisis in Darfur grew in part from desertification and a scarcity of resources, especially water (Ki-Moon 2007). A number of other high-profile politicians and activists repeated the same story, over and over again; the conflict in Darfur is the alarming outcome of climate change and water scarcity. But in this case the ascribed relationship between water and conflict cannot be substantiated, since the ethnic and tribal and regional contradictions are very deep and require more than bore holes and rain to be solved.1 Both the theses about the close, casual relationship between competition over scarce water resources and war and about the casual relationship between competition over scarce water resources and cooperation are too simplistic, and partly deterministic. A specific type of natural entity does not necessitate a specific form of political or geopolitical action (Matthew, Gaulin & McDonald 2003: 866; Phillips et al. 2006, 2007a, 2007b). The theory of linkages between water scarcity and conflict and water scarcity and cooperation should be criticized for embodying some sort of rude nature determinism. This article will show that water wars are no myth; water wars have been fought and with far-reaching geopolitical consequences. It will also show that competition over water may stimulate efforts aiming at collective action, choosing that as the best alternative among available options. The two cases examined here are both related to the Nile, because this river has been given a prominent place in theoretical discourse on nature

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and conflict, and resource scarcity and geopolitics. The first part deals with water wars in the making of the British River Empire in the 1890s. The second part deals with water in the collapse of that same Nile Empire in 1956. Both serve to underline how dominant schools of thought about the relationship between water and conflict and cooperation are biased and simplistic. First some words about sources. This first part of the chapter is based on the books about the Partition of Africa and the British occupation of the Sudan and Lake Region and its relations with Ethiopia in the decades after 1882, all the reports for Nile control developed in Egypt in the 1880s and the 1890s, all the Annual Reports written by Her Majesty’s Agent in Egypt between 1883 and 1907, and the letters and minutes of discussions between Lord Cromer and the Foreign Office and ministers in London about the issue, filed in the archives of the Foreign Office in London and the National Records Office in Khartoum, and the more autobiographical accounts of important colonial actors such as Lord Lugard, Samuel Baker, Winston Churchill, Alfred Milner and Cromer himself. The second story deals with the futile secret British plans to divert the Nile in Uganda to harm Nasser and the Egyptian nationalists in the mid1950s. This section is based on a very extensive collection of public and secret documents found in the Foreign Ministry’s archive in London on the Suez crisis and the Nile. It also benefits from a reading of the major works on the Suez crisis, although, interestingly, none of them even mentions the issue of the Nile as a weapon.2 They are not even mentioned in the Cabinet minutes or in files from the Prime Minister’s Office, since these plans were guarded with utmost secrecy. THE PARTITION OF AFRICA AND A FOUR-YEAR WATER WAR ON THE NILE The British military campaigns in the Nile basin from 1894 to 1898 are in the historical literature recognized as very important events in the European partition of Africa. The British decision to occupy the Upper Nile should most fruitfully be seen as an example of a far-sighted imperial expansionist policy, driven by a complex mixture of economic and political considerations framed by the Nile’s geographical and hydrological characteristics. It was, in short, one of the first modern, protracted water wars, and with long-ranging geopolitical implications. The British occupied Egypt in 1882, not because of their ambitions for the Nile, which they had not yet developed, but because of another waterway: the man-made Suez Canal, finished in 1869. It brought Egypt into the centre of world politics and great power rivalry, four centuries after the country had been turned into a periphery by Vasco da Gama and the new

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Ni le

Libya

Egypt

Saudi Arabia

Re d Se

e

a

N il

Chad Eritrea

Yemen

Sudan Djibout Somalia Ethiopia Central African Republic

Uganda Democratic Republic of Congo

Rwanda

Kenya

Lake Victoria

Indian Sea

Burundi Tanzania

International Border

Water Shed

Figure 1. Map of Nile basin taken from Tvedt 2010.

0

500

1000km

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trade route he found around the southern tip of Africa to Asia. About 20 years after Britain took control in Cairo, London occupied Uganda, fought a two-year war in the Sudan, and made Nile agreements with the Ethiopian Emperor and with the governments of Italy, France, Germany and Belgium. By 1904 the whole river from its source in the heart of Africa to its outlet in the Mediterranean was under British hydrological control. They had established what could be called a new management regime on the Nile and institutionalized a system for the distribution of its water for the benefit of the downstream countries. Why did this happen and how can it be called a water war? EGYPT’S WATER SCARCITY, NILE CONTROL AND WATER IMPERIALISM The British power-holders in Egypt and the Foreign Office in London realized almost immediately that Britain’s position at Suez depended on their ability to control the Nile. They had become rulers of a truly hydraulic society, where stability and wealth depended upon the waters of the Nile (see Lawson 2010). They agreed fully with the then Egyptian prime minister Nubar Pasha (1884–88 and 1894–95), who summarized the situation in a famous one-liner: ‘The Egyptian question is the irrigation question’ (quoted in Willcocks 1936: 67). Now, the introduction of the profitable production of cotton had created a new and ever-increasing demand for more summer water. The big landowners owned about two-thirds of the cotton harvest. The most powerful foreign trade agencies dealt in cotton (Tignor 1966: 234). The British textile industries were becoming more and more dependent on cotton from Egypt. British banks had a great and growing interest in a thriving Egyptian economy. In 1882 Egypt’s foreign debt had increased to 100 million pounds, and the annual debt servicing amounted to 5 million pounds (Crouchley 1938: 145), of which a great part went to Britain. Egypt’s ability to pay back the loans to British banks to a large extent depended on cotton exports and the value of agricultural land. A telling contemporary reflection of this ‘Nile water awareness’ in London was the fact that The Times reported regularly on how much water the Nile carried! What was regarded by the Egyptian elite and the British strategists alike as the saviour of the Egyptian economy, the cotton plant, required even and ample watering in spring and summer when the Nile’s natural water level was at its lowest. In the first years of their rule the British concentrated on a series of important though smaller projects, like the remodelling of the Upper Egypt basin, cleaning silt from the canals and starting operations at the Mex Pumping Station. Altogether these works improved organization of the irrigation sector, and a better system of drainage and crop rotation contributed to the doubling of the cotton production from 1888 to 1892

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(Crouchley 1938: 148). In 1891 the British repaired and made functional the Delta-barrage system just north of Cairo, increasing the area under irrigation significantly. A GROWING WATER CRISIS In the early 1890s, however, the upper limit for irrigation expansion within the existing Nile control system had been reached. The yearly and seasonal discharge fluctuations of the river demonstrated that the existing water control system, despite the efforts to improve it, did not always satisfy actual demand. In 1888, for instance, about 250,000 acres in Upper Egypt received no irrigation water.3 Both the years 1889 and 1890 had experienced exceptionally bad summer supply due to low natural river discharges, immediately causing great falls in profits and increased danger of political unrest. The irrigation officers subsequently reported the same year to Cromer, the British leader in Egypt and by some rightly called the ‘puppet master of Egyptian politics’, that the spirit of resistance against the British presence was ‘stronger now than ever’ (quoted in Robinson and Gallagher, 1981: 277). The Aswan dam was opened in 1902, hailed as a victory of British political, economic and technological might. It represented an entirely new technology on the Nile and was the biggest reservoir of its kind in the world. The dam turned out to be one of the soundest engineering projects in the history of water control, but it did not store sufficient water to meet the demand in the summer season. The reservoir could only dam the tail end of the flood due to the large amounts of silt in the Blue Nile. In the early 1890s a Nile discourse developed, speeches were held and plans were put forward and debated that reflected this feeling of a growing water crisis in Egypt. The former Inspector-General of the Egyptian Irrigation Service J.C.P. Ross summarized this attitude in 1893: ‘We have now arrived at a stage in the summer irrigation of Egypt where the available natural supply has been completely exhausted, and there still remains more land to grow cotton’ (Ross 1893: 188). This crisis was, of course, socially defined: there was in general water enough for the society to be sustained at the existing level, but influential political and economic interests thought that a crisis was developing since improved water supply would solve what was regarded as a bottleneck in the economy. Everybody agreed that they had to do something. In this desert country, where more water meant stability for the country and profits for the elite, the Nile had to be improved. In Cairo the annual rainfall was less than 20 mm a year. In Upper Egypt three years could pass without a raindrop falling. The soil was fertile and the sun always shined – alas; the limiting factor was water. The British rulers in Egypt had already experienced the beauty of irrigation in India. Previously, Cromer had been responsible for financial

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Figure 2. The Aswan Dam. In June 1902, a year ahead of schedule, the first Aswan Dam was completed. The Aswan Dam was a marvel in an age of civil engineering breakthroughs. It changed for all time the regime of irrigation in Egypt, transforming fundamentally Egypt’s ancient irrigation from a basin to a perennial system. By the British the dam was regarded and hailed as a crowning of their efforts at taking ‘the Nile in hand’. Sudan Archive, Durham.

issues on the plains of the Ganges and Indus, and he had learned at first hand. As boss in Cairo, he immediately recruited a team of British water experts from India. A very close relationship between the political leadership and the water planners developed, later called the Cromer–Garstin regime (Garstin being William Garstin, the UnderSecretary of the Public Work’s Ministry, in charge of agriculture, Nile control, roads and buildings in Egypt). Already in 1886 Cromer had claimed that increased water supplies would entail that ‘the good results of European administration can readily be brought home to the natives’ (quoted in Zetland 1932: 171). Two years later he wrote that British success in Egypt depended on development of irrigation infrastructure and increased access to summer water. According to Cromer, irrigation works were not only a permanent priority, but also a policy which continuously proved its success (see Chapter LIV on ‘Irrigation’ in Cromer 1908: II,

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456–65). From 1890 every Annual Report to the government in London enclosed a separate Memorandum on the irrigation activities. The policy was clear: ‘The best thing the Financial Ministry can do is to place as much money as it can afford at their disposal [British water planners, my comment], confident that whatever is thus spent will bring in a splendid return’ (Milner 1892: 310). While the soldiers held the Egyptians down by force, the water planners conquered their minds, or, as his financial adviser put it in 1892, the British engineer secured the support of Egyptian public opinion (Milner 1892: 310). In the language of the day he ‘justified Western methods to Eastern minds’ (Cromer 1908: II, 465). Now waterworks of an altogether new type and technology were required. In 1894, the Report on Perennial Irrigation and Flood Protection of Egypt was published by the Government, after having been secretly circulated in 1893.4 It estimated the future annual need for summer water at 3,610,000 m3 (Willcocks 1893: 9). It asserted that if irrigation were introduced in Upper Egypt, where agriculture still depended on the basin system, and improved in Lower Egypt, the annual income would rise from 32,315,000 Egyptian pounds to 38,540,000 pounds (Willcocks 1893: 5).5 How to secure over 3.5 billion m3 of irrigation water in the summer season, creating an estimated net gain of 6,225,000 pounds to the country per year? The most concrete suggestion of the 1894 report was to build that reservoir which already had been discussed by the government at Aswan in Upper Egypt. This reservoir, by far the biggest in the world at the time, was, however, seen as a temporary solution only. The Council of Ministers in Egypt discussed, for example, in a meeting on 3 June 1894, possible damsites in the Sudan, as if it was no obstacle that the dam-sites were in another country (Garstin 1894a). In line with this, Cromer wrote the same year: The Aswan dam within Egypt’s borders may ‘at some future time, … perhaps be supplemented by another dam south of Wady Halfa’6 (i.e. in the Sudan). And the leading water planner, William Garstin, underlined in his annual report (1894) that the ‘construction of a second [dam] to the south will be merely a question of time’ (Garstin 1895). He further wrote that ‘we may confidently predict’ that the Egyptian dam will be ‘only one of a chain which will eventually extend from the First Cataract to the junction of the White and Blue Niles’ (Garstin 1894). The importance of the ‘chain’ of waterworks in the Sudan that Cromer’s right-hand man was writing about became a more pressing issue when it turned out that the planned storage capacity of the Egyptian Aswan dam, 2,550,000,000 m3 of water, had to be drastically reduced due to technical and ecological constraints. Totally unexpected political problems also arose. In autumn 1894, just after the new report was published,7 archaeological circles in France and Great Britain united in demanding a lower water level in the dam at Aswan than the government in Egypt planned. They wanted to protect the ancient temple at Philae from being submerged by water (Scott-Moncrieff 1895: 417). This opposition, one of

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the first historical examples of successful campaigning against a big dam, was so strong that it forced the government in Cairo to yield and to amend its plan for the reservoir. The capacity was therefore, according to Garstin, reduced by more than 50 per cent, to 1,065,000,000 m3.8 The Aswan reservoir could therefore meet only 25 per cent of Egypt’s future needs (Garstin 1907: 53–8). The reduction implied that 2,610 billion m3 had to be supplied from river works upstream of Egypt (Garstin 1901). In 1891 Cromer wrote a long letter to Prime Minister Salisbury in London on the question of new reservoirs on the Nile. The issue was described as being of ‘utmost importance’,9 since ‘the prosperity of Egypt depends wholly on the Nile’.10 In November 1891 Cromer again informed Salisbury about the importance of the storage question in Egyptian public opinion,11 so as to bring home to the Prime Minister that stability in Egypt as well as the British political and strategic position at Suez hinged on it. Cromer was convinced that in order to maintain control over Egypt, and to develop the cotton crop and cotton export to England at the same time, it was necessary to take control over the Nile basin, or, to be more precise, of those parts of the Nile basin that were important in the context of modern hydrological control of the river. Even if London had harboured no more ambitious plans than to build the Aswan dam, they could not have developed the Nile control system in Egypt without much better and freer access to information about the Nile upstream of Egypt. The Aswan reservoir could not be rationally operated without better and more exact knowledge of the Nile in the Sudan. Without information on the tributaries’ fluctuations before the Nile reached the reservoir, it would be impossible to make the necessary estimations required for its sound management. In 1894, William Willcocks, the author behind the seminal book Egyptian Irrigation of 1889 and one of the architects behind the Aswan reservoir, showed that the time the waters took between Khartoum and Aswan was only ‘10 days in flood and between Aswan and Cairo only five days’. Obviously, proper management of the reservoir and the reservoir gates – especially since the reservoir should only store the tail end of the floods – required a number of gauging stations along the Nile and its tributaries in the Sudan, as well as the reestablishment of a working Nilometer in Khartoum at the junction of the Blue and White Niles. Already in 1882, before the era of reservoirs, major Mason-Bey had shown the necessity for establishing more Nilometers at both the main Nile and its tributaries in the Sudan for planning purposes in Egypt (Mason-Bey 1881: 51–6). In May 1893 the Societé Khédival de Géographie discussed in detail information on water discharges collected at the gauging-stations in Sudan, established on the order of Ismail, from the time when, as they expressed it, ‘the Sudan was not closed’ (see VentreBey 1884). Until 1885, Egypt had daily received information by telegraph from the Nilometer at Khartoum,12 and in 1875 a station was erected close to the village of Dakla in order to measure the Atbara (Chelu 1891: 35). The

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‘fall of Gordon’ in 1885 was dramatic and caught the attention of the day (and of historians later on), but the loss of the Nilometer at Khartoum represented a more direct threat to Egypt, because it jeopardized the optimal management of the irrigation system (see for example the description in Milner 1892: 197–8). However, what the water planners in Cairo considered a great loss already in 1885 had far greater consequences in the mid-1890s because of the growing water gap, the vulnerability of the new crop rotation system, and the more exact hydrological information required for the planned reservoir. Willcocks complained in 1893: ‘As Egypt possesses no barometric, thermometric, or rain gauge stations in the valley of the Nile, we are always ignorant of the coming flood’ (see Willcocks 1893: 17). Scott Moncrieff confessed, while speaking in Britain in 1895 that he, like his audience, had to go to ‘the works of Speke, Baker, Stanley and our other great explorers’ for information regarding anything higher up than Philae, and said that ‘if a foreigner were to lecture to his countrymen about the river Thames, and were to begin by informing them that he had never been above Greenwich, he might be looked upon as an imposter’ (ScottMoncrieff 1895: 405). For a number of reasons related to the fundamental relation between society and water in Egypt, and the water systems’ character (both the physical character of the river, the management demands of the man-made projects for harnessing it, the political interests the planned projects in Sudan and Uganda reflected and strengthened, and the dominant Nile discourse in Egypt at the time when upstream expansion was regarded as natural and necessary), the question therefore came to be not so much if they were to occupy the headwaters of the White Nile or the Sudan, but when they were to do it. Cromer from the very beginning was therefore not much concerned about London’s control of the areas of present-day Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Congo, although they all were situated within the Nile Basin and thus formally within their ‘sphere of interests’. These areas contributed little to the Nile flow and the building of water control works there at the time would have no impact in Egypt, and European rivals there would be unable to put any pressure on Britain at Suez. The British had therefore got what they were interested in by the Anglo-German agreement of 1890 where the two European rivals agreed that the Nile basin from Lake Victoria and northwards was a British sphere of influence. BRITISH CONTROL UPSTREAM! From about 1890 Cromer wrote about the occupation of the Upper Nile as being necessary – one day. In March 1890 Cromer wrote Salisbury long letters on the question of the occupation of the Sudan, arguing that he had ‘always been fully aware of the desirability of bringing the Soudan back to

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Egypt’. He even drafted, but deleted, the following sentence in the final letter: ‘I have, therefore, always looked forward’ to the occupation of the Sudan. What Cromer awaited was that ‘essential conditions’ should be there. He wrote: ‘The great mistake made by Ismail Pasha was that before he had learnt to administer efficiently the Delta of the Nile, he endeavoured to extend Egyptian territory to the centre of Africa’. His experience should be a ‘warning’ which had to be told to and taught to the Egyptians, Cromer noted.13 Two days later he wrote secretly again: ‘It cannot be too clearly understood that any civilized Power holding the upper waters of the Nile at Khartoum and Berber will in reality dominate Egypt’, and importantly, Cromer argued, this power would be able to exercise control ‘over the supply of water’.14 His annual reports and letters to London show that Cromer in 1890 thought that the British had learnt how to administer the Delta and that the economy was sound. The moment of military action to take control of the river basin was approaching. British hydraulic ambitions made imperial ambitions a rational policy and these ambitions and the

Figure 3. The relative importance of the Blue and the White Nile. This discharge diagram was published in William Garstin’s 1904 report. It shows that the British were clearly aware of the importance of the Blue Nile flood during autumn and winter, and of the importance of the White Nile during the sefi or summer season. The waters of the White Nile were as ‘valuable as gold’, it was said, because this tributary made profitable cotton production possible, and the aim was to increase the flow during the cotton cultivation season by building dams and a new channel on the Upper White Nile.

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hydrological character of the Nile system also decided the direction of the military takeovers and campaigns. The most important upstream parts of the Nile basin at the time for the British were the main Nile in the Sudan and the White Nile system coming from Central Africa and winding slowly through the swamps of the Southern Sudan. This was in spite of the fact that almost 90 per cent of the river’s water in Egypt came from Ethiopia. But it was not the total discharge that counted. Almost all the waters, about 80 per cent, during the sefi season, or the summer season when cotton was cultivated in Egypt, came from the White Nile system due to the natural storage role of the immense swamps of the Southern Sudan and because of the outflow of the Central African Lakes in present-day Uganda. The report from 1894 pointed out that the White Nile was the tributary contributing most to the total water flow of the Nile during the summer season when cotton was grown.15 The waters of the White Nile were described ‘as valuable as gold’ (Willcocks 1894: Appendix III: 11). William Garstin in 1904 put forth a promethean, comprehensive plan for taming the Nile. The new channel bypassing the swamps in south Sudan should start at Bor, and follow a straight line, to the Sobat mouth. Garstin’s solution to what was seen as the great loss of water in the sudd-area was magnificent and very simple at the same time, reflecting his conceptualization of the Nile system. He simply drew, as by putting a ruler on a paper, a line exactly south–north – as if there were no people living in the area. This line on this map, before any local socioeconomic investigations, is a graphic expression of the dominant Nile approach: the Nile in south Sudan was a viaduct to northern drylands. The British had worked on this idea since the latter half of the 1890s. A central idea in the government report prepared in the early 1890s, and published the year London took control of Uganda, was that the hydrological features of the Nile and the future increase in summer water demand would require the regulation of the Nile south of Egypt, even as far as at Lake Albert and Lake Victoria. Willcocks summarized their vision of the Nile: what ‘the Italian Lakes are to the plains of Lombardy, Lake Albert is to the land of Egypt’ (Willcocks 1894: Appendix III: 11). By damming the lake(s), ‘a constant and plentiful supply of water to the Nile valley during the summer months’ could be insured (Willcocks 1894: Appendix III: 11). ‘There alone’, he wrote, ‘we deal with quantities of water which approach’ the demand (Willcocks 1894: Appendix III: 10). Also in 1893 Ross had speculated along similar lines. He envisaged that by raising the water level of Lake Victoria by only 1 m one would get a water flow in the Nile which was ‘30 times more than wanted’ (Ross 1893: 189). It was therefore natural that Scott-Moncrieff summed up the ‘Nile vision’ of the British water planners in Cairo in this way at a meeting in London:

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Figure 4. The figure is taken from Garstin 1904: 176.

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Is it not evident, then, that the Nile from the Victoria Nyanza to the Mediterranean should be under one rule? (Scott-Moncrieff 1895: 418)

Imperial strategists saw also the other side of such control. It could be used against Egypt if it ever became necessary. As a plan it had been discussed for a decade. Samuel Baker, the discoverer, was very clear. Already, in 1884, he wrote in The Times: The Arabs have drunk at these wells for thousands of years. Erect a fort so as to command the wells, and the Arabs are at your mercy. No water. No Arabs. You have all the frontiers you need in the White Nile.

Cromer had repeated similar arguments. In the early 1890s, the later Lord Lugar wrote: ‘Egypt is indebted for her summer supply of water to the Victoria lake, and a dam built across the river at its exit from the lake would deprive Egypt of this’ (Lugard 1893: II, 584). And further: ‘The occupation of so distant a point as Uganda would be a fair and just claim to render valid our influence over the Nile basin beyond’ Lugard 1893: II, 560). Finally, he quoted Lord Rosebery, who had said that Uganda commanded ‘probably the key to Africa’ (Lugard 1893: II, 584). THE RIVER WAR In 1894 the government in London took formal and military control over these African lakes and declared a protectorate over Buganda. They thus ruled the northern part of the lake, where they considered the source of the White Nile to be, and where a dam could be erected. The same year they established a gauge to measure the Nile at the outlet of the lake, on the request of the British in Cairo, and Cromer and his water planners and hydropoliticians could continue working on plans for the entire Nile system and for plans in the Central African lakes region. The geopolitical relation between Uganda and Egypt was thus formally established, upheld and formed by the Nile water system. The physical character of the Nile and the ambitions for Nile control (both in its engineering and political dimensions; they both had their own geopolitical implications), also made the destiny of the Sudan. The grandiose plans for damming and utilizing the big central-African lakes was part of a long-term plan aiming at increasing the summer water in Egypt, and it was also a far-sighted strategy giving London control over Egypt’s lifeline. To implement any of these strategies would be impossible as long as the Sudan was still under the rule of the Mahdists. Garstin and Willcocks knew very well already that the White Nile lost huge amounts of waters on its way through the swamps in Southern Sudan.16 Therefore, by 1899 they had formulated a concrete project to bypass it to increase the water arriving

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Figure 5. Sudanese warriors with swords and war drum, taken in 1896 by F. Gregson. Sudan Archive, Durham.

in Egypt (see Figure 4, page 90). No administration in Cairo would ever consider regulating Lake Victoria, a lake roughly the size of Scotland, without improving the Nile’s water transport capacity in Southern Sudan due to the river’s natural water losses there, and without controlling the territory between the dams and the dry lands in Egypt. To implement any of these strategies would be impossible as long as the Sudan was still under the rule of the Mahdists Britain’s European rivals on the African continent, especially France, had long demonstrated that they understood the geopolitical nature of the Nile and the vulnerability of Britain’s position at Suez if threatened from upstream. For the British government the French military activities on the Upper Nile therefore served two interests. Firstly, by bringing the story about the French invading the Nile valley from West Africa to the front page of British newspapers they successfully stirred up British opinion in favour of the river war. Secondly, by talking publicly in Cairo of the French threat to the Nile, the British engineered political ammunition useful for convincing the Egyptians to pay for the war and to provide all the soldiers necessary for the military campaign. For economic and political reasons they wanted Egyptian and not British troops to do most of the fighting. Their aim was that the Egyptian Treasury and not the British Treasury should pay the cost of the military campaign. To achieve this aim they

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portrayed the river war as a war in defence of Egypt’s historic rights against other European powers. They found a perfect scapegoat in the infamous Captain Marchand. When he and his few men planted the French flag on the shores of the White Nile at Fashoda Britain could strongly and convincingly portray their occupation of the Sudan as a move to defend Egypt’s historical right to the Nile basin. Two years after London had taken military and political control over the headwaters of the White Nile, London started what the then war correspondent Winston Churchill called the ‘River War’.17 Cromer gave the go-ahead for the troops under Kitchener’s leadership to march upstream and into the Sudan in 1896. When the French flag went down at Fashoda and the miserable ‘force’ of Marchand was forced to leave the Nile basin, Kitchener therefore, in line with decisions of Her Majesty’s Government, hailed not only the British but also the Egyptian flag on the shores of the Upper Nile. The river war was over. The Anglo-Egyptian Condominium Agreement of 1899 and the establishment of the administration of the Sudan, however, clearly reflected the fact that Britain wanted to be in charge, especially when it came to questions about the control of the Nile. The men in charge of Egypt’s water followed in the footsteps of the invading army. By April 1897, Garstin had already submitted his report on the Nile cataracts.18 So as to underline his hydropolitical motives behind the occupation, no sooner had the British moved into the Sudan than Cromer sent – in his own view – his most important official in Egypt on an expedition further up the Nile. In the wake of Kitchener’s flotilla, Garstin studied the White Nile in 1899, the White Nile, Bahr al-Jabal, Bahr al-Zaraf and Bahr al-Ghazal in 1901, and again in 1904. In 1903 he was in Uganda, along the Semliki River, at Lake Albert and again at Bahr al-Jabal (Gleichen 1905: 280). BRITISH RIVER EMPIRE The British developed during the 1890s a strategy and a diplomatic and military tactic for establishing a River Empire on the Nile. They sent an army of 20,000 soldiers and a flotilla of gun boats upstream for a number of mixed reasons, but one of the most important was to control the River Nile. After fighting a war for two years in the deserts of the Sudan, crushing the Mahdist regime and killing thousands of Sudanese soldiers, and after taking firm military control of Lake Victoria in Uganda, even deciding to build a railway to it so as to tell the world and the Egyptians that the British planned to stay there, London had brought all the peoples living in the basin under their and Cromer’s control. London’s and Cromer’s grasp of the Nile and the importance of the irrigation question made them fully aware of the fact that by placing their foot upstream they would also be able to control Egypt and secure their position at Suez, and that improved Nile control upstream

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was necessary in order to give Egypt the summer water upon which the cotton economy and the political stability at Suez were dependent. The British strategists had two aims in mind: on the one hand, they planned to develop the Nile so as to bolster cotton production, cotton exports to Lancaster, and the economy in Egypt, since that would create stability at Suez. On the other hand, and at the same time, London knew that if Britain took control of the Nile upstream of Egypt that would give them a leverage against Egyptian nationalists, if the need should arise, and such a control would also enable them to encourage the development of a Sudan independent from Egypt by using Nile waters also in the Sudan. Cromer wrote in Modern Egypt that a central motive behind the occupation of the Sudan had been ‘the effective control of the waters of the Nile from the Equatorial Lakes to the sea’ (Cromer 1908: II, 110). Full of confidence of the beneficial consequences of his river war, he stated: When, eventually, the waters of the Nile, from the Lakes to the sea, are brought fully under control, it will be possible to boast that Man, in this case the Englishman, has turned the gifts of Nature to the best possible advantage. (Cromer, 1908: II, 461)

From another perspective, what took place can be seen as an example of the leaders of a modern water system subjugating the less modern parts of the same water system in the interests of the former. Suddenly, as compared to the long history of focus on the Nile in Egypt only, the physical layer of the water system was seen as one planning unit, and the Busoga at Lake Victoria and the Nuer in the Sobat area, the Annuak in the swamps and the Arabs in the bazaars, were all brought into the maelstrom of world politics because of the fact that they lived along the Nile and that the British had new, revolutionizing plans for the river. Control of the Nile was a geopolitical factor of great importance at the turn of the century, and it helped to make Britain the most powerful and successful empire in the history of the world. They controlled the Suez and they controlled the Nile, and no other European rival could compare themselves in Africa with Britain after the Nile campaigns. THE COLLAPSE OF A RIVER EMPIRE Fifty years later, in 1956, the role of the Nile in the British scheme of things was very different. In that year, Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser’s regime nationalized the Suez Canal, causing a devastating blow to British imperialism. In London they regarded this act as the most serious attack ever on Great Britain’s vital strategic interests in the region, and this in a

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situation where the Canal’s economic and strategic importance had changed. Now the Suez Canal, according to Whitehall, was also Britain’s and Europe’s oil lifeline. The British and the Americans had, some few days before, withdrawn their offer to help finance Nasser’s big project, the New Aswan High Dam. As a direct counter-move to this national insult, as it was described, Nasser decided to take full control of the Suez Canal. What should the British do? They had their biggest military base anywhere in the world on the banks of the Canal. But short of going to war, what alternatives had they? They were still an important water power upstream in the Nile basin. They controlled Uganda and had a solid position in the Sudan. The Sudanese the same year, strongly encouraged by Britain, had voted for independence instead of union with Egypt, in opposition to those in the Sudan and Egypt that wanted unity between the two countries. In a situation when the Empire was falling apart this was some encouraging news, seen from London. After all, the Egyptian King had as late as 1948 declared himself the King of Nile Waters and the ruler of both Egypt and the Sudan. London had also managed to have the Owen Falls Dam built to develop Uganda. It was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth in 1954, in spite of opposition from Egyptian nationalists who feared British control of their lifeline in so distant a land. One alternative to war that elements in the British government considered in the summer and autumn of 1956 was to exploit London’s control over the Nile waters upstream. If it had not been done before, the Nile should now, Prime Minister Eden considered, be used as ‘a pistol’ against the head of independent Egypt. The geopolitical idea was clear and simply an echo of Samuel Baker’s geopolitical speculations 70 years earlier: No wells. No Nasser. NO WELLS. NO NASSER London was, of course, considering ordinary economic pressure. But they realized that this would not achieve the settlement they wanted. Military action was thought possible, but it was regarded as a last resort. Besides these well-known policies, London discussed how to exploit British upstream control over Egypt’s lifeline. It was tit for tat: London thought Nasser might strangle Britain by stopping oil shipments through what they described as their lifeline. The British Government for its part discussed plans to strangle Egypt by constricting Egypt’s artery. The Nile, like the Canal, was an international waterway, it was argued. The plan was to meet an ‘act of piracy’, as Nasser’s seizure of the Canal was described in the Foreign Office, with a plot that would soften Egypt’s defiant attitude. They hoped their political and economic influence in the Upper Nile basin could be employed as a whip to force Nasser into submission. The geopolitical link established on the Nile between Egypt and Uganda in 1894, partly for

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Figure 6. The British built a railway from Egypt across the desert to the banks of the Nile in the Sudan as part of their military campaign in 1896–98. Sudan Archive, Durham.

use in such an emergency situation for the Empire, could now perhaps be used in defence of British global interests. The Nile offered three options to the British foreign policy makers: 1. they could try to reduce the Nile flow and thus cause economic problems in Egypt and political problems for Nasser, 2. they could place the Nile sharing issue among the basin states on the top of the regional agenda, and thus demonstrate to the Egyptian people and their leaders that the flow of waters in their lifeline depended on the goodwill of London and her colonies; or 3. London could renew the proposal of some kind of Nile Valley Authority as a way to impress upon the Egyptian Government that it was in its own interest to comply with international arrangements, also regarding the Suez Canal. The Egyptians had feared British upstream control of their life artery for decades. This fear played an important role in the Egyptian revolution in 1919, and it had caused the Egyptians both to oppose the building of the Sennar dam in the Sudan in the 1920s, and to drag their feet over British and the Sudanese plans for the Lake Tana dam in the inter-war years. The infamous Allenby ultimatum in 1924, by which the British withdrew Nile

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water without Egyptian consent on the Blue Nile in the Sudan, showed to all that Britain was quite capable and had also been willing to take the political advantage of her position upstream. DIVERTING THE NILE IN UGANDA About three weeks after Nasser’s Alexandria speech, Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick, Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Office and a personal adviser to Eden during the Suez crisis,19 asked Denis Wright at the Foreign Office to study the question of diverting the Nile in Uganda.20 Could such a water act force Egypt to climb down? Some few days later, however, Kirkpatrick stopped the investigations. He informed Wright that the enquiry was no longer necessary. Kirkpatrick had in the meantime met Morrice, the influential British Irrigation Adviser to the Sudan Government, and Kirkpatrick was now considering stronger cooperation in the use of Nile waters as an alternative. Morrice had argued in support of his and the Sudanese Government’s alternative approach; a broad Nile Valley plan. He said that there was no method of diverting the waters of the Nile that could make an impression on Egypt in less than 15 or 20 years.21 The most effective way would therefore be to spend money building the Roseiris Dam in the Sudan,22 also because irrigation of the Sudan was ‘bound to deprive Egypt of waters’. The argument was that the Egyptians were very sensitive about the whole water sharing situation.23 Morrice also informed Kirkpatrick that Sudanese opinion was hardening against the Aswan Dam. Kirkpatrick, however, was more pessimistic; he replied that the Egyptians would send emissaries with bags of money to Khartoum and bribe their way through all opposition. Morrice argued that this ‘operation bribery’ would become more difficult than usual, mainly due to the real conflicting interests in Nile waters. Morrice favoured a long-term strategy, one that would involve British economic commitment to the development of the Sudan. Indirectly, this sign of possible cooperation between Britain and the Sudan would frighten the Egyptians so much that it would force them to climb down on the Suez Canal issue. The problem with this strategy, as seen by the government in London, was that it presupposed strong British financial support for irrigation projects in the Sudan, and with funds that the British did not have, bankrupt as they were. But some members of the British colonial administration in Uganda were still pursuing the Nile-as-a-weapon road. On 2 September, C.G. Hawes, the British Hydrological Consultant to the Ugandan Government, produced a top secret memorandum, commissioned by Whitehall.24 It concluded that since the White Nile supplied the greater part of the natural river in Egypt from January until May, and since the bulk of the White Nile flow comes from East Africa during these months, ‘a reduction of 30 per cent (or more, perhaps) in the East African component would certainly cause much embarrassment to Egypt and probably would force a reduction in the areas

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of rice and cotton crops sown’.25 In the Sudan navigation would be difficult between Juba and Mongalla and possibly further to the north, and the pump schemes on the White Nile would be adversely affected due to increased water lifting, but the Gezira scheme and other projects on the Blue Nile would not be affected.26 Watson, Head of the African Department in the Foreign Office, minuted: The answer seems to be that considerable damage could be done to Egyptian crops. There is a view in the Ministry of Defence that the damage could be catastrophic: but this seems to require further examination before being accepted.27

On 22 September the Colonial Secretary made a speech on BBC to test reactions in Egypt to such upstream activities. He said that the White Nile rose in Uganda, in British protected territory; that Britain had an agreement with Egypt, under which their engineers stationed at ‘our Dam’ could, within certain limits, decide how much water reached Egypt through ‘our Owen Falls’. He concluded: ‘What would happen to Egypt’s vital interests if we were now to tear up this Agreement on the ground that it infringed’ British ‘sovereignty’ over the Upper Nile? London eagerly awaited Egyptian reactions. The Embassy in Cairo reported on 29 September that Al Ahram brought the headline: ‘Selwyn Lloyd threatens Egypt with cutting off Owen Dam waters’. On the first day in October the Foreign Office again requested Cairo to report on further Egyptian reactions. They were especially eager to know whether ‘the suggestion that we might interfere with Nile waters inevitably increases support for Nasser or how far would there be a tendency to blame him for causing such dangers by his policies’.28 On 26 September Anwar Sadat wrote in Goumhoria that he pitied the Minister who could threaten to deprive Egypt of water if ‘she refused to abandon her sovereign rights over an integral part of her territory’, and he claimed that London was applying the laws of the jungle. Trevelyan, the British Ambassador in Cairo, advised that the policy was counter-productive seen from the point of view of British interests. The Egyptians would make the most of British brutality, insincerity and propensity for empty menaces. The Ambassador suggested instead that the Owen Falls agreement could best be used, not as a basis for threats, but as a demonstration of British readiness to forego exercise of absolute national sovereignty in the interest of civilized and sensible relations with neighbours.29 TURNING THE TAP OFF OR A NILE VALLEY AUTHORITY Warnings against the Foreign Office plot also came from the British in Khartoum. The Sudanese would not take the threats of such actions

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seriously; they would think they were a bluff and merely propaganda. Nevertheless, they complained, it would raise a cry from the street against the Colonizers in Uganda and would strengthen Nasser’s hand as the apostle of freedom in Africa.30 The British there argued for a more cautious and positive long-term strategy. The Sudanese would not accept a solution to Nile-sharing issues based exclusively on their national interests regardless of the Egyptian viewpoint, the British reported. Britain should therefore not give the Sudanese the impression that the British were pressing them on the water issue further than where they wanted to go. The British in Khartoum thought that the Nile waters could in general be more profitably used in the Sudan than in Egypt, but to advocate this was considered politically unwise, since it was regarded as unreasonable by both the Sudanese and the Egyptians. The British in Khartoum again argued, as Morrice did, that London should increase its financial aid to the Sudan. Work on the Roseiris Dam could start if the Managil extension were to go forward at the accelerated rate the Sudanese Government were talking about.31 This policy would achieve what the British in Khartoum now thought to be most important: increase food production, create a fairer deal regarding the Nile waters, and strengthen the British position in the Sudan. Seen from London this plan had two main drawbacks: firstly it was too costly, and secondly it was not thought to carry sufficient and immediate ‘punishing’ power. Concrete studies of the potential impact of Nile flow reductions continued in the Colonial Office, the Foreign Office and the Board of Trade. At the very end of September a ‘Note on Egyptian Crops and water requirements’ was produced by the Board of Trade. This note rejected Hawes’ simplistic scenario and stated that it was: difficult to forecast which crops would be affected by a reduction in White Nile water, because the Egyptians might choose to release water from the Aswan reservoir earlier than usual, in order to cover the shortfall from Jebel Aulia. The critical period would then be deferred until June/July, and an important factor would be the timing of the Blue Nile flood – its onset varies appreciably from year to year.32

On 27 September the Sub-Committee on Economic Measures of the Middle East Official Committee discussed a note prepared by the Colonial Office concerning the possibility of action against Egypt by restricting the flow of the Nile, without taking a definite decision. In the beginning of October, Eden was still much interested in the ‘particular question of denying the waters of the White Nile to Egypt’. Opinions varied, many argued in favour of caution, and what all agreed on was the need for more precise knowledge. The discussions about this ‘strangling’ scheme also show that they came up against conflicting considerations related to their different upstream

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interests. The Colonial Office gradually objected more to this ‘deprival scheme’, on the basis of the effects it would have on Uganda, particularly in relation to hydroelectric power. The British representatives in Khartoum tended to put the interests of the Sudan high on the agenda, and were unwilling to perceive the Sudan only as a subordinate part in a strategy to maintain Britain’s global status and Suez interests. On 9 October the Colonial Office discussed the pros and cons, based on a new memorandum on Nile waters. It concluded that it was ‘not a simple matter of turning the tap on and off ’. On the contrary, once control had been established it would have to be continued for a substantial period in order to produce significant results.33 The reason was the Nile’s physical properties as a river system. Because of the natural regulation effect of Lake Victoria, Lake Albert and Lake Kyoga on the discharge fluctuations of the river, there is no great seasonal variation in the flow of the White Nile when it reaches the border with Sudan, at Nimule. Furthermore, of the 27 billion m3 of waters that annually (on average) reach Mongalla, it was estimated that about 16.5 billion m3 emerged from the Sudd to the north in a normal year. Moreover, it was noted that the water would take four months to reach Egypt from Owen Falls, and due to the time taken to drain off the balancing water in the Ugandan lakes downstream (Lake Victoria contributes about 20 billion m3, Lake Albert about 4 billion m3, and the seasonal torrents between Nimule and Mongalla add 3 billion m3), any reduction in the flow at Owen Falls would not have an appreciable effect at Aswan for about 16 months on average, depending on rainfall in East Africa.34 The note concluded that the effects in Egypt could be serious, but that the consequences would be far from immediate. The available options were framed by earlier British modifications of the river system, the conflicting interests of the British in the different downstream states, and the growing multifunctionality of the use of the river in Uganda. The note went on to analyse the consequences of a reduction of the flow at Owen Falls for Uganda. It was argued that passing sufficient water through the turbines at Owen Falls to supply electricity to the most densely populated parts of Uganda was essential for the new textile factory at Jinja, the smelting at Jinja of copper from the new mines in Western Uganda and the planned electrification of the western districts of Kenya. A reduction of the flow would also cause the water level of Lake Victoria to rise, which would result in flooding in some of the colonial areas Britain controlled in, especially, Uganda and Kenya. Shipping services would be hampered or even suspended if port facilities became unusable. To lower the level of the Nile below Owen Falls would disrupt navigation both on the Nile, the Victoria Nile and on Lake Albert. In addition, it was assessed, navigation would probably become impracticable on the Albert Nile, and this in a situation where the Albert Nile played an important part in the transport of the cotton crop from the West Nile District of Uganda, and also some part in the modest transport to and from the Southern

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Sudan. Yet perhaps even more important, the Colonial Office argued in a top secret note that the political repercussions in the East African territories would be considerable and dangerous for British prestige and position. They also expected opposition from vocal groups in their colonies, and that they would react sharply to the use by the United Kingdom Government of an African river to bring pressure on Egypt. This opposition would be intensified by any economic distress arising from interference with the flow of the Nile.35 In late October a new Foreign Office memo was produced: ‘The effect on the Sudan and Egypt of restriction of the discharge at Owen Falls’. It argued that the economic consequences for the Sudan would be substantial; especially on the hundreds of cotton plantations between Kosti and the Jebel Auliyya Dam. In this part of the Sudan the British had helped to develop a thriving irrigation economy. These fields depended for irrigation upon water pumped into canals from the river; the pumps in turn depended on a high water level, which was normally artificially maintained until February by the Jebel Auliyya reservoir. If the Egyptians, who according to agreement now operated the reservoir, decided to empty the reservoir early to postpone the effect of the reduced flow on their own economy, the effect would in the Sudan be seriously aggravated. It was considered most important that some of the biggest private schemes were owned by Sayed Abdel Rahman el Mahdi, the main British ally in the Sudan, who was already in a difficult financial situation. The political effects in the Sudan could, it was concluded, only be bad, if London did try to reduce the water flow. Regarding Egypt, the memo refuted Hawes’ assessments, and stated that, in a normal year, restrictions at Owen Falls consonant with Uganda’s planned requirements for electric power would have a very slight effect on Egyptian agriculture. Given a very low year or a very late Blue Nile flood, or both, the ‘Egyptians might be forced to make a significant but by no means disastrous reduction in the areas of crops sown’.36 Therefore, the discussions among foreign policy bureaucrats and some consultants to the Ugandan government about using the Nile as a direct weapon against Nasser in the autumn of 1956 were based on false assumptions. Those who suggested that the Nile could be used in this way underestimated the conflicting demands and interests of the other Nile basin states under their influence. An upstream state will always have conflicting interests. The complexity of the water system they had created had made them geopolitically impotent, and Nasser less vulnerable to upstream pressure. Moreover, the hydrological character of the Nile could not be manipulated so as to fit their ‘punishment’ scheme. At dusk on 31 October French and British planes began bombing Egyptian positions, under the illusion that the short-term use of force could achieve what long-term manipulation of water could not. But the action

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turned into international political defeat and the Nile weapon as a threat became less useful than ever. A few days later Selwyn Lloyd announced to the House of Commons that the United Kingdom would withdraw from the Canal Zone.37 Also after their crushing defeat London regarded the Nile as still having potentials as a diplomatic stick, although in a less dramatic way. They thought of trying to organize the other Nile states so as to put a more legally acceptable pressure on Egypt. One reason that this was considered a wise policy was that it could exploit what in London was seen as an arrogant Egyptian attitude; treating the river as if it only was an Egyptian river, and as if Egypt had both historic and moral rights to most of its waters. An article in the Egyptian Gazette by Dr Abdul Aziz Ahmed, technical adviser to the Ministry of Public Works (Tvedt 2004a: 311–12), dismissed the aspirations of Ethiopia and the Sudan and concluded that the Nile Waters Agreement of 1929 ‘is flexible enough to deal with future eventualities as it did in the past’. The article emphasized that the problem was ‘not an international one’. The Nile flow regime limits, it said, the use of the waters to the two countries only. This article damaged Egypt’s position in the region, and nobody at that time knew that it helped to lay the ground for the ‘Agreement for the Full Utilization’ of the Nile, signed only by Sudan and Egypt in 1959. The Foreign Office copied the article for their embassies in Addis Ababa and Khartoum, for further public dissemination. The Embassy in Ethiopia reported that they ‘took some pleasure’ in giving copies of the article to the advisers of the Ethiopian Government.38 They added that if the Egyptian Government was ‘stupid enough to put out this imperialist claptrap’ they would stir the Ethiopian Government ‘into replying on equally extreme and un-cooperative lines.’ Britain instead opted for a new and broad Nile Valley Plan and a new Nile Valley Authority. Both political considerations and hydrological facts now made Nile cooperation the best strategy. In this way they tried to establish what, if it had been developed, might have been seen as the forerunner of the present Nile Basin Initiative. CONCLUSION Most observers will agree that the discourse on the relationship between water, conflict and cooperation has been marked by a history where the dominant ideas about these relationships have shifted very fast, reflecting political–ideological fads and fashions in the academic and political world. The above rather detailed case studies from the same river may show that the issue is much more complex, and that simple either–or models are not very fruitful for understanding actual developments or histories, and underlines the need for analysing in detail the development of each and every trans-boundary river basin to be able to grasp the actors’ actions and

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ambitions and the frames of possibilities and constraints they operate within. The chapter also presents a story of what can be called ‘old’ geopolitics with a water system and a river system in focus. The growing multifunctionality of such large river basins can also indicate that new and old geopolitics will coexist in political games – over the control of the Nile – and most likely this will also be the case in other big river basins. The above stories can show that there is not necessarily a single casual relation between a geographical structure, or a water system, and an actor-specific geopolitical strategy. The British strategists’ conception of the Nile should be explained as changing according to London’s and other British actors’ political aims and according to whether they conceived of themselves as an upstream or a downstream power, or as a guardian of the ‘common interests’ of optimal river utilization. From one fundamental point of view it is possible to argue that if one only assesses the physical layer of the Nile, the river, because of its length and relatively unchanged character in this time period, presented more or less identical possibilities and constraints as a geopolitical instrument and structure during the British era in the Nile basin. But since human modifications of this river (as of any other river) did not only reflect the realization of certain social possibilities but also created new constraints and possibilities for human actions, the Nile’s potential as a weapon changed. Since river discharges will always tend to change with important economic and political implications, and the rivers’ water can always be controlled in new ways to serve new interests, rivers as geopolitical weapons or instruments are highly instrumental in framing political ambitions and actions. But for all these same reasons they cannot be reduced to a deterministic factor explaining in itself specific geopolitical acts.

NOTES 1 2 3 4 5 6

7

See Harir 1994. For an overview of sources and books that this article is based upon, see Tvedt 2004a. For an overview of general literature on the Nile, see Tvedt 2004b. See for example The Times for the years 1893 and 1894. Willcocks 1894: 5. This was a government publication. Willcocks 1893. This was written, and circulated among the government officials. The direct gain to the state was said to be from sale of reclaimed lands and the increase of the annual revenue derived from them. Indirect gain to the state, but direct gain to the country resulted from increased value of agricultural produce, the rise in the price of land and in the land rents, increase in custom revenue, and so on. Cromer to Earl of Kimberley, 15 November 1894, in Further Correspondence respecting the Affairs of Egypt, January to June 1894. FO/407/126.

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8

9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

26 27 28 29 30 31 32

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See for example Mr Rodd to the Earl of Kimberley 3 August 1894, referring to the protest of the London Society of Antiquarians against the proposed Nile reservoir. In Further Correspondence respecting the Affairs of Egypt, FO/407/127. Memorandum by Sir William Garstin, Inclosure 1 in No. 30, FO/407/144. Cromer to Salisbury, 21 October 1891, FFO 141/284. Ibid. Cromer to Salisbury, 14 November 1891, FO 141/283. For a description of the role of water measuring stations in the Sudan for rational water planning in Egypt before 1885, see Chelu 1891: 2–38. Cromer to Salisbury, 13 March 1890, FO 141/276/84. Cromer to Salisbury, 15 March 1890, FO 403/99. Willcocks 1894: Appendix III, 8. He quotes (in Appendix III, 4) among others Linant Pasha’s estimates suggesting that the White Nile carried twice as much water as the Blue Nile during the crucial summer season. E. Lombardini published Saggio idrolico sur Nilo (Milano 1864) and A. Chelu put out Le Nil, Le Soudan, l’Egypte (Paris 1891). See also Willcocks 1894: Appendix III, 10–11. Mason-Bey 1881 discussed how a removal of the sudd could increase the water flow to Egypt. See Winston Churchill’s two-volume report from this campaign, aptly called ‘The River War’ (Churchill 1933). Report by Mr Garstin on the Province of Dongola, Inclosure in No. 12, further correspondence respecting the affairs of Egypt, April to June 1897, FO/407/143. Kyle calls him Eden’s ‘draftsman’ during the Suez crisis (Kyle 1991: 88). Denis Wright, Assistant Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, later Ambassador to Ethiopia and Iran. Kirkpatrick to Wright, 16 August 1956, FO 371/119063. Kirkpatrick to Watson, 16 August 1956, FO 371/119063. Ibid. Hawes lived in South Brent in England, at the time. The Foreign Office could therefore approach him through the Colonial Office without involving the ‘Men on the Spot’, who were kept in the dark about these plans and these commissioned studies. C. G. Hawes, The effect of restricting the outflow of Lake Victoria on conditions in Egypt and the Sudan, 2 September 1956, FO 371/119064. Ibid. Foreign Office minute, J. A. H. Watson, 18 September 1956, FO 371/119063. Foreign Office to Embassy, Cairo, 1 October 1956, FO 371/119063. Trevelyan to Foreign Office, 3 October 1956, FO 371/119063. Sir E. Chapman Andrews, Khartoum to Foreign Office, 5 October 1956, FO 371/119063. Chapman-Andrews, Khartoum to Watson, African Department, Foreign Office, 4 October 1956, FO 371/119064. The Managil extension of the Gezira scheme had been planned earlier in 1956 to be implemented in four phases. When completed it would roughly double current production. The cost of the dam was estimated at about £20 million, and it was proposed that construction could take place between 1957 and 1965. It was to provide more water for Managil and also for land in the Kenana region. It would also provide for electric power and more pump schemes.

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33 Board of Trade, ‘Note on Egyptian crops and water requirements’, September 1956, FO 371/119063. 34 A. N. Galsworthy, Colonial Office to Wright, Foreign Office, 20 December 1956, FO 371/119066. 35 Archie Ross, Use of Owen Falls dam to deny water to Egypt, 14 November 1956, FO 371/119065. 36 Foreign Office minute, Ramsden, 4 October 1956, FO 371/119065. 37 See Some implications for the East African territories of a decision to restrict the flow of the White Nile (top secret), 9 October 1956, FO 371/119064. 38 As early as the 1920s the British hydrologists had discovered that there was latency of four to five months between peak levels on Lake Victoria and Lake Albert. It was estimated that the extensive swamps which the Victoria Nile runs through while joining the two lakes caused this long time lag (see Newhouse 1939: 25). 39 Some implications for the East African territories of a decision to restrict the flow of the White Nile (top secret), 9 October 1956, FO 371/119064. 40 Phillips, Foreign Office memo, The effect on the Sudan and Egypt of restriction of the discharge at Owen Falls, 29 October 1956, FO 371/119065. 41 Draft statement for the Foreign Secretary, 30 November 1956, CAB 128/ 30. 42 Chancery, Addis Ababa, to Chancery, British Embassy, Cairo, 31 August 1956, FO 371/119063.

REFERENCES Chelu, A. 1891. De l’Equateur à la Mediterranée: Le Nil, le Soudan, l’Egypte. Paris: Chaix. Churchill, Winston, 1933 [1899]. The River War. An Account of the Reconquest of the Sudan, 2 vols. London: Eyre & Spottiswoode. Cromer, Evelyn Baring, Earl of. 1908. Modern Egypt, 2 vols. London: Macmillan. Crouchley, A.E. 1938. The Economic Development of Modern Egypt. London: Longmans Green. Earl of Cromer (1885–1907). Report by his Majesty’s Agent and Consul-General on the Finances, Administration and Conditions of Egypt and the Sudan. London (on an annual basis). Garstin, William. 1894a. A Note, in William Willcocks, Report on Perennial Irrigation and Flood Protection of Egypt, Cairo: Ministry of Public Works. Garstin, William. 1894b. Note upon the proposed modifications of the Assuan Dam Project, by W. Garstin, 14 November 1894, Inclosure in No. 166, FO 407/126. Garstin, William. 1895. Note on the Public Works Department for the year 1894, 19 February 1895, Inclosure 3 in No. 51, FO/407/131. Garstin, William. 1899. Report on the Soudan, HMSO Parliamentary Accounts and Papers, no. 112. London: 925–51 (enclosed in a Despatch from Her Majesty’s Agent and Consul-General at Cairo, and presented to both Houses of Parliament, June). A slightly different version published as Note on the Soudan, Cairo: Ministry of Public Works: 1899.

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Garstin, William. 1901. Report as to Irrigation Projects on the Upper Nile, in Foreign Office, Blue Book No. 2, 1901 in Despatch from His Majesty’s Agent and Consul-General, Cairo. Garstin, William. 1904. Report upon the Basin of the Upper Nile with proposals for the improvement of that river. Cairo: Ministry of Public Works. Garstin, William. 1905. Some Problems of the Upper Nile, The Nineteenth Century and After 343: 345–66. Garstin, William. 1907. Note on the Sudan Irrigation Service, in Inclosure No. 2: Report of the Finance, Administration and Conditions of the Sudan, 1906. London: 53–8. Garstin, William. 1909. Fifty Years of Nile Exploration and Some of Its Results, The Geographical Journal 33/2: 117–52. Gleichen, A.E.W. (ed.) 1905. The Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, 2 vols. London: Printed for HSMO by Harrison & Sons. Gleick, P.H. 1995. Water and Conflict: Fresh Water Resources and International Security, in S. Lynn-Jones and S.E. Miller (eds). 1995. Global Dangers: Changing Dimensions of International Security, International Security Reader. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Harir, Sharif. 1994. ‘Arab Belt’ versus ‘African Belt’: Ethno-political conflict in Dar Fur and the regional cultural factors, in Harir, Sharif and Tvedt, Terje Short-Cut to Decay. The Case of the Sudan. Uppsala: Scandinavian Institute of African Studies: 44–85. Homer-Dixon, Thomas. 1994. Environmental Scarcities and Violent Conflict Evidence from Cases, International Security 19/1: 5–40. Homer-Dixon, Thomas. 1995. On the Threshold – Environmental Changes as Causes of Acute Conflict, in S.M. Lynn-Jones and E. Miller (eds), Global Dangers: Changing Dimensions of International Security. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Ki-Moon, B. 2007. What I saw in Darfur. The Washington Post (14 September 2007). Kukk, Christopher and David Deese. 1996. At the Water’s Edge: Regional Conflict and Cooperation over Fresh Water, UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs 21/1: 21–64. Kyle, Kenneth, 1991. Suez. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. Lawson, Fred E. 2010. Nile River Flows and Political Order in Ottoman Egypt, in Tvedt, Terje and Richard Coopey (eds), From the Birth of Agriculture to Modern Times, in Tvedt, Terje (series editor), A History of Water, Series II, vol. II. London: I.B.Tauris: 201–18. Lombardini, E. 1864. Saggio idrologico sul Nilo dell’ inegnere. Milan: Tipografia di Guiseppe Bernardomi. Lugard, F.D. 1893. The Rise of Our East African Empire, 2 vols. London: W. Blackwood & Sons. Mason-Bey, A.M. 1881. Note sur les nilomètres et le mesurage des affluents du Nil, notamment du Nil blanc, Bulletin de Société de géographie d’Egypte 1–2: 51–6. Matthew, Richard A., Ted Gaulin and Bryan McDonald. 2003. The Elusive Quest: Linking Environmental Change and Conflict, Canadian Journal of Political Science 36 (September): 857–78. Milner, Alfred. 1892. England in Egypt. London: E. Milner.

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Morrissette, Jason and Douglas A. Borer. 2004–05. Where Oil and Water Do Mix: Environmental Scarcity and Future Conflict in the Middle East and North Africa, Parameters (Winter): 86–101. Murakami, M. 1995. Managing Water for Peace in the Middle East. Tokyo: United Nations Press. Newhouse, P. 1939. The Taming of the Nile. London: Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons. Phillips, D., M. Daoudy, J. O Jendal, A. Turton and S. McCaffrey. 2006. Trans-Boundary Water Cooperation as a Tool for Conflict Prevention and Broader Benefit-Sharing, Global Development Studies No. 4. Stockholm: Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Phillips, D., S. Attili, S. McCaffrey and J. Murray. 2007a. The Jordan River Basin: 1. Clarification of the Allocations in the Johnston Plan. Water International 31/5: 16–38. Phillips, D., S. Attili, S. McCaffrey and J. Murray. 2007b. The Jordan River Basin: 2. Potential Future Allocations to the Co-Riparians, Water International 31/5: 39–62. Robinson, R. and J. Gallagher (with Alice Denny). 1981. Africa and the Victorians. The Official Mind of Imperialism (2nd ed. contains two new chapters as compared to first ed. in 1961, ‘Explanation’ and ‘Afterthoughts’). London: Macmillan. Ross, J.C.P. 1893. Irrigation and Agriculture in Egypt, Scottish Geographical Magazine 9: 161–93. Rzoska, J. (ed.) 1976. The Nile: Biology of an Ancient River. The Hague: Junk. Scott-Moncrieff, C. 1895. The Nile, Royal Institution of Great Britain, Proceedings 14, 25 January. Serageldin, I. 1994. Water Supply, Sanitation, and Environmental Sustainability: The Financing Challenge. A keynote address to the ministerial conference on drinking water and environmental sanitation: implementing agenda 21, Washington: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank. Smith, Dan and Janani Vivekananda. 2008. A Climate of Conflict (Sida version). Stockholm: The Information Department and the Division for Peace and Security. Starr, J.R. 1991. Water Wars. Foreign Policy 82 (Spring): 17–36. Starr, J.R. and D. Stoll. 1988. Water in the Middle East. The Politics of Scarcity. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Tignor, R.L. 1966. Modernization and British Colonial Rule in Egypt, 1882–1914. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Tvedt, Terje. 2004a. The Nile. An Annotated Bibliography (2nd ed.). London and New York: I.B.Tauris. Tvedt, Terje. 2004b. The River Nile in the Age of the British. Political Ecology and the Quest for Economic Power. London and New York: I.B.Tauris. Tvedt, Terje (ed.) 2010. The River Nile in the Post-Colonial Age. Conflict and Cooperation among the Nile Basin Countries. London and New York: I.B.Tauris. Tvedt, Terje and Richard Coopey (eds). 2010. A History of Water. Series II, Vol. 2, Rivers and Society from the Birth of Agriculture to Modern Times. London and New York: I.B.Tauris.

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Ventre-Bey, F. 1884. Hydrologie du bassin du Nil: Essai sur la prévision des crues du Fleuve, Bulletin de la Sociéte Khédival de Géographie (fourth series) 1 (January). Ward, Diane Raines. 2002. Water Wars. Drought, Flood, Folly and the Politics of Thirst. New York: Riverhead Books. Willcocks, William. 1889. Egyptian Irrigation, 2 vols. New York: E & FN Spon. Willcocks, William. 1893. Report on the Nile and Proposed Reservoirs, in CAIRINT, 3/14/232, NRO (National Records Office, Khartoum). Willcocks, William. 1894. Report on Perennial Irrigation and Flood Protection of Egypt. Cairo: Ministry of Public Works. Willcocks, William. 1936. Sixty Years in the East. London: E & FN Spon. Wolf, A.T. 2004. Freshwater Transboundary Dispute Database. Corvallis: Oregon State University. Wolf, A.T. 2007. Shared Waters: Conflict and Cooperation. Annual Review of Environmental Resources 32: 241–69. Wolf, Aron T., A. Kramer, A. Carius and G.D. Dabelko. 2005. State of the World 2005 Global Security Brief, 5: Water Can Be a Pathway to Peace, Not War (1 June). World Watch Institute, www.worldwatch.org/node/79. Yoffe, S., A.T. Wolf and M. Giordano. 2003. Conflict and Cooperation over International Freshwater Resources: Indicators of Basins at Risk, Journal of the American Water Resources Association 39: 1109–26. Yoffe, S. et al. 2004. Geography of International Water Conflict and Cooperation: Data Sets and Applications. Water Resources Research 40: W05S04, doi:10.1029/2003WR002530. Zetland, Marquis of. 1932. Lord Crome, being the Authorized Life of Evelyn Baring, Earl of Cromer. London: Hodder and Stoughton.

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Aquatic Warfare in Historical China

Ralph D. Sawyer

INTRODUCTION The history of China has frequently been a history of battle and warfare. Its vaunted geopolitical unity was often tenuous at best and decades rarely passed without major conflicts besetting the land, whether from internal causes or external aggression. Although rarely practiced or theorized in the West, aquatic attacks in their primary form played a key role in a surprising number of pivotal battles and innumerable lesser ones, stimulating the development of techniques, theory and methodology while causing almost unimaginable devastation. Moreover, because they exploited the destructive potential already inherent in the environment, they continue to be scrutinized for tactical lessons applicable to future encounters rather than being consigned to the dark recesses of human history. Myths and vestiges in late historical writings depict Chinese civilization as having evolved when floods plagued the land and ‘the people were compelled to live in trees and hang their cooking pots from branches’. The earliest efforts at water control are attributed to Gun and his son Yu, the legendary sage progenitor of the shadowy Xia dynasty (2200 to 1600 BCE), an overarching political entity that reportedly derived its strength from having mastered water’s destructive power and fathomed the principles necessary to exploit it for agriculture and irrigation. In order to gain unfettered access to the aquatic resources necessary to sustain life, early clan groups normally settled alongside streams, rivers, lakes and ponds. They and other wetlands provided not only the water necessary for cooking, bathing and other essential needs, but also the fish and shellfish vital to early diets. To escape seasonal inundation, settlements had to be situated on slightly elevated terrain ranging from nearby hillocks to contiguous terraces produced by water’s erosive action. In many cases the village’s interior level was also deliberately raised an additional 1–3 m. However, water accessibility was not the sole concern because some small settlements eschewed open sites for relatively inhospitable riverside terrain.

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As frequently noted in the first theoretical military works that appeared in the Warring States period (403–221 BCE), rivers and streams, however slow and shallow, can obstruct, even thwart aggressors in varying degrees depending upon the depth, expanse, rate of flow, and the embankment’s steepness. In the Art of War Sunzi therefore advocated exploiting the enemy’s floundering about in mid-river to attack.1 Other military theoreticians subsequently provided musings on the means and methods for exploiting the quagmires characteristic of wet terrain in general and the obstructive nature of rivers for massive armies heavily laden with equipment.2 Early settlements were therefore established not just along potentially dangerous rivers but also occasionally between two or more closely flowing rivers despite the highly increased flood threat.3 Other primitive towns, although benefiting from immediate proximity to flowing water, enjoyed the augmented deterrence that additional nearby rivers could provide against late Neolithic and Chalcolithic raiders. Even ponds and lakes, and especially expansive marshes and swamps that would enmire aggressors, were exploited for their screening potential, including by the famous Shang military enclave at Panlongcheng near Wuhan. Situated out on a promontory, it occupied one of three contiguous fingers jutting out into the nearby lake and was further isolated by nearby rivers that would at least partially impede aggressors. Because the quest for survival required virtually every waking moment, Neolithic communities could only adapt to the terrain’s immutable configuration. However, as indicated by the development of specialized weapons, warfare’s increasing lethality throughout the middle Neolithic (5000 to 3500 BCE) coupled with population increases, sedentary agricultural practices, and the accumulation of targetable wealth compelled the implementation of protective measures on the exposed side. The initial solution was excavating defensive ditches that could retard the invaders, allowing the community’s fighters to repel enemies who had to descend, cross a narrow space, then climb up often steep embankments, all the while exposed to archery fire as well as to clubs, dagger-axes and spears in the final moment. The classic Yangshao village of Banpo, which flourished between 5000 and 4000 BCE and was located on a bluff near the Chan River, is delimited by a formidable protective ditch. Some 6–8 m in expanse at the top, it averages 1–3 m wide at the bottom and has a very significant depth of 5–6 m.4 Banpo’s relatively sophisticated, though dry, defenses and minimal wall system seem to mark a transitional stage between employing ditches or palisades and erecting rammed earth walls. Rather than being employed to raise the level of the village, the earth excavated from the ditch was simply mounded up on the interior, creating an additional obstacle for attackers.5 Perhaps because considerable water naturally accumulated in these depressions during the rainy season and the strategic defensive advantages

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of water were already well understood, it was quickly realized that waterfilled ditches would function more effectively as defensive barriers. Moats rapidly proliferated in the Longshan period (3500–2000 BCE), quickly expanding far wider than necessary to preclude men from jumping over or using a tree trunk as a temporary bridge. For example, at the famous Yangtze site of Chengtoushan located in an extremely wet area where rice had long been cultivated, slightly north-west of Dongting Lake, the moat ranges between an astonishing 35 m and 50 m wide.6 Generally a highly challenging 4 m deep, it exploited an old riverbed for part of its course and was connected to the nearby river, ensuring adequate water for defense, drinking and transport. Dated to approximately 2800 BCE, this essentially circular fortified town with a final diameter of approximately 325m represents the early stage of compound fortifications in which primitive walls were combined with expansive moats. However, the village had already passed through three distinct defensive stages as it evolved from a ditch-protected settlement to a strongly fortified town. Chengtoushan was initially defined by a 15.3m wide, 0.5m deep ditch or moat with a slightly mounded interior wall that date to about 4500 BCE. Between 4000 and 3500 BCE the vibrant village expanded out over the original ditch/moat, but continued to be protected by a new, narrower moat 12m wide and with a much more functional depth of 2.2m. The next expansion saw the moat excavated to a depth of some 5m; thereafter, the final renovation work occurred between 3000 and 2700 BCE. Whether walls, moats or a combination of the two, extensive fortifications mark dynamic clan settlements embarked on an evolutionary trajectory as well as the emergence of local chieftains. For example, the now famous Neolithic site of Pingliangtai, a typical raised Longshan fortified town, probably functioned as a late Xia military fortress or early dynastic capital. A broad, conjoined moat some 30 m wide and with an original depth of approximately 3 m provided a formidable initial obstacle and furnished the soil for the walls.7 Among many prominent sites, others particularly worth mentioning include Yinxiang, Zoumaling, and Jiming. The 1600 m long walls at Yinxiang in Hubei, a city that was reconstructed numerous times down through the Shang and Chou dynasties, range between 10 m and 25 m wide. Although they stand only 1–2 m over the interior platform, the walls tower 5–6 m over an exterior moat that averages an immense 30–40 m wide (Jingzhou 1997). The ancient city at Zoumaling located just 4 km from the Yangtze River is protected by an irregular circular wall some 1,200 m in circumference that was configured to exploit the terrain’s characteristics and minimize construction difficulties.8 The 25–30 m wide moat surrounding the site equally exploited preexisting depressions in the terrain. Finally, the fortified town of Jiming similarly situated in the middle of the Yangtze watershed is completely surrounded by a protective moat that ranges between 20 m and 30 m wide and averages 1–2 m deep.9

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Coming to decidedly historic times, the early Shang bastion at Yenshi placed in the heart of Xia territory to control the recently conquered populace was protected by an exterior moat roughly 20 m across and 6 m deep. In comparison, Yenshi’s compound, an essentially irregular rectangle of 1,700 m by 1,215 m, consisted of walls that were roughly 18 m wide at the base and a surprising 14 m at the top. They still display a remnant height of nearly 3 m and retain a sharply defined, perpendicular outer face even today. However, the munificent final Shang capital at Anyang was unprotected apart from the Huan river that flowed to the north and around down to the south-east, and an extensive moat that wrapped around the city from slightly north-west down to the south-east, originating and terminating at the river. Massive labor forces had to be mobilized for the technically and organizationally challenging excavation work, and fundamental engineering principles scrupulously observed to prevent collapse. Many moats were designed with highly irregular profiles, had hidden pits scattered throughout, and included sudden drops that abutted interior embankments. Regular maintenance was required to keep ditches and moats free from debris and vegetation, as well as ensure an adequate water level from a possibly distant source. Assuming an average width of 40 m and depth of 4 m, the moat at Chengtoushan would have required removing slightly more than 85,000 m3 of earth.10 Based upon experiments conducted with replicated stone and bone tools, it was discovered that the average worker could only dig out a surprisingly minimal 0.2–0.3 m3/day despite the relative looseness of the alluvial soil. The populace would have had to labor at least an almost unimaginable 280,000 worker days, a dramatic indication of the strategic importance placed upon moats. Assuming a maximum of 2,300 inhabitants, including children, working ceaselessly the village’s 1,000 or so adults would therefore have taken more than nine months or a full three seasons to complete the excavation. Even if a moderate 0.5 m3 per worker per day may have been achieved and the old river bed exploited for 40 per cent of the moat’s course, significantly reducing the effort, the moat’s construction would still have required the same 1,000 workers 102 days or slightly more than one season. The technology of fortification building continued to evolve until massive walls 30–40 m wide at the base, 8–20 m at the top, and heights of several meters (exclusive of their excavated foundations) were routinely being constructed to protect increasing larger sites of several hundred thousand square meters. Although the interlaced, carefully pounded layers of these tamped (or rammed) earthen walls often required special types of soil that had to be transported some distance, much of their bulk was provided by dirt excavated from the associated moats, both external and occasionally internal. Within the limits of the available manpower, whether locally provided or coercively furnished from a greater political area, towns and early cities

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increasing strove to ‘make their walls high and their moats deep’. In pondering the nature and means of city defense military texts such as the Tang dynasty Taibai Yinjing continued the basic thinking first expressed in the classic military writings: make the moats deeper and wider, solidify the fortifications, and keep them in good repair, if not augment them.11 Over the centuries some sites came to be protected by two external, concentric moats, others deployed one on the interior, another on the exterior of the walls. Despite its location on a promontory and substantial walls virtually identical to those constructed at the second Shang capital of Zhengzhou, even the key Shang citadel at Panlongcheng was protected by a 10–12 m wide moat with an average depth of 4.3 m. However, not every city could employ both walls and moats because surplus water supplies were necessary to turn ditches into functioning moats. Moreover, although they were never completely abandoned and were even doubled at some locales, after the Warring States period moats were comparatively de-emphasized, greater trust apparently being placed in massively high walls. For example, the fortifications at the Han dynasty capital of Changan extended 6,000 m on the east, 7,600 m on the south, 4,900 m on the west, and 7,200 m in the north: 12–16 m wide at the base, they towered some 12 m above the countryside but the protective moat was a mere 8 m wide and had a relatively shallow depth of 3 m.12 Even as they were being de-emphasized for urban protection, moats came to be seen as vital for expeditionary armies.13 Several texts suggest appropriate dimensions and proportions for both cities and temporary field encampments, generally a minimum width of 7–10 m and an average depth of 3 m. In addition, reflecting ancient wisdom, several writers highly recommend an irregular profile and the inclusion of a few significant pits and concealed holes in order to improve the moat’s ability to thwart raiders.14 China’s major rivers, especially the Yangtze, frequently retarded, even thwarted, attempts by steppe invaders such as the Khitan, Jurchen and Mongols to invade the south. Nevertheless, water’s defensive exploitation was not confined to naturally occurring rivers and artificially constructed moats. As early as the Yi Zhoushu (which includes materials related to the early Chou or 1046 BCE onward)15 the idea that water could be constrained and accumulated for broader defensive purposes was already being expressed. Noting the protection provided by lakes and marshes, a few commanders also attempted to create and interpose similarly sized bodies of water between themselves and their enemies. The first recorded instance dates to 685 BCE, when the state of Lu exploited the Zhu River to thwart an incursion being mounted by the surpassingly powerful state of Qi to the east.16 However, a particularly notable example of conscious strategic employment arose when Sun Quan of Wu, who wanted to establish his son as heir-apparent in 250 CE, dispatched a force of 100,000 to construct a separate imperial city. Because

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it was situated near the border with obstreperous Wei to the north, he ordered the excavation of a series of ponds that could create an impassible obstacle once they were filled with water diverted from the nearby river.17 Defensive measures based upon water were also resorted to in exigencies, whether simply flooding nearby fields to turn them into a quagmire (just as China, France and the Netherlands all did in World War Two) or filling pre-existent ditches. An enigmatic entry in the Bamboo Annals indicates the first use of flooding for such purposes in 358 BCE ‘when an army from Chu diverted water from the Yellow River outside the long wall’.18 During Xiang Liang’s campaign to vanquish Qin, Qin’s retreating forces managed to survive in Puyang by encircling the town with water.19 Armies frequently broke open embankments to block, as well as entangle, their opponents with river water,20 and even encamped rebels and border peoples in recently seized cities’ diverted rivers to temporarily augment their defenses.21 In the third century CE, finding himself in a disadvantageous battlefield situation that developed while suppressing a rebellion mounted by Han Sui, General Dong Zhuo similarly created a large body of water for defensive purposes. Although six armies were fielded, Dong’s forces alone were dispatched to the north-west border area where they found themselves confronted by a large coalition of Qiang and Hu warriors. After gaining an initial victory over Han Sui’s forces, Dong’s 30,000 troops became isolated and nearly surrounded by a superior Qiang force when they vigorously pursued the remnants. Tung astutely dammed a minor river that had already been providing temporary protection on one side, causing the water to back up and completely inundate several square miles, effectively obstructing the enemy. Exploiting this temporary lake as a screen, Tung had his troops cross downriver before breaking open the dam, dramatically increasing the water’s flow and raising the river’s level, thereby thwarting enemy pursuit. While his escape hardly constituted a victory, unlike the five other commanders that participated in the general campaign he at least managed to preserve his forces.22 Another prominent frequently cited example is provided by Ma Sui’s actions at Taiyuan in the Tang dynasty, where he was reassigned after failing to exploit his victory outside Weizhou over Tian Yue late in the eighth century CE. Retrenching, he prepared for the enemy’s onslaught by primarily employing aquatic measures. First, he created a lake to the east through exploiting a pre-existent pond area by diverting a portion of the Chin so that it augmented the Fen River’s volume, causing it to overflow. When the aggressors approached, he broke open the Fen River’s embankment to provide the water necessary to convert the previously prepared dry ditches surrounding the city into moats and create numerous pools and ponds whose embankments had already been reinforced with branches from willow trees, thereby successfully impeding and frustrating the enemy.

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AQUATIC ATTACK Archaeological evidence indicates that seasonal onslaughts and torrential flooding constantly plagued the Neolithic villages that developed along China’s mighty rivers and vibrant streams, destroying the infrastructure, spawning disease, and decimating the local population. Not only were all of China’s many rivers capable of inflicting unexpected destruction, even large streams could wreak great havoc.23 Over the centuries concerted effort resulted in the development of water-control measures, erection of bulwarks and embankments, evolution of large-scale irrigation, and finally the undertaking of canal building projects that exploited recently discovered hydraulic and civil-engineering principles. This sporadic but incessant struggle prompted philosophical contemplation of water’s characteristics in Warring States texts such as the Guanzi and Huainanzi, as well as of its unremitting destructive potential in contemporary military writings. Sunzi, reputed author of the now infamous Sunzi Bingfa or Art of War, early on employed water’s incredible power to analogize his pivotal concept of shi by saying that ‘The strategic configuration of power [shi] is visible in the onrush of pent-up water tumbling stones along.’24 In addition, he initiated conscious thought about exploiting water’s latent power with a single statement: ‘using water to assist an attack is powerful’.25 Later in the Warring States period his putative descendant Sun Bin added that ‘aquatic deployments are the means to inundate the solid’.26 A famous Dao De Jing verse expresses the crucial insight that water, despite being the ‘softest and most flexible of all things’, can paradoxically subvert and destroy even the hardest: Under Heaven there is nothing more pliant and weak than water, But for attacking the firm and strong nothing surpasses it, Nothing can be exchanged for it.27

The authors of the late Warring States Wei Liaozi accordingly concluded that ‘Water is the softest and weakest of things, but whatever it collides with, such as hills and mounds, will be collapsed by it for no reason other than its nature is concentrated and its attack is totally committed.’28 From the Sung dynasty (960–1269 CE) onward it was common to conceive of a river’s power as being equivalent to millions of soldiers. However, to exploit this inescapably lethal potential, principles had to be fathomed and methods and techniques developed that might be arduously implemented on the battlefield. With such destructive potential ready to hand – as well as in nearby lakes and reservoirs, many of which had been artificially created by simple earthen dams – ruthless aggressors could readily inflict dramatic damage with little effort. Mounting an aquatic attack therefore did not invariably

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require massive efforts to excavate channels or construct embankments, but merely the astute exploitation of latent sources combined with recognition of the terrain’s natural configuration. Absent strong defensive forces or harassing assaults – damming rivers, diverting mountain streams, or simply smashing dikes could often be accomplished in a few days or less. Accounts preserved in China’s many historical works and discussed in the voluminous martial writings show that several basic types of aquatic attack were disproportionately employed.29 The simplest, perhaps the earliest, took advantage of the insurmountable difficulties that rain created for ancient armies. By soaking men, materials and the landscape, it made life miserable, flooded encampments and deployments, and eroded earthen bulwarks and fortifications with dire effect.30 Heavy rain quickly transformed the best roads and broadest fields into impassable quagmires, and many great commanders, including Cao Cao himself following the now famous debacle at Chi Bi,31 found themselves severely impacted. The ensuing river surges also swept away bridges, eroded portions of the shore, and engulfed armies camped alongside rivers or engaged in crossing.32 Boats were invariably required to traverse standing bodies of water, whether small ponds or expansive lakes, and the currents on swiftly flowing rivers, especially during the rainy season, often precluded crossing. Because marshes and wetlands, whether permanent or formed by seasonal flooding, equally retarded movement, entangled troops and enmired wheeled transport, military writers from Sunzi onward advised commanders to either avoid them altogether or race through them expeditiously.33 Conversely, because these very difficulties entailed the possibility of impeding the enemy, commanders were encouraged to attack troops caught on wet terrain and floundering about in flood waters. The ensuing illnesses, misery, material losses and casualties then inevitably depressed their spirits and rendered them defenseless targets.34 As early as the Warring States period the Wuzi advised: ‘If they encamp on low wetlands where there is no way for the water to drain off and heavy rain falls several times, they can be flooded and drowned.’35 A century later the Liutao succinctly observed that ‘Valleys with streams and treacherous ravines are the means by which to stop chariots and defend against cavalry.’36 Consonant with the Art of War’s emphasis upon manipulating the foe, it was believed that enemy forces should be lured or compelled onto marshy ground and directed into configurations of terrain susceptible to inundation from heavy rain or to deliberate flooding through destroying dams, diverting streams, or temporarily stanching a river’s flow to back up the water. Tactical measures were therefore formulated to constrain enemy movement and shape the battlefield prior to mounting an aquatic attack that exploited enmiring terrain.37 Early in the Song dynasty, Xu Dong reformulated Sunzi’s deadly configurations of terrain in terms of water’s presence and effects, creating

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a comprehensive strategic approach to the tactical employment of flooding.38 Most of the military writers thereafter agreed that highly constricted terrain made armies vulnerable to withering, aquatic-aided attack. Astute exploitation of aquatic measures could enable severely outnumbered forces extricate themselves from otherwise hopeless situations, even thwart and possibly defeat vastly superior numbers. AQUATIC ATTACKS ON CITIES AND FORTIFIED TOWNS Toward the end of the Western Zhou (1045–771 BCE), the individual Zhou states began to disdain central authority and develop into self-assertive power centers. Populations grew, agriculture burgeoned, crafts production increased, and cities and towns expanded in size and evolved in complexity. This initially slow process significantly accelerated in the spring and autumn period (722–481 BCE) when the individual states, suddenly finding themselves immersed in predatory conflicts, were forced to stress economic development just to fund the military forces necessary to survive. The nature of warfare radically changed and the sparsely populated, easily traversed terrain of earlier centuries was soon occupied by bastions and power centers that had to be subjugated if victory were to be achieved. In the succeeding, aptly named, Warring States period all aspects of warfare, including its scope and lethality, dramatically escalated. Fortified towns, strongpoints and border defenses rapidly multiplied and a few prototypical ‘great walls’ were erected, frustrating military movement. Up until the middle of the Warring States period the massive rammed earth walls with their conjoined moats continued to ensure that the ensconced defenders enjoyed an almost insurmountable advantage and thus remained unchallenged. Barring the outbreak of rampant disease, if they were well provisioned and had access to water supplies they could withstand a lengthy siege with impunity. Conversely, sieges and citadel assaults often debilitated the aggressor as much as the defender, tempting third parties to exploit the ensuing weakness.39 However, as the techniques of siegecraft and incendiary warfare gradually evolved it eventually became possible to subjugate a city in weeks, particularly if subversive methods were employed. Despite Sunzi’s well-known admonition to the contrary, these developments prompted even the most conservative commanders to undertake sieges and launch heretofore futile assaults.40 By the middle of the fourth century BCE Sun Bin had begun categorizing cities as ‘male’ and ‘female’, the latter being strategically weaker and therefore more susceptible to attack. After the establishment of the Qin dynasty, the main questions in the interminable wars of dynastic succession and amidst the millenarian revolts that plagued the land became when and how to attack, not whether to mount an assault.

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The military chapters of the Mozi, a Warring States text that describes numerous techniques and suggests draconian organizational measures that should enable a fortified town to withstand inundation, indicate that aquatic assaults had already entered the repertoire of aggressive tactics. Flooding was primarily effected by damming a river downstream, causing the water to accumulate around the site, or diverting the river’s flow, creating a weapon capable of eroding the walls unless external embankments were constructed to contain the water, thereby converting the onslaught into a static attack. Even defensive works that initially managed to withstand the water’s impulse normally leaked under unrelieved static pressure. The inhabitants were not just inescapably immersed in misery and consternation, but also quickly afflicted by such extensive disease and deprivation that 60 to 70 per cent often perished over the course of the siege. Nevertheless, the objective generally remained subjugation rather than the simple destruction of the city’s structures or drowning of the populace and ensconced troops, thereby obviating any need for human wave assaults.41 The first recorded aquatic attack dates to 512 BCE, about the time Sunzi reputedly entered service as a strategic advisor in the state of Wu when Wu reportedly vanquished the nearby minor state of Xu by first diverting a mountain stream onto it.42 Thereafter, the highly melodramatic siege of Jinyang, despite showing that even extended flooding might be withstood with surpassing resolution and adequate preparation, indelibly affected the mindset of martial theorists, military commanders, and the general populace.43 Briefly retold, shortly after Jin’s powerful clans had segmented the mighty state of Jin into six enclaves early in the Warring States era, the insatiable Zhi Bo coerced the ruling families in the newly created areas of Han, Wei and Zhao into participating in a coalition effort that destroyed the other two families, allowing their territory to be annexed. He then persuaded Han and Wei to cede additional territory to him, but Zhao rejected a similar request. Infuriated, the obstreperous Zhi Bo compelled Han and Wei to participate in an assault on Zhao’s bastion of Jinyang, near present-day Taiyuan, where the populace was well ensconced within a solid double-walled compound. Failing to seize the city with three months of intermittent assaults, Zhi Bo encircled it with a countervailing wall and then broke the river embankments open to inundate it. Just when conditions appeared hopeless after three years of stalemate, by playing upon their fear of soon being extinguished a strategist from Zhao managed to clandestinely persuade Han and Wei to betray the coalition. Accordingly, ‘on the appointed night Zhao’s forces slew the troops guarding the dike’s embankments and destroyed parts of them so that the water flooded Zhi Bo’s encampment. While Zhi Bo’s army chaotically tried to rescue themselves from the water’s onslaught, forces from Han and Wei mounted a sudden pincer attack from the two wings and the earl of Zhao

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led his troops in a frontal assault. They severely defeated Zhi Bo’s army and captured Zhi Bo himself ’ (Han Feizi, ‘Shi Guo’). The avaricious leader was quickly executed, his clan exterminated, and his head turned into a lacquered drinking vessel. Thereafter, as attested by Warring States discussions (but little recorded implementation), generals confronted by entrenched enemies – whether in fortified cites, freestanding citadels, or amidst fields and mountains – immediately pondered the possibility of inundating them with nearby water sources.44 In fact, the Warring States era effectively ended in 225 BCE when Qin exterminated the remnant state of Wei by blocking a canal originating at the Yellow River, causing the water to back up and inundate Wei’s last remaining bastion of Daliang.45 Slightly more than a decade later Liu Bang, eventual progenitor of the succeeding Han dynasty, reduced the city of Feizhou by having canals dug to immerse it.46 Handan, a secondary imperial capital as early as the Shang dynasty, was subsequently flooded by destroying the river’s embankments when the Han government had to suppress a rebellion in 154 BCE.47 However, direct aquatic assaults were more easily practiced in the south, where numerous rivers, including the powerful Huai and Yangtze, and large lakes lay in close proximity to populous cities. This ease partially accounts for their increased exploitation from the Three Kingdoms period (168–280 CE) onward,48 coincident with the expansion of Chinese culture southward both as a matter of deliberate policy and under pressure from the ‘barbarian’ (steppe) forces that frequently plundered and would soon occupy northern China. More frequent aquatic attacks over the centuries prompted the innovation of techniques and the formulation of operative principles. Early on Sunzi had already propounded the fundamentals: ‘Water’s configuration avoids heights and races downward. Water configures its flow in accord with the terrain, it has no constant shape.’49 The Liutao subsequently noted that dike building and channel excavation nurtured essential skills that could be employed for military tasks that, though unspecified, would include constructing embankments to direct water away from – or onto – targets in order to attack or enervate them.50 By the end of the Warring States period, as shown by the massive dam and irrigation project known as Dujiangyan at Minjiang, even the fastest flowing waters could be interrupted and diverted, the most difficult terrain and formidable distances successfully traversed.51 Numerous Warring States theorists observed that pivotal cities such as Taiyuan, Xiangyang, Zhongli and Kaifeng could all be destructively flooded because of their proximity to powerful rivers and vigorous streams, and Sun Bin added that ‘attacking state capitals and towns with water will prove effective’.52 However, the first theoretical discussions of aquatic assault after the Warring States period did not appear until the Tang dynasty (618–907 CE), when the term ‘aquatic attack’ (shui gong) was initially

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employed and a three-chamber water level similar to a theodolite came into widespread use for civil engineering purposes.53 The Taibai Yinjing, datable to about 750 CE, observes: The Art of War states: ‘Employing water to assist an attack is powerful.’ Water achieves its power through terrain. When the source is higher than the city or the main course is larger than the side channels, they can be blocked and then released to flow. After first setting up a water level to determine relative height, you can engulf cities, inundate armies, immerse encampments, and defeat generals.

Thereafter, an immensely valuable theoretical military work known as the Huqian Jing compiled by Xu Dong just at the turn of the millennium devoted four sections to aquatic warfare.54 However, it also posits four flowbased combat possibilities, two of which merit the appellation of ‘assaults’:55 The Military Methods states, ‘Employing water to assist an attack is powerful.’ For those who excel in employing water the Dao is fourfold: the first is called ‘according with’, the second is called ‘contrary to’, the third is called ‘theft’, the fourth is called ‘severing’. The Dao for employing water in accord with its flow is twofold. If someone severs the water’s flow and sets up (wooden) barriers amidst the river, we must maneuver above them. By exploiting a favorable wind, we can beat the drums and raise a clamor, release incendiaries, and smash into them by according with the flow. When the barriers have been broken, we can pass beyond. However, desist if the wind turns. Moreover, if the enemy is downstream but moving upward with their warriors and horses contrary to the flow, if we can gain a position upstream, we can poison them. These two are termed ‘being in accord with (the current’s flow)’. Employment contrary to the water’s flow consists of erecting high dams to obstruct the downward flow until it overflows the interior and then channeling it to inundate something. This is what is referred to as ‘contrary employment’. Theft of water is employed where the enemy is relying upon water or about to clandestinely mount an aquatic attack. Investigate the patterns of terrain and then secretly excavate sluices in order to draw the water off to some other place, depleting any water resources they would rely upon. This is termed ‘theft’.56 In severing the water’s flow, boats filled with faggots and logs, earth and stone can be floated out upstream and long sluices separately created to drain the water away, or sacks filled with sand can be emplaced in the upper flow in order to block the water. When you want the water to move again, you just have to break apart this dike of bags. This is termed ‘severing [the water’s] flow’.

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Xu then ominously concluded the section by observing that ‘employing water requires appropriate terrain. Persistence in employing it on inappropriate terrain will, on the contrary, result in harm. If you accord with the terrain, you will excel.’ The Wujing Zongyao completed a half-century later similarly includes several brief aquatic warfare sections that mainly integrate previous observations and principles. The chapter entitled ‘Aquatic Warfare’, which is partially based upon the Taibai Yinjing and incorporates boastful assertions from a monologue attributed to Zhi Bo that had indicated other cities were equally susceptible, placed the methodology upon a sound footing:57 Aquatic attacks are the means to sever the enemy’s routes, submerge the enemy’s cities, float the enemy’s huts and sheds, and destroy the enemy’s provisions and stores. A mass of a million can be turned into fish! Even cases of lesser harm can still cause them to clamber up trees to live and suspend pots to cook. If you channel water along level ground, even after laboring mightily and expending effort, the profits and harm will be about equal. Moreover, that Zhi Bo perished through mounting an aquatic attack should be an admonition to anyone undertaking them. The Art of War states: ‘Employing water to assist an attack is strong. Water achieves its power through conforming to the terrain.’58 This means that when the source is higher than the city, the foundation higher than the branches, it can be blocked and stopped, can be broken open to flow. It can be channeled to sever roads and be banked to inundate cities. Poison can be poured into the upper reaches to flow down or temporary dams broken open when the enemy has half crossed. Their Dao is not the same. You must first establish the water level to ascertain relative height, then you can begin to employ them.

About 1130 CE Qi Chongli strongly admonished commanders to ruthlessly employ aquatic attacks:59 ‘Warfare is the Dao of deception, so if you can be victorious over the enemy, neither launching incendiaries nor breaking open dikes along rivers should be discarded. One who excels at warfare takes water and fire as materials for employment.’ Subsequently, in commenting upon the vulnerability of important sites, Hua Yue expanded the list of susceptible targets and included aquatic attacks among his 42 secret methods for attacking cities.60 More importantly, about 1562 the experienced military commander Ye Mengxiong caustically condemned the shortsightedness of commanders who fail to perceive water’s destructive potential:61 I observe that water can be used to encroach and inundate, float and flow, sink and drown, encircle and besiege, and quench thirst. Those in antiquity

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who excelled in employing the army frequently relied upon the power of water to establish unorthodox achievements. The stupid must employ boats and vessels before they term it aquatic warfare, not knowing that if they fathomed its real meaning, prepared their implements, and took advantage of opportunities, aggressive warfare and unorthodox plans would all come out from it. What reliance must there be upon boats and vessels?

In ‘Occupying Heights and Releasing Water’ Ye then reminded commanders not to limit their exploitation of inundation techniques solely to cities: Those who excelled in attacking cities frequently relied upon the power of water. But when two armies assume fortified positions across from each other, if we are higher and they are lower, we can similarly employ aquatic attacks to achieve our objective. Furthermore, we need not just attack cities. Guan Yu, Yang Xingmi and Huan Zongzu all provide examples of employing such attacks and accruing the benefits. Future commanders who wish to ensure the security of their encampments and strongholds can take them as a mirror.

A half-century later, the Wubei Zhi succinctly concluded strategic aquatic thought with the comment that ‘breaking open river embankments to flood cities and blocking the current’s flow in order to soak fortifications are water’s great employment’.62 Even though primarily undertaken around the major river systems, the results of flooding varied from rare, quick victories to interminable stalemates and even unexpected reversals when the aggressors became entangled or lax. Moreover, throughout the long tradition of aquatic attacks there was always a sense that they were a method of last resort, too time consuming and cumbersome to be employed early on.63 With more frequent combat south of the Yellow River from the Three Kingdoms onward, theoreticians emphasized the potential power, even the actual ease in many circumstances, of aquatic assault. Although numerous examples might be cited, one or two condensed depictions should sufficiently illustrate the decision-making process, role of flooding, and difficulties encountered.64 The ongoing conflict between Northern Wei and Liang witnessed the most ambitious and complex aquatic attack in Chinese history.65 By the end of the sixth century China already had a long history of banking troublesome rivers through incalculable effort. Consequently, though often difficult, it was conceivable that the major rivers could be constrained and their flows exploited as ruthless, relentless weapons. But damming the powerful Huai that had irregularly served over the centuries as the last obstacle between the northern and southern kingdoms bordered on the unimaginable.

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Late in 514 AD Wang Zu, an important Northern Wei general who had recently defected, persuaded the emperor of Liang that the Huai River should be blocked slightly below Zhongli (where they controlled both banks) so as to inundate Shouyang, still resolutely held by Northern Wei despite lying just south of the Huai roughly a hundred miles upstream. Because it was a strongpoint located in a contentious area that could control river movement, Shouyang had suffered – and would frequently suffer – the misfortune of aquatic attack. Shouyang’s vulnerability had been vividly revealed the previous year when heavy rains in the fifth month inundated the city, forcing the populace to flee by boat for a nearby mountain as the water’s level approached the wall’s crenellations.66 Although hydraulic specialists from Liang advised that the riverbed was too sandy and unstable to support the project, they were overruled and some 200,000 men were mobilized for the effort. The first attempt was undertaken with dirt alone by constructing two finger-like embankments designed to meet in midstream outward from the northern and southern banks. As predicted, the southern projection near Mount Fou collapsed shortly after being completed in the fourth month, supposedly because local river creatures of mythical proportions attacked it. Since popular belief held that iron could restrain these water demons, thousands of pounds of iron were forged into unspecified shapes and embedded in the levees. However, they also failed, forcing the aggressors to employ closely packed dry piers to resolve the problem of an unsecured foundation. Empty wooden wells were constructed in place and filled with rocks before earth was piled on top to achieve the desired dimensions. Reportedly all the trees for 50 km around were consumed in framing them. A full year later Liang eventually succeeded in damming the river, creating a barrier some 9 li (4.5 km) in length, major portions of which extended inland to the base of Chanshishan and Foushan, the two mountains slightly north and south of the river itself. The dam averaged an astonishing 1,100 feet wide at the base, tapered to a more moderate but still expansive 370 feet at the top, and had a maximum height of 160 feet, explaining the need to bridge the gap between it and the nearby mountains. Troops were deployed along the entire length and willow trees planted on the top surface. The now blocked waters soon began to accumulate, forming a lake that not only backed up but also flooded several hundred square li of the adjoining countryside. Although collateral actions were fought over nearby targets as well as to seize and destroy the dam, none ever affected the barrier itself and the water level continued to rise until it completely inundated Shouyang which, however, remained visible because of the water’s clarity. Northern Wei’s ruler was about to dispatch a 100,000-man assault force but was dissuaded by advisors who believed that the dam would succumb by itself. Coincidentally, after a Liang command rotation the

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dam’s maintenance began to be neglected and when the river’s volume surged in the ninth month, it collapsed with a thunderclap-like sound reportedly heard for 300 li. The sudden flood surge washed away numerous small downstream communities and drowned some 100,000 people, many of whom were swept into the distant sea. In addition, more than three-quarters of the soldiers and laborers assigned to the project died over the nearly two years required for its construction from illness, unexpectedly severe cold, other miseries, and collateral military action, dramatically increasing the horrendous toll. The subsequent war between Eastern and Western Wei saw a clash unfold at Yingchuan extend from the fourth month of 548 into the fifth month of 549.67 Once again a well-commanded, stalwart force heroically repulsed the virtually continuous onslaughts of vastly superior numbers before finally succumbing to flood waters that, though anticipated and long resisted, could not be deflected. Because the deciding factor proved to be this lengthy aquatic attack when other measures had failed, Yingchuan’s subjugation is among the illustrations found in the subsection on aquatic attacks contained in the seminal Tong Dian and then the Taiping Yulan compiled at the beginning of the Sung dynasty for the emperor’s personal knowledge. Despite the vividness of these lessons, Song commanders mounting a massive steppe campaign with some 300,000 men in 1081 CE against the Xi Xia eventually suffered debilitating losses from flood waters and freezing cold when the Xi Xia broke open embankments along the Yellow River and inundated the Song armies. In contrast, the Ming commander Ye Mengxiong, author of the important military treatise known as the Yunchou Gangmu that contains important theoretical passages on aquatic warfare, successfully utilized flooding during one of the three campaigns mounted during the chaotic reign of the Wanli emperor (reigned 1573–1630 CE) against the rebel stronghold of Ningxia after a stalemate of several months.68 Once again dikes on the Yellow River were broken open,69 flooding the area around the city. Wei Xuehui, another commander, then destroyed additional sections, raising the water level about the city to 8–9 feet and turning the interior into a giant fishpond.70 Amidst feints to tactically manipulate the defenders, government forces launched a broad amphibious assault that targeted ruined portions of the fortifications, defeated the rebels, and recaptured Ningxia.71 However, China’s most devastating aquatic attack unfolded during the chaotic last years of the Ming dynasty when the powerful rebel Li Zicheng flooded Kaifeng, then known as Bianjing.72 After two fruitless assaults, Li undertook a massive siege at the beginning of the fifth month of 1642. However, failing to penetrate the exterior fortifications despite fervent efforts, he then initiated an aquatic attack in the middle of the sixth month designed to inundate the city with water channeled across the alluvial

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plains originating in the Yellow River 10 miles to the north. More than a thousand men were deputed to excavate the required ditch back to Kaifeng, but being slow and only 5 inches deep, the water lacked the force necessary to have any effect on the walls. Nevertheless, it gradually filled the defensive ditch surrounding the city to a depth of more than 3 chang (25 feet), converting it into an impassible lake 4–5 chang across that was said to be worth 100,000 armored soldiers. Severely frustrated, Li alloted some 10,000 soldiers to filling in an access route and then, on the 19th of the eighth month, committed another work force to destroying the embankment on the Yellow River even though somewhat reluctantly, because he feared destroying the city’s valuables and losing the most attractive prisoners, the children. (He was reportedly responding to rumors that, on the assumption that their own reinforced walls would be able to withstand a moderate amount of water, the defenders were attempting to flood Li’s forces by breaking a nearby embankment.) Even before this, Li’s forces had thwarted an effort to re-provision the city via a protected water route down from the Yellow River by exploiting the flooded countryside. However, a Ming contingent apparently succeeded in causing at least a partial breach, and in response, after shifting his forces to higher ground, Li deputed some 40,000 to sunder the embankment at nearby Majiakou. Although some of the soldiers and impressed laborers may have been engaged in building embankments to appropriately constrain the water’s flow, Li’s huge numbers no doubt quickly created a vast gap. Meanwhile, because it was feared that the seasonal water surge normally experienced on the river god’s birthday, the 17th of the ninth month, would prove disastrous if it were vigorous, the defensive commander had a paltry number of boats built. Following several days of torrential rains the much anticipated turbulence finally commenced on the 14th, slightly earlier than prophesized, and the ‘roaring’ waves reached the city walls on the morning of the 15th. Despite fervent efforts to reinforce the gates with earth, the roiling waters quickly smashed through them and so completely swirled through the city that by the morning of the 18th just a few rooftops and high towers remained above water. Only 20,000 among the remnant populace of several hundred thousand survived; the death of all the others simply added to the myriads that had already perished from starvation, disease and combat. Even some 10,000 rebel troops encamped to the north-east of the city drowned, though Li’s other positions were spared. The city was so completely destroyed that Li Zicheng had to move onward in his quest to overthrow the dynasty, an objective successfully achieved but only briefly enjoyed when he captured Beijing in the fourth month of 1644.

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AQUATIC RAM As mentioned in the Wujing Zongyao and in a few of the passages already cited, water can also be used much more dramatically as a ram by breaking an upstream dam. Just as suggested by Sunzi’s analogy, suddenly releasing the pent-up water could create a surge powerful enough to sweep up stones and large debris, including logs, and carry them downstream. These natural additions augmented the ram’s impact, enabling it to batter down earthen fortifications unimproved with stone facings, destroy temporary wooden palisades, and engulf encampments situated along embankments. A variant of the ram was created by damming a river with sandbags but not releasing the temporary reservoir until sufficient water had accumulated, and then only at a tactically advantageous, predetermined moment, such as when enemy’s forces attempted to ford the river. Being a tactic that would only prove effective against commanders who neglected essential reconnaissance measures or could be lured into hurriedly crossing (contrary to numerous admonitions in the military writings from Sunzi onward), it was infrequently practiced across the centuries. However, its effectiveness was well attested during Liu Bang’s protracted struggle to wrest control of the realm and establish the Han dynasty. Deputed to conquer Qi, Han Xin’s hastily assembled, motley force of just 30,000 men had to confront a massive 200,000-man, well-supported Chu army along the Wei River in 203 BCE. Personality conflicts and the Chu commander’s arrogance turned the clash into a vivid episode that was preserved in the Shiji, China’s first synthetic history, and retold in ever more melodramatic fashion thereafter.73 Han Xin first dammed the river upstream and then, exploiting Long Ju’s well-publicized disdain for him, feigned cowardice and a hasty retreat back across the river after initially mounting an early morning amphibious assault with half his army. Oblivious to any possibility of subterfuge, Long ordered his troops across in hot pursuit only to see many of them swept away by a sudden onrush of water when Han Xin had the dam upstream sundered. His now isolated troops on the far shore were then quickly slaughtered, giving Han a major victory. Being a critical event in the Han dynasty’s ascension, the incident was frequently cited in manuals from the Song onward and became indelibly impressed upon the minds of many future military commanders, including Tang Taizong, one of the Tang’s progenitors and its second emperor, who employed an aquatic ram early on. NEGATING WATER RESOURCES Because dehydration can quickly make men confused, incapable of sustained physical activity, and even desperate, Chinese military writers advised seizing

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or severing the enemy’s water supplies at the outset.74 In addition to physically destroying or militarily blocking access, the unscrupulous and those about to undergo siege situations might employ poison, pollution with putrefied materials, and bacterial contamination.75 The first could be implemented by diverting streams, breaking open dikes and dams, destroying water sluices, or even siphoning off ground water with specially dug wells, but the others required preparing and deploying noxious agents. A much-cited example of the efficacy of water deprivation arose in 228 CE during the Three Kingdoms period when the famous strategist Juge Liang launched a northern expedition against the powerful state of Wei.76 Unfortunately, despite his reputed encyclopedic military knowledge, the commander, Ma Su, not only acted imperiously but also contravened fundamental tactical principles by deploying his troops upon isolated high ground rather than along the river as directed. Moreover, he failed to establish strongpoints or construct the palisades needed to control the road and guarantee access to the water below. Zhang Ge, Wei’s field commander, immediately cut them off and overwhelmed the parched troops after a suitable interval.77 Although the dynastic histories reprise a number of similar incidents and the military writers cite several others, without doubt the Tumu incident of 1449 CE furnishes the most dramatic example of being ignominiously vanquished simply because the enemy prevented their adversaries from accessing water. The debacle unfolded during the Ming dynasty’s illconceived attempt to repress still troublesome Mongolian forces in the contiguous steppe region.78 Not only did imperial forces suffer devastating losses, but the battle’s outcome radically altered the political situation, temporarily resulted in two Chinese Emperors, spawned strident factionalism, and ultimately compelled increased reliance upon static defenses. Zhu Yuanzhang, the founding emperor, had initially sought to conquer the plateau and integrate its peoples within a traditional hierarchy of manifest relationships. However, despite some early success, when his massive campaigns failed to quash the mobile, highly motivated Mongols who generally avoided fatal confrontations,79 the Ming’s aggressive steppe policy deteriorated into a highly enervated defensive stance over the next century. Zhu Ti, the Yunglo Emperor, subsequently adopted the inconsistent policy of abandoning external strongpoints to mount deep expeditionary campaigns while yet relying upon static defenses augmented by the forward presence of unreliable Mongolian allies. The five massive efforts mounted under his personal leadership occasionally scored impressive victories, but overall the results were barely indeterminate despite severely depleting China’s fiscal and military resources. The last two campaigns, undertaken with vastly reduced, more mobile forces in 1423 and 1424 CE, not only proved ineffectual, but saw the emperor perish as well.

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Reports of Oirat advances under the charismatic Esen in 1449 CE prompted an ill-conceived, blundering response under the nominal command of the inexperienced Emperor Yingzong upon the urging of the powerful Wang Zhen. One of Esen’s four columns, which targeted the bastion at Datong, had sought to lure a Ming response while collateral strikes were made into Liaodong and Gansu and the main thrust targeted the citadel at Xuanfu. Within a few days the weak frontier defenses were penetrated and a major victory achieved north of Xuanfu on 7/15 that drove the local defenders westward to Datong. The ill-prepared Ming troops, nominally 500,000, coincidentally departed the same day for Datong via Xuanfu. Caught by several days of rain, they ran short of supplies and quickly became dispirited after encountering vestiges of the carnage at Xuanfu on the 28th. When they arrived at Datong on 8/1 and learned the extent of Oirat power, the now terrified Wang Zhen decided to abandon the campaign despite their vastly superior numbers. Unfortunately, Wang’s vacillation not only crippled the army’s confidence, but also prompted Esen to shift to the offensive. Reportedly to avoid imperiling his own estates, Wang shortsightedly insisted that they retrace their outward trek even though its northerly arc increased their exposure to sudden enemy attack. The first blow, which slaughtered a detached Ming unit, was followed by the ambush of a strong relief contingent. Rather than ensconcing the emperor in a nearby fortified town, Wang surprisingly encamped the army on an exposed, waterless height at Tumu where they were soon fatally surrounded since they lacked the determination to break out. Despite warnings against enemy perfidy in all the military writings from Sunzi onward, Esen’s feigned peace overtures (reinforced by a highly visible but minor withdrawal) unleashed a stampede toward the nearby river by the Ming’s parched troops. Some 20,000 Mongolian cavalry quickly exploited their disorder to wreak havoc, inflict 70,000 casualties, slay untold senior commanders, and capture the emperor. Severing water supplies being a laborious, time-consuming and often dangerous process, the far more easily accomplished method of poisoning quickly came to be the means of choice.80 The Battle of Yulin in 559 BCE, which ostensibly arose in reprisal for a two-pronged Qin army having severely defeated a negligent Jin commander in 562 BCE, marks the first recorded instance in Chinese military history.81 Although Jin managed to coerce a mélange of major and minor states into undertaking an expeditionary campaign against Qin in 559 BCE, disaffection plagued the coalition’s twelve feudal lords. Once they crossed the Jing River and encamped along the banks, ‘Qin’s forces poisoned the river upstream, killing many of the soldiers.’ In addition to inflicting numerous casualties and instilling fear, this unexpected development significantly augmented the friction besetting the coalition commanders. Shirking further action,

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they simply withdrew, earning the campaign a lasting reputation for having been hesitant and tarrying. Numerous other clashes turned upon the use of poison, including Changsun Sheng’s campaign against the Western Turks early in the Sui dynasty,82 Lu Qi’s famous defense of Shunchang against the Jurchens in 1140 CE, and even the Jurchen’s 108-day siege of Dean in 1206–07 CE.83 In view of the combined casualties and consternation, military writers from the Tang dynasty onward naturally emphasized securing adequate water resources, suggested methods for locating them on difficult terrain, and provided instructions for detecting and avoiding poison. NOTES 1 2

‘Maneuvering the Army.’ In his Cuiwei Beizhenglu, Hua Yue bemoaned the Song’s failure to fully employ the rivers, ‘natural obstacles provided by Heaven’, as barriers as effectively as in the past. (See ‘Jin She’ or ‘Preventing Crossings.’) In the West the English Channel, and the Rhine and other great rivers long played a deterrent role, both in terms of strategic conception and operational art. 3 For example, the famous Banpo cultural site of Jiangzhai near Xian is situated atop a low plateau that is defined by the two rivers flowing about it on three sides. (For a recent discussion of the site see Bi 2008.) 4 Important site reports for Banpo include Qian 1998 and 1999. 5 A second, much smaller semi-circular interior ditch with an average depth of 1.5 m whose width varies between 1.4 m and 2.9 m at the top and between 0.45 m and 0.84 m at the base segregates a third of the settlement. Vestiges of a third ditch lie some 10 m outside the main one and may also have furnished dirt for erecting the inner wall (see Zhang 1999). 6 Key site reports include Hunansheng 1993, 1999; Zhang 1994; Pei 2004. 7 Located in Henan along the middle reaches of the Yellow River, the fortifications outline a slightly distorted square with rounded corners. The four 185 m long walls retain a height of between 3 m and 3.5 m, and a width tapering from 13 m at the base to between 8 m and 10 m at the top (see Henansheng and Zhoukou 1983; Ren 1998). According to radio-carbon dating, it was probably constructed somewhere between 2370 and 1975 BCE. 8 Jingzhoushi et al. 1998. Standing roughly 4–5 m high over the interior platform and a formidable 7–8 m above the surrounding countryside, the walls run between 20 m and 27 m wide. 9 The best site report to date is Jingzhou and Mai 1998. 10 The earth removed from the 25–30 m wide, 4.5 m deep moat at the slightly smaller Dawenkou site of Yuchisi in Anhui, a compressed circle or oval roughly 150 m by somewhat under 200 m, has been calculated at 60,000 m3. As the habitable area was considerably smaller, the population would have been correspondingly less and the labor burden comparatively greater. (For a site report see Zhongguo Kexueyuan Kaogu Yenjiusuo, Mengcheng Yuchisi.)

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11 ‘Shoucheng Ju.’ In ‘The Unorthodox Army’ the Liutao simply states ‘deep moats, high ramparts, and large reserves of supplies are the means by which to sustain your position for a long time.’ (Also see the Liutao’s ‘The Army’s Indications.’) All translations in the text and notes are by the author. 12 Extensive discussion of the evolution of city fortifications in China may be found in the subsection on ‘Neolithic Fortifications’ in Sawyer 2010. 13 For example, the Toubi Futan, ‘Da Shu’. advises that accumulating water in moats is the way to rescue the army’s impoverishment. 14 See, for example, Shoucheng Jiuming Shu. This sentiment was expressed in the classic military writings and even in the Yi Zhoushu, ‘Daming Wu’. 15 In ‘Kaijie’. 16 Zuo Zhuan, Zhuang Gong, 9th year. 17 ‘Sun Quan Juan’, Wu Shu (Sanguo Zhi). The impact of such thinking is coincidentally revealed by the plight of Shi Bao, whose loyalty came into question in 268 CE when he reinforced his fortifications and diverted the river to augment his defenses at Huainan. (See Zizhi Tongjian, Jin Ji 1, ‘Taishi’ 4.) 18 King Xian, 10th year. 19 ‘Gaozu Benji’, Shi Ji. 20 For example, Tang forces in 923 CE (Zizhi Tongjian, Hou Tang Ji 1, ‘Tongguang’ 1). 21 Such as Yongping in 1362 (Xu Zizhi Tongjian, 1362 CE). 22 ‘Dong Zhuo Liezhuan’, Wei Shu (Sanguo Zhi). The incident is also cited in the Tong Dian, ‘Shui Gong’, Wujing Zongyao, ‘Yongshui Wudi’, and Wu Bian, ‘Du Shui’.’ Early in the fourth century CE Jin thwarted a potential invasion by Zhao by blocking the Du River to create a large watery expanse (Zizhi Tongjian, Jin Ji 15, ‘Xianho’ 1, 326 CE.). 23 Just as the the Zhi River did in 23 CE when it overflowed following torrential rains. Coming at the end of Wang Mang’s dynasty, just after his pivotal reversal at Kunyang, the drowning of more than 10,000 soldiers proved a crushing blow to his already disorganized and crumbling field army (see Zizhi Tongjian, Han Ji 31). 24 ‘Strategic Military Power’. In ‘Qi Fa’, the Guanzi likens the army’s power to a flood. 25 ‘Incendiary Warfare.’ Virtually every subsequent military text cites this assertion. 26 Military Methods, 16, ‘Ten Deployments’. 27 Chapter 78 of the traditionally received text, translated per Wang Zhen’s understanding. (For a complete translation and further discussion, see Sawyer 2002.) Sun Bin’s Bingfa and the Dao De Jing were probably composed about the same time, the middle to late fourth century BCE. 28 ‘Martial Plans.’ (A translation of the complete Wei Liaozi together with historical introduction and commentary may be found in Sawyer 1993.) 29 From the Warring States onward the voluminous Chinese military writings are essentially continuous, new works invariably incorporating and reinvigorating essential materials from previous texts despite changes in battlefield equipment and tactics. 30 For example, Wang Teng was captured in 356 CE when rain severely damaged his fortified walls (Zizhi Tongjian, Jin Ji 22). In 618 CE, although recently defeated, the rebellious Zhu Can regrouped before vanquishing the

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overconfident Tang commander Ma Yuangui at Nanyang by exploiting the collapse of the walls brought on by heavy rains (Zizhi Tongjian, Tang Ji 1). Another of China’s definitive historical battles, now immortalized as a movie, the clash at Chi Bi saw Cao Cao’s vastly superior naval force destroyed by an incendiary attack. (For a discussion, see Sawyer 2004: 55–9.) Numerous historical examples are known, including Yu Jin’s defeat at Fancheng early in the Three Kingdoms period. For example, Sunzi, ‘Maneuvering the Army’; Sun Bin, ‘The Questions of King Wei’; Liu-t’ao, ‘Battle Chariots’; Huqian Jing, ‘Contrary Employment of Terrain Configurations’ and ‘Liao Shui’; One Hundred Unorthodox Strategies, ‘Marshes in Warfare’; and Caolu Jinglue, ‘Li Ying.’ The late Song Cuiwei Beizhenglu, in a chapter devoted to discerning gaps in the enemy, advised attacking troops caught in floods, particularly if the men and horses have suffered casualties, or encamping on low-lying terrain during the wet season, especially if the troops have cast aside their armor. (‘Guan Xin’ or ‘Observing Rifts.’) (It should be noted that Chinese military science emphasizes the role of spirit in battle.) ‘The Tao of the General.’ ‘Unorthodox Army,’ Liutao. Similar thinking underlay the Chinese attempt to block the Japanese advance in World War Two by sundering the dikes on the Yellow River and flooding the countryside, resulting in widespread misery and devastation. The Fangshou Jicheng (‘Yin Zheng’) contains an example of a commander using flags to shape the battlefield before breaking embankments open to flood the enemy. At the end of the Tang, government forces were cut off when the Bian River was used to flood the terrain (Zizhi Tongjian, Tang Ji 67, ‘Xiantong’ 9, 868 CE.) ‘Enmiring Terrain’, one of Art of War’s fundamental categories, is extensively discussed by such subsequent military writings as the Liutao. Huqian Jing, ‘Contrary Employment of Configurations of Terrain’. This is the geopolitical situation underlying the Art of War’s basic vision of warfare as the ‘greatest affair of state’. In ‘Planning Offensives’ Sunzi basically condemned massive assaults on fortified positions as the stupidest of tactics, though he recognized that there might be no alternative. Wujing Zongyao, ‘Shuigong’. Zuo Zhuan, Zhao Gong, 30th year. The episode is found in the records for both Zhao and Wei in the Zhanguo Ce, as well as in various forms in the Shi Ji (Han, Zhao, and Wei Shijia), the Huainanzi (‘Qian Xun’), Shuo Yuan (‘Quan Mou’ and ‘Jian Ben’), and other parts of the Han Feizi (‘Shuo Lin, Shang’, ‘Nan San’ and ‘Shi Guo’). It ranks among the most famous Warring States stories, well known throughout the centuries, and many military writings cite it as an example of aquatic attack. Two persuasions preserved in the Zhanguo Ce confirm that the power of flooding had become widely recognized in the Warring States period (see ‘Qin Ce’, 1 and ‘Wei Ce’, 3). Zizhi Tongjian, Qin Ji 2, ‘Shi Huangdi’ 20, 225 BCE. ‘Han Gaozu Benji’, Shi Ji; Zizhi Tongjian, Han Ji 1, ‘Gaodi’ 2nd year; also cited in Bingchou Leiyao (‘Jue Shui’), among others.

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47 Zizhi Tongjian, Han Ji 8, ‘Ching Di’, qian 1. 48 For example, the great general Cao Cao resorted to an aquatic assault against the powerful Lu Pu in 198 CE, diverting two small rivers onto the city of Xiapi. (Zizhi Tongjian, Han Ji, 5. This attack is also cited in the Bingchou Leiyao’s ‘Jue Shui’ and the Tong Dian’s ‘Shui Gong’.) 49 ‘Vacuity and Substance.’ This downward tendency is noted in such subsequent texts as the Toubi Futan (‘Wu Lue’), as well as several military chapters in the Yi Zhoushu. 50 ‘Agricultural Implements.’ 51 For an extensive discussion of China’s hydraulic engineering practices, see Needham 1971. 52 ‘Offices, I.’ 53 The designs and descriptions found in Liu Quan’s Taibai Yinjing chapter entitled ‘Shuigongju’ (‘Equipment for Aquatic Attack’) were adopted by the Song dynasty and all subsequent military manuals, including the Huqian Jing, Wujing Zongyao, Bing Jing, Wubei Zhi, Dengtan Bizhou and Wu Bian. (The theodolite is also discussed by Needham 1959: 569ff.) 54 The one titled ‘Aquatic Attacks’ merely incorporates the Taibai Yinjing’s passages on the water level. 55 ‘Advantages of Water.’ 56 Despite its having a significant place in the theoretical corpus, few attempts were made to adversely impact the enemy through ‘theft of water’, perhaps because it could only be accomplished by blocking, diverting or draining the water off. 57 The complete passage, here abridged, is repeated in the Bing Jing’s ‘Gong Shou’. 58 The actual sentence in ‘Vacuity and Substance’ concludes more simply: ‘Water configures its flow in accord with the terrain.’ 59 ‘Jue Shui’ (‘Breaking Open Rivers’), Bingchou Leiyao. 60 See ‘Sheng Yun’ and ‘De Di’ in the Cuiwei Beizhenglu (compiled in 1207 CE). 61 ‘Aquatic Warfare’, Yunchou Gangmu. 62 The Wubei Zhi includes three sections encompassing every aspect of water ranging from aquatic attacks to boats, rivers, and riverine warfare. 63 For example, see ‘Shou’, Wu Bian. 64 For further examples and discussion, see Sawyer 2004. 65 Zizhi Tongjian, Liang Ji 3 and 4, 514–16 CE. 66 Zizhi Tongjian, Liang Ji 3, 513 CE. In 525 Shou-yang would be so badly devastated by flooding that a major effort was required to attract the widely dispersed populace and rebuild it. 67 A synthesized account is contained in the Zizhi Tongjian (Liang Ji 17 and 18, Wudi Taiching 2nd and 3rd years), and the major events in the biographies of the various participants in the Zhou Shu. The Tang dynasty Tong Dian account of the siege in juan 161 preserves a few additional points, and it is cited as an illustration in the Wu Bian’s ‘Shou’ and the Bingchou Leiyao’s ‘Jue Shui’. Fragments also appear in sections 318, 321 and 328 of the Taiping Yulan. Benjamin Wallacker has also reconstructed the siege and discussed the textual basis (Wallacker 1971). 68 The conflict began in the second month of 1592 when the local military commander, Li Dongyang, and his contingent of troops, dissatisfied with

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their lack of payment and the conditions on the border, revolted. Several Ming Shi biographies record aspects of the conflict, including juan 228 (Wei Xuehui and Ye Mengxiong), 238 (Ma Gui, Li Rusung), 239 (Xiao Ruxun and Dong Yiyuan) and 20 (‘Shenzong Benji, 1’), while battlefield reports are contained in Ming Shilue Leicuan. The three campaigns are also discussed in Mote and Twitchett 1988: 563–7. The highly conducive terrain was well known for its sluices and ditches (see Ming Shi, juan 93, ‘Bing Zhi, 4’). See Wei’s report for jiwei, ninth month, Ming Shilu Leicuan, p. 674. The various steppe peoples, including the Mongols and Jurchen, similarly adopted many forms of aquatic attack, often employing them against each other as well as against imperial China. An eyewitness chronicle penned by Li Guangdian, who apparently exercised a command role in Kaifeng’s defense, entitled ‘Jielu Shoubian Erchi’ may be conveniently found in Zhu Lu’s 1853 compendia on city defense entitled Fangshou Jicheng, as well as in the Siku Quanshu. The siege and its historical context are also briefly discussed in the Zhongguo Lidai Zhanzhengshi, vol. 14, Mingdai,, and Gao Mingheng and Li Zicheng’s Ming Shi biographies, juan 267 and 309 respectively, provide additional information. Found first in Han Xin’s biography, ‘The Marquis of Huaiyin’, in the Shih Ji, it is also reprised in the Zizhi Tongjian (Han Ji 2, 203 BCE) and cited in numerous military manuals, including the Tong Dian, ‘Shui Gong’; Wujing Zongyao, ‘Yongshui Wudi’; Hundred Unorthodox Strategies, ‘Rivers’; Juesheng Gangmu, ‘Shui Zhan’; Wu Bian, ‘Du Shui’; Yunchou Gangmu, ‘Jugao Zongshui’; Huqian Jing, ‘Analyzing Rivers’; and Wubei Zhi, ‘Ji Shui.’ (For further examples, see Sawyer 2004: 308–14.) The Sung dynasty Huqian Jing counseled, ‘When you want to seize the enemy’s strength, first seize their water supply’ (‘Liao Shui’), and the Cuiwei Beizhenglu stressed denying water and provisions to the enemy. In accord with their general emphasis upon denying aggressors any materials of possible utility, the Mohists consciously targeted water supplies for elimination. For example, Ye Mengxiong includes it in his Yunchou Gangmu. It was known that mountain forces could easily become isolated, cut off from supplies, and deprived of water, and thereby forced into submission. Thus the Six Secret Teachings (Liutao) conceded ‘whenever the Three Armies occupy the heights of a mountain, they are trapped on high by the enemy’ (‘Crow and Cloud Formation in the Mountains’). The Huqian Jing similarly pointed out that forces encamped on high, dry terrain without the advantages of springs and water could be waited out until their troops and horses became weak from thirst (‘Evaluating Enemy Encampments’). The incident is extensively discussed in all the secondary military histories, Mote 1974, and Mote and Twitchett 1988. Severely harassed Ming expeditionary armies achieved victory only when unexpectedly arriving on target, exploiting confined quarters, profiting from inclement weather, or striking groups encumbered with baggage or herds. See, for example, ‘Chu Qi’ and ‘Use Poison to Defeat the Enemy’ in Ye Mengxiong’s Yunchou Gangmu.

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81 Zuo Zhuan, Duke Hsiang, 14th year. The battle numbers among the few examples included in Du You’s Tong Dian (juan 161, ‘Bing’ 14) under the rubric ‘yin ji she quan’ or ‘in accord with the subtle crux establish a tactical imbalance power’. It is also cited by Tang Shun in his very brief, two-item section on poison (‘Du’) in the Wu Bian. 82 Changsun Sheng’s biography appears in juan 22 of the Bei Shi. (Sheng employed poison preliminary to a decimating attack.) 83 These campaigns are all extensively discussed in Sawyer 2004.

REFERENCES Bi Shuoben et al. 2008. Jiyu Kongqian Fenxi Fangfa de Jiangzhai Shiqian Juluo Kaogu Yenjiu, Kaogu yu Wenwu 1: 9–17. Hunansheng Wenwu Kaogu Yenjiusuo. 1993. Lixian Chengtoushan Qujialing Wenhua Chengzhi Diaocha yu Shizhuo, Wenwu 12: 19–30. Hunansheng Wenwu Kaogu Yenjiusuo. 1999. Fengxian Chengtoushan Guchengzhi 1997–1998-niandu Fajue Jianbao, Wenwu 6: 4–17. Henansheng Wenwu Yenjiusuo and Zhoukou Diqu Wenhuaju Wenwuke. 1983. Henan Huaiyang Pingliangtai Longshan Wenhua Chengzhi Shizhuo Jianbao, Wenwu 3: 21–36. Jingzhou Bowuguan. 1997. Hubei Jingzhoushi Yinxiangcheng Yizhi Dongqiang Fajue Jianbao, Kaogu 5: 1–24. Jingzhou Bowuguan and Mai Hanqing. 1998. Hubei Gongan Jimingcheng Yizhi de Diaocha, Wenwu 6: 25–9. Jingzhoushi Bowuguan et al. 1998. Hubei Shishoushi Zuomaling Xinshiqii Shidai Yizhi Fajue Jianbao, Kaogu 4: 16–38. Mote, Frederick W. 1974. The T’u-mu Incident of 1449, in Frank A. Kierman, Jr (ed.), Chinese Ways of Warfare, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press: 242–72. Mote, Frederick W. and Denis Twitchett (eds). 1988. Cambridge History of China: The Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Part I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Needham, Joseph. 1959. Science and Civilisation in China: Vol. III, Mathematics and the Methods and Sciences of the Heavens and the Earth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Needham, Joseph. 1971. Science and Civilisation in China: Vol. IV, Part 3, Civil Engineering and Nautics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pei Anping. 2004, Liyang Pingyuan Shiqian Juluo Xingtai de Tedian yu Yenbian, Kaogu 11: 69–70. Qian Yaopeng. 1998. Guanyu Banpo Yizhi de Huanhao yu Xiaosuo, Kaogu 2: 45–52. Qian Yaopeng. 1999. Guanyu Banpo Juluo ji qi Xingtai Yanbian de Kaocha, Kaogu 6: 69–77. Ren Shinan. 1998. Zhongguo Shiqian Chengzhi Kaocha, Kaogu 1: 2. Sawyer, Ralph. 1993. Seven Military Classics of Ancient China. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Sawyer, Ralph. 2002. The Tao of War. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Sawyer, Ralph. 2004. Fire and Water: The Art of Incendiary and Aquatic Warfare in China. Oxford and Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

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Sawyer, Ralph. 2010. Ancient Chinese Warfare. New York: Basic. Wallacker, Benjamin. 1971. Studies in Medieval Chinese Siegecraft: The Siege of Ying-ch’uan, AD 548–549, Journal of Asian Studies 30/3 (May): 611–22. Zhang Xuehai. 1999. Cheng Qiyuan de Zhongyao Tupo, Kaogu yu Wenwu 1: 36–43. Zhang Xuqiu. 1994. Qujialing Wenhua de Faxian he Chubu Yenjiu, Kaogu 7: 630–1.

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Water in Medieval Warfare

Helen J. Nicholson

INTRODUCTION In a volume about the role of water in human society, the importance of water to human life requires little comment. Throughout human history, the need for a reliable supply of clean water has led to conflict between populations. In regions where water is short at certain times of year, springs and rivers are ‘important strategic assets’ (Pringle 2001: 240). Water is not only required for drinking and washing, but also as a source of energy – in the medieval period it was a vital source of power for mills – as a means of transport and as the living environment for vital foodstuffs such as fish. Medieval warfare, however, is more difficult to define. In the period between the fall of the western Roman empire and the European Renaissance – that is, roughly the period 500–1500 – ‘war’ could be conflict on vastly differing scales, from battles between rulers of large territories involving thousands of warriors, to hostilities between war-bands of a dozen men. For the purposes of this article, ‘war’ is defined broadly as ‘hostile contention by means of armed forces’ (to use the definition in the Oxford English Dictionary), and means any form of ongoing armed violence between bands of combatants. WATER AND THE ARENA OF WAR Water has played various roles in warfare. Rivers, lakes and seas have been used by humans to mark frontiers, so that the crossing of such bodies of war became a declaration of war: most famously in the case of Gaius Julius Caesar crossing the River Rubicon with his army in 49 BCE, thereby declaring war on the Roman Republic. These were representative boundaries, however, not impregnable fortifications – as Caesar demonstrated, rivers can be forded. On the other hand, there was an element of risk in crossing them. In June 1190, the campaign of the Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, who was leading a great German

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crusading army to Palestine on the Third Crusade, came to a sudden halt when the emperor drowned while crossing the River Göksu in Cilician Armenia (Nicholson 1997: 64–6). Although his army continued under the command of his son Duke Frederick of Swabia, it broke up on reaching Antioch (now Antakya in Turkey), and had little impact on the crusade. So a body of water could at least act as a deterrent to an aggressor and delay attack for a period of time. Water can act as a means of transport for armies, as in the ninth century the Vikings used the Rivers Seine and Loire as roads for their ship-borne armies into the centre of France (Gillmor 1988). Some scholars have argued that Charlemagne’s failed scheme in 793 to link the Rivers Danube and Main by a canal was intended to enable his army to travel more easily to wage wars against the Avars of central Europe, although it has also been suggested that the primary aim of the planned construction was to demonstrate Charlemagne’s authority and power: the area where the canal was to be dug had only recently come under his authority, so this work of civil engineering, carried out by the local peasants, impressed on them the power of their new overlord (Squatriti 2002). In Prussia, Livonia and Lithuania in the thirteenth to the fifteenth century, the period of the ‘Baltic Crusades’, armies on campaign in the winter months used the frozen rivers as roads (Christiansen 1997: 170–1). Until modern times travel by water was often quicker and more secure than travel by land, when wind, tides and currents were in the traveller’s favour. However, when they were not, long delays could occur. William of Normandy was delayed for almost three months with his army on the north French coast in the summer of 1066, waiting for favourable winds to allow him to invade England (Bates 2004), while the contemporary commentator Jean Froissart recorded that in 1372 an English fleet which set out from Southampton to relieve the English forces in France encountered such contrary winds during the following nine weeks that it was unable to reach a French port (Jean Froissart 1993: 223–4). In 1203 King John of England used a combined land and river force to relieve Château Gaillard, under siege from the forces of King Philip II of France, but miscalculated how long it would take to row the boats up the tidal river to the castle, with disastrous results (Warren 1961: 87). John again misjudged the power of water in October 1216, when his baggage train was cut off by the tide while his army was crossing the river estuaries on the shores of the Wash, and the royal treasure was lost (Warren 1961: 254). The influence of wind, tides and currents was particularly marked in the Mediterranean Sea. It has been argued that during the period of the crusades, from the late eleventh to the early fourteenth century, the Egyptian fleet was unable to counter the fleets from the northern Mediterranean coast, such as those of Genoa, Pisa and Venice, because the currents worked against those sailing from the south-east Mediterranean

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and in favour of those sailing from the north-west. Nevertheless, during his rule of Egypt, Saladin (d. 1193) built up a fleet which dominated the eastern Mediterranean as well as the Red Sea. It played an important role in his conquest of most of Syria and Palestine in the late 1180s, and severely hampered the attempts of western European Christians to reestablish their presence in the region during the Third Crusade (Rose 2002: 34–41). Although Saladin’s successors in Egypt placed less value upon the fleet, its operations continued to have a devastating effect upon crusader morale. Perhaps the most strategically important action of the Egyptian fleet came in 1302, when Sultan al-Malik al-Nasir Nasir al-Din Mohammad (d. 1341), son of Qalawun, sent a fleet to the island of Tortosa in Syria, Arwad (known as Ruad to the crusaders), which was being used as a military base by the Knights Templar. The Egyptians captured the island and took the Templars prisoner or killed them (Abu’l-Fida’ 1983: 40). This was a serious blow to plans by the king of Cyprus and western Europeans for a new expedition to recover the former ‘crusader’ territories in Syria and Palestine, and effectively ended any prospect of a crusade against the Muslims of Egypt in the near future. It is clear, then, that the currents and winds of the eastern Mediterranean were not a major barrier to Egyptian naval power; the importance of the fleet depended more on whether military leaders wished to invest in naval power. Naval conflict, in which water itself provides the battlefield, played a significant role in medieval warfare, although far less organised and far less differentiated from land warfare than in the modern day (Rose 2002; Nicholson 2004: 155–60). Medieval armies who fought on board ship did so in a very similar manner to those who fought on land, for the level of ship-building technology did not permit great manoeuvrability at sea. For example, when King Magnús of Norway and Denmark fought Earl Svein, a claimant to the throne of Denmark, at Aarhus in 1044, Svein had his ships lashed together to form a fighting platform, while King Magnús’s ships attacked. The battle raged on the ships until all of Svein’s men had been captured, killed, or had jumped into the sea and swum for safety (Rodgers 1967: 81). In 896 King Alfred of Wessex built a fleet to intercept and combat the ships of the Vikings, who were raiding his coasts. In their first engagement, Alfred’s ships attempted a tactical manoeuvre, blocking the Viking ships into an estuary, but Alfred’s ships ran aground and most of the Viking ships got away. A battle on the sand ensued between the English and the remaining Vikings, until the tide came in, when the latter managed to float their ships and escape (Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1965: 57–8). However, as the technology of shipbuilding developed and ships became more manoeuvrable, there were some instances of naval commanders exploiting the particular opportunities offered by fighting at sea. John Pryor has argued that Roger de Lauria, admiral of Aragon, made exceptionally effective use of naval tactics between 1283 and 1300, during the War of the Sicilian Vespers. At the Grand Harbour of Malta in 1283 he cabled his ships

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Figure 1. The siege of Damietta during the Fifth Crusade (1219) from Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora: CCC MS 16, fol. 59v. © The Master and Fellows of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

together so that they could still use their oars but enemy ships could not pass between them, challenged his opponents to come out into deep water, waited for them to run out of ammunition, and then attacked. His opponents were surrounded by the cabled ships, and were captured or killed (Pryor 1983: 179–89). This said, medieval commentators continued to depict naval warfare as if it were warfare on land. For example, the fifteenth-century biographer of the famous warrior Boucicaut described his naval battle against four Muslim galleys off the coast of Provence in September 1408 as if he were conducting a campaign on dry land. Boucicaut set out on his road (‘son chemin’), made an assault and pursued the fleeing enemy. The main difference was that rather than the dead being left lying on the battlefield, the following day the sea washed them up on the land (Boucicaut 1985: 379–80). Moving away from great campaigns to the level of the individual, water can cause disaster to unwary combatants. Bishop Thietmar of Merseburg (d. 1018) recorded an occasion when a warrior known as ‘wild Tommo’ was fighting an enemy force on the banks of the River Spree, slipped on the wet rocks and was fatally wounded. On another occasion, a fighting cleric named Walter Pulverel fell into a pond and was killed. Thietmar also noted the high mortality in one expedition when the German army, going to

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attack the Danes, was swept away in a flooded river (Thietmar of Merseburg 2001: 108, 248, 351). The commentator and historian Jean Froissart recounted how the famous knight John Chandos was killed in battle in 1370 when he dismounted from his horse to help one of his squires who had been thrown from his horse. As it had rained that morning, his feet slipped from under him, and he fell, at which one of the French squires hurled a lance at him, inflicting a fatal wound (Jean Froissart 1993: 74). In these cases, the impact of water on warfare was purely fortuitous, but water can also be exploited proactively as an instrument of war. WATER AS AN INSTRUMENT OF WAR A significant use of water as an instrument of war has been in manipulation of access to water and of water supplies. Armies require good supplies of water. Horses especially require generous supplies of water, although it is possible to train cavalry horses to require less water, just as the Australian cavalry were trained when they campaigned in the Middle East during World War One (Gilbert 1928: 80–1). As the cavalry was the most prestigious section of a medieval army, and the most valuable part of a military force in areas where warfare was carried on through raiding, the need to ensure an adequate supply of water for horses had to be a constant concern of commanders. Medieval armies travelling by sea also had to make water supplies their first concern: John Pryor has underlined the logistical problems this imposed upon them (Pryor 2001). In regions where water is short, a skilful general can force enemy forces into a position where shortage of water overcomes them rather than military force. For example, on 4 July 1187 at the battle of Hattin in the socalled crusader kingdom of Jerusalem, the lack of a sufficient water supply for a large army and its horses left the forces of King Guy of Jerusalem, en route to Tiberias to engage the forces of Saladin, so weakened that they were easily defeated by Saladin’s troops (Smail 1982; Edbury 1996: 45). Although on that occasion Saladin had only made intelligent use of natural conditions, in later years the western Europeans who travelled to Palestine to take part in the Third Crusade accused him of deliberately interfering with water supplies. The Third Crusade began in August 1189 with the crusaders’ siege of the city of Acre, which Saladin had captured on 9 July 1187. After a battle between the crusader army and Saladin’s forces on 4 October 1189, in which the crusaders were heavily defeated, ‘Saladin ordered the Christian corpses to be collected together and thrown into a nearby river’. One contemporary eyewitness recorded that his intention was to cause such a terrible smell from the decaying bodies that the crusader army would have to withdraw; another wrote that ‘his intention was that they would be carried downstream by the current, striking fear into those who saw them,

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Figure 2. A well-defended fortress: the Tower of London, with the Thames flowing on three sides of the castle, from Poems of Charles, Duke of Orleans (c. 1500), British Library MS Royal 16 F. II, fol.73. © All Rights Reserved. The British Library Board. Licence Number: CARSCH01.

and as they rotted they would pollute the water’ (Ambroise 2003: lines 3,082–8; Nicholson 1997: 81). Poisoning the water supply was certainly an obvious action against an enemy, and any potential enemy could be suspected of it. In early spring 1155 the emperor Frederick Barbarossa was besieging the Italian city of Tortona. As an attempt to mine the city’s main defensive tower was defeated by the city dwellers, the emperor had ‘the rotting and putrid corpses of men and beasts’ thrown into the spring outside the city defences which provided the city’s drinking water. When this failed to make the water undrinkable, ‘burning torches, with flames of sulphur and

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pitch’ were thrown into the spring to poison the water. This was successful, and as a result the city people sued for peace (Otto of Freising 1994: 136–7). In 1321 a rumour spread through France that the lepers had poisoned all the rivers, springs and wells of France so that everyone who drank the water would become lepers or die; their alleged aim being to take over France. Although no one was ever recorded to have died as a result of drinking this allegedly poisoned water, the rumour caused wide panic in France (Barber 1981). In 1189–91 the crusaders apparently believed that Saladin’s forces would go to enormous lengths to deprive them of water. The Christian army moved south from Acre in the early autumn of 1191, when many of the region’s riverbeds were dry and it was necessary to dig down for some distance to find fresh water. Some crusaders reported that this was because Saladin’s troops had deliberately covered over the river. Although this was not the case, the crusaders’ fears worked in Saladin’s favour. A major reason behind the decision of King Richard I of England, commander-in-chief of the crusade, not to advance against Jerusalem in the summer of 1192 was that he could not guarantee water supplies for his army (Ambroise 2003: lines 6,034–8, 10,160–70, 10,605–23; Nicholson 1997: 243, 335, 344; Pringle 2001). Just as the lack of water can be exploited by a skilful general, so can its surplus. Rain and snow are weapons to the commander who has the patience or the means to wait until the enemy is overcome by the natural climate. During the Third Crusade, the bad winter weather undermined morale among the crusaders: in December 1191 the army was forced to abandon its winter camp between Lydda and Ramla because of the pouring rain (Ambroise 2003: lines 7458–62; Nicholson 1997: 275). During the march towards Jerusalem which followed, ‘very violent rain poured down on us … horses died because it was so cold and wet, and much of the food was ruined … most of the mailshirts and armour were covered in rust … clothes disintegrated’ (Ambroise 2003: lines 7619–7633; Nicholson 1997: 278). Later that winter the Muslim garrison of Jerusalem also suffered from the weather: ‘first they were crushed by heavy falls of snow and hail and then, when this melted, floods of water washed down from the mountains and swept away masses of their horses and pack animals, while the rest died in the bitter cold’ (Ambroise 2003, lines 7,787–90; Nicholson 1997: 284). The crusaders marching back to the coast also suffered as ‘their horses and pack animals were so weakened by the bitter cold and icy downpours’ that they collapsed and died (Ambroise 2003: lines 7,806–12; Nicholson 1997: 284). At the other end of Christendom, the Scots also made use of the weather to undermine their enemy’s morale before attack. The chronicler Jean le Bel explained that, when he and the Hainaulters who formed part of the English army were going to attack the Scots in summer 1327, the army ended up camping in the open air with nothing to drink but river water and without their food or equipment, exhausted by the heat, and

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shortly afterwards soaked to the skin by the rain. Food became so short that when merchants brought food to sell to the army fights broke out between the starving men; meanwhile it continued to rain, so that the horses’ harnesses rotted on their backs and the horses developed sores (Jean le Bel 1904: 48–77). All this time, the Scottish army refused to engage in battle, and eventually the English army was forced to withdraw. All these instances involved the witting or unwitting exploitation of natural conditions, but generals could also make more proactive use of water. In 1218, the forces of the Fifth Crusade attacked the Egyptian port of Damietta, which they captured late in 1219. In July 1221 they proceeded with their conquest of Egypt and moved up the Nile to besiege the town of Mansurah. They set up camp between the Nile and one of its canals, just as the annual flooding of the Nile began. Al-Kamil, the Ayyubid sultan of Egypt, ordered the sluice gates of the river to be opened, and flooded the entire region. The Arab historian Taqi al-Din Ahmad al-Maqrizi, writing around two centuries later, explained that ‘the Franks [the Europeans] had no knowledge of the geographical conditions of Egypt, nor of the character of the Nile. They perceived nothing until the water had submerged most of the terrain on which they stood. The ground between them and Damietta was transformed, and there was no way for them to move along, except by one narrow track.’ The sultan ordered his army to take up position on this track, so that the crusaders were trapped between the flood waters and the enemy. The leaders of the crusade were forced to negotiate a truce and evacuate Egypt completely (Mayer 1988: 222–7; Powell 1986: 188–90; al-Maqrizi 1980: 184–5). Similar tactics were used in Europe on the low-lying North Sea coasts of Frisia and of Dithmarschen, in what is now Schleswig-Holstein. The coastlands are natural salt marsh which can only be cultivated where drainage ditches have been dug, with sluices to control the water levels. At times of invasion the sluices could be opened, flooding the countryside and trapping the enemy army (Verbruggen 1997: 341; Mol 2002: 106). This occurred at the battle of Hemmingstedt in February 1500, when the Danish dukes of Schleswig and Holstein attempted to subjugate Dithmarschen (Rying 1988: 88). Outside these coastal regions Europeans did not usually make such use of water, but there were some exceptions. In June 1302 the Flemish towns rose in revolt against domination by the French king, Philip IV. A Flemish army marched to besiege the French garrison in the castle of Courtrai, and as part of the defences of their camp the Flemings dug a series of ditches. The ditches led into the nearby river Lys, which flowed in and filled them. When the French army attacked, the Flemish took up their stand with the river behind them and the ditches in front. The French cavalry charged, but was unable to break the Flemish line. The Flemings forced the French knights into the water-filled ditches, where they became trapped and were either killed or drowned. Kelly DeVries comments that

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the Flemings had only intended the ditches to impede the French cavalry and that it was the Flemish infantry line which won the day, but clearly the careful preparation of the battlefield and the flooding of the ditches transformed these familiar obstacles into death traps (DeVries 1996: 13, 15–18, 21–2). According to the Byzantine historian Nicephorus Gregoras – writing around half a century after events – when, in 1311, Duke Walter V of Brienne, duke of Athens, decided to rid himself of his troublesome Catalan mercenaries by destroying them in battle, the Catalan company made similar preparations to receive his army at Kephissos (or Cephissos). The Catalans diverted the river Kephissos on to the plain between their own lines and their advancing enemy. The plain became a quagmire, the duke’s cavalry became trapped in the mud, and the Catalans then slaughtered them. Two accounts written closer to events depicted the Catalans simply positioning themselves on the far side of an already existing marsh, into which the duke’s cavalry charged; but the end result was the same (Setton 1975: 9–11; DeVries 1996: 58–65; Ramon Muntaner 1921: 575–8). It is not always necessary to deliberately dig and flood ditches or flood the battlefield in order to gain such an advantage. The battlefield of Bannockburn was named after the ‘magnam foveam’ or great ditch which crossed it, the Bannockburn, which (according to one contemporary commentator) filled with water at high tide. During the battle between Scots and English in June 1314, in the early stages the English cavalry were able to cross the ditch with ease, but later when the English were driven back many fell into the water and were trapped. If the burn were indeed tidal, this would explain why the English had overlooked this potential trap. King Robert Bruce of Scotland had instructed ditches and pits to be dug on his intended battlefield in order to impede the English cavalry, but apparently he was also making good use of natural features (DeVries 1996: 72–3, 78, 81; Barrow 1965: 328). In each of these battles, the use of water formed part of a complex strategy, involving careful choice of battlefield and deployment of troops. Used in conjunction with pre-battle planning and good military tactics, water became a deadly weapon. It was not only the defenders of a region who broke the sluices to create devastation in war time. Campaigning in southern Valencia in 1240, King James I of Aragon adopted a scorched earth policy, destroying dams on the irritation channels and the mills. However, although his army did a great deal of damage, ‘we were unable to destroy them all, since we had only a small company’ (James I of Aragon, 2003: 251–2). According to Jean Froissart, in 1340, in the opening years of the Hundred Years War, the duke of Normandy’s army ravaged Hainaut, burned several towns, demolished the mills of Quellinpont, broke the sluices on the fish pond ‘and gave the fish leave to go and play wherever they could’. As in Valencia, breaking down the sluices was part of a general scorched earth policy, which

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resulted in the inhabitants of the region fleeing for their lives and taking refuge in the nearest fortresses (Jean Froissart, 1992: 7). THE USE OF WATER DURING SIEGES Water plays a crucial role in time of siege. Water can form part of the defence where the fortress under siege is sited by the sea, or on a river, or is surrounded by a water-filled moat. For a fortress by the sea, the tide can form part of its defences, effectively preventing a prolonged assault from the beach. During the Christian siege of the Muslim city of Lisbon in October 1147, the extreme tidal range was a major impediment to the besiegers’ attempts to bring siege machines against the walls of the city; although the besiegers’ perseverance finally led to their success (David and Phillips 2001: 160–5). The late Roman author Vegetius, who wrote his famous book De re militari (on military matters) towards the end of the fourth century, had stressed the importance of siting a fortress so that it was protected by the sea or a river; even better if it were a navigable river, so that the fortress could enjoy good communication links. The commander must also ensure that there were sufficient water supplies for the defenders of the fortress. The Italian-French writer Christine de Pizan, compiling her Livre des fais d’armes et de chevalerie (‘Book of the deeds of arms and of chivalry’) in around 1410, developed Vegetius’s model of the ideal fortress. If there was no natural water supply in the fortress, she wrote, then conduits should be dug to bring water in, sufficiently deep to ensure that they would not run dry and could not be destroyed by enemy action (Pizan 1999: 107, 111–12). With water supplies thus ensured, water could be used as an active weapon of offence as well as a barrier. Basins of water placed on the floor of a fortress could reveal if the enemy were attempting to undermine the walls, as any movement in the ground would produce vibrations in the water. A countermine could be dug to meet the enemy mine, and water poured into it to drown the miners. Christine de Pizan, who made this point in her work on the ‘Deeds of Arms’, added that if there were women present the water could be boiled, thus inflicting even more damage on the enemy miners – as if only women were capable of boiling water (Pizan 1999: 136). Boiling water could also be poured on to attackers from above (Pizan 1999: 136). The fortress’s water supply therefore became a focus of the enemy’s attack, as has been mentioned above in the case of Frederick’s Barbarossa’s siege of Tortona. Likewise, it could also form the focus of the defence’s counter-attack, as the besieging army also needed a water supply. In autumn 1229 King James I of Aragon invaded the island of Majorca, which was then a Muslim kingdom, and besieged the capital city. One of the local nobles gathered an army and pitched camp on the hill which was above the

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city’s water supply. As James recounted in his autobiography, ‘then the Saracens [local Muslims] went out with hoes and diverted the water that flowed from the spring to the town’, leaving the besiegers’ camp without water. As this was a serious threat to his forces, James took immediate action, sending an expedition of some 300 knights to recover the water supply. After a fierce battle on the hillside, the local forces fled, and James’ men were able to redirect the water supply to their camp (James I of Aragon 2003: 95). As the siege progressed, James’ forces dug into the dry moat around the city, from where they worked to undermine the city’s defensive towers. The defenders of Majorca dug a counter-mine under the moat towards James’s supplies and set fire to the tunnel, so that it would collapse and destroy James’ stores. A hundred of James’ men set out with hoes and directed water into the moat, putting out the fire (James I of Aragon 2003: 97). The concept of diverting a water course was familiar in the thirteenth century. In the 1240s, the city of Bristol in western England had diverted the course of the River Frome, which joins the Avon in the heart of the city. The Frome was diverted into a new channel, half a mile long, to give space for the building of new quays where ships could moor, so that the already thriving port of Bristol could expand still further. However, as this project took several years to complete and was extremely expensive, it was feasible only as a long-term investment. In wartime, engineering projects have to be completed as quickly as possible and with minimum labour, as all available manpower is needed for fighting. This limited what medieval military engineers could achieve. Nevertheless, men could dream. In the early fourteenth century, writing canto 33 of ‘Inferno’ in his Divine Comedy, the poet Dante Alghieri imagined the tortured soul of Count Ugolino della Gherardesca of Pisa, who had been starved to death by his fellow citizens for betraying his city to its enemies, wishing that the islands of Capraia and Gorgona of the Tuscan Archipelago would move and dam the river Arno, so that it would flood Pisa and drown those who killed him (Dante Alighieri 2006: 299; Masters 1998: 11, 97, 214). This was, of course, only imagination. However, others did attempt to move rivers in the course of warfare. In 1430, Filippo Brunelleschi, Florentine architect and engineer, masterminded a plan to flood the city of Lucca – which had been under siege by a Florentine army since the end of 1429 – by diverting the river Serchio. As a member of three of the four city councils, Brunelleschi was at this time an influential political figure in Florence, and his plan won the support of the leading men of the city. However, the city was experiencing problems in funding the war, and as a result was unable to employ sufficient labourers to carry out the works. After two months, questions began to be voiced as to whether the project was feasible, and specifically whether the dam which was being constructed would be strong enough

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to hold back the necessary volume of water. Meanwhile, as the Florentine workmen prepared the channel for the diversion, the people of Lucca built a dyke to block the new course of the river. One night they broke the side of the Florentine’s new channel so that the water flowed back into the plain and flooded the Florentine army’s camp. The Florentine army was forced to retreat. Brunelleschi was severely criticised and accused of having misrepresented the feasibility of the project. The fiasco seems to have brought an end to his political ambitions, although he continued to work for Florence as a civil and military architect (Masters 1998: 11, 97–8; Zervas 1979: 635–6). In 1504 the city of Florence again attempted to divert a river for military purposes, this time to deprive a rival city of water rather than to flood it. The plan was to divert the River Arno away from the city of Pisa, which had been under siege by the Florentines since 1498. Deprived of water, the city would be forced to surrender. The scheme was supported by Piero Soderini, the gonfaloniere of justice or head of state, and by Niccolò Machiavelli, then an official of the city of Florence responsible for military and foreign policy. The great engineer and artist Leonardo da Vinci had recently produced plans and sketches showing how the Arno could be straightened and made navigable to the sea, while its waters could be used to power mills and for irrigation. His plans included diversions of the Arno at Pisa. As he had already been employed as a military architect and as a hydraulic engineer by the city of Florence, it is not surprising that Leonardo was employed by the city to put this river-diversion scheme into practice. Leonardo worked on the technicalities of the project, calculating where the diversion ditch should be dug, its necessary dimensions if the river were to be moved into a new course, the number of labourers required and the time required to complete the works. The hydraulic engineer employed to oversee the work, Colombino, reorganised the plans – perhaps because he found Leonardo’s designs too complex to put into practice, or perhaps to save costs. His final ditches were much narrower and shallower than Leonardo’s design, and although the river flowed into the new channels when the river level was high, it returned to its original course when its waters were low. The work began in August 1504, but progressed much more slowly than had originally been estimated. Criticism grew both within Florence and in the field: the labourers and Colombino complained that the scheme could not succeed, while there were also fears that the Pisans would attack the works. In the end, however, it was the late autumn weather which destroyed the project. In early October 1504 a heavy storm caused the newly dug channels to collapse. The Florentines retreated and Pisan labourers quickly filled in the channels and undid all the Florentines’ diversionary work. The siege dragged on; Florence did not capture Pisa until 1509 (Masters 1998: 96–100, 122–33).

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As after the failed Lucca project of 1430, bitter recriminations followed. The project had been too expensive; it required too much time to complete; Colombino’s ditches had been too shallow. Not only had the Florentines suffered military humiliation, but they had also lost any hope of converting Florence into a seaport – the next stage of Leonardo’s riverdiversion scheme. Piero Soderini was widely blamed for the fiasco, while Niccolò Machiavelli lost power and influence in Florence because of his support for the scheme. Leonardo da Vinci, however, continued to work for the city of Florence as a military engineer. A besieged city’s water supply could also form a point of entry for an attacker. In the early sixth century Gundobad of Burgundy besieged his brother Godigisel in his city of Vienne. As the defenders grew short of food, Godigisel expelled the non-combatants from the city, including the engineer who was in charge of the aqueduct. The engineer went to Gundobad and showed him how he could break into Vienne through the water gate and take the enemy in the rear. Vienne fell, Godigisel was killed, and Gundobad became king of the whole of Burgundy (Gregory of Tours 1977: 147–8). LOCAL CONFLICTS Lesser conflicts can also involve water. For example, in May 1357 the king’s judges at Westminster heard a case in which one Simon Warde of Buyton, a clerk employed by the bishop of London, complained that he had been attacked at Marlow in Buckinghamshire by a gang who threw him into a pond and held him in the water ‘as far as submersion’ until he promised not to sue them. Simon had been carrying a summons to the prior of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem in England to appear before the bishop’s court; it was the prior and his brothers who had organised the attack (CPR 1909: 555, 557). In one notorious case in the kingdom of Jerusalem a local conflict over water supplies became a conflict using water. In the thirteenth century, the Knights Templar owned a large water-driven wheat mill at Da’uk on the Nahr Kurdaneh (the River Belus), which flowed down from Recordane (Kurdaneh) to Acre. Upstream at Kurdaneh was an equally large mill belonging to their rival military-religious Order, the Knights Hospitaller. As the land here is almost flat the mills had horizontal waterwheels to make the best of the low head of water, but despite this these two institutions experienced difficulty in obtaining sufficient head of water to drive their millwheels. From the first decades of the thirteenth century the two Orders were in constant dispute over the water supply to their mills. According to evidence presented to the Church court which attempted to resolve the dispute, the Templars used to close the sluices in the weir by their mill to build up a good head of water above their mill. As this

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flooded the Hospital’s fields and prevented the Hospital’s mill from operating, the Templars raised the banks on the Hospitallers’ land, but the water still backed up against the Hospital’s millwheels. In retaliation, the Hospitallers would hold back the water of the river behind their sluices so that the Templars’ mill ran dry. When a good head of water had built up, the Hospitallers would open their sluices, and the water would rush down the Templars’ mill race and smash their millwheels. The Hospitallers also complained that the Templars’ weir prevented them from taking boats up and down the river, to and from their mill. They dismantled the Templars’ weir to allow their boats through. Presumably the weir was a ‘flash lock’, designed to be taken apart beam by beam in order to allow boats to pass, but users were expected to reinstate it after use. When this was not done, the Templars’ mill race above the weir ran dry. In 1235, following protracted legal actions which had reached the papal court, an agreement was negotiated. To protect the Hospital’s millwheels from being impeded by the raised water level downstream, a mark was placed on the bottom side of the Hospital’s mill, and the Templars were not to allow the water level to rise above that mark. The Hospitallers were not to allow the water to build up in their own millpond, damaging the Templars’ millwheels when it was released. The Hospitallers were to have two boats on the river, one above and one below the Templars’ weir, and they were to unload their boats on one side of the weir and reload them on the other side. Neither Order should impede the boats on the river. This was not the end of the dispute, and another settlement had to be negotiated in 1262: the Templars had been obstructing the Hospitallers’ boats and blocking the water course so that the river flooded. When the Hospitallers’ mill had been out of action for a while, the Hospitallers had blocked off the channel of the river while it was repaired, which meant that no water reached the Templars’ mill. This sorry saga illustrates the immense economic importance of mills to the medieval Europeans, and also how water could be used as a weapon in economic warfare (Delaville le Roulx 1897: 486–7; Delaville le Roulx 1899: 59–60; Riley-Smith 1967: 446; Pringle 1997: 47, 62–4). CONCLUSIONS Overall it is surprising that there are not more records of the proactive use of water in medieval warfare. A failure to use water as a weapon was not due to a lack of engineering expertise. As we have seen, in the mid thirteenth century the River Frome was successfully diverted at Bristol in order to expand the city’s port to meet the needs of the city’s rapidly growing trade; so the concept of diverting major watercourses was familiar to engineers, and had been proven in practice. Nor was it due to lack of

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mechanical expertise, as medieval engineers could be very ingenious in their use of water for practical jokes. A clerk at the court of Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy (1419–67) described the various contrivances produced by Colard le Voleur, ‘valet de chambre and painter’ for the duke’s castle at Hesdin in Artois, ‘to squirt water at people and wet them’ including ‘eight conduits for wetting women from below’ (Vaughan 1970: 137–9). These had originally been installed by Count Robert of Artois at the end of the thirteenth century; Colard had repaired them and added new devices (Vaughan 1962: 205–6). However, engineers still lacked the means to construct devices quickly enough, large enough and safe enough for effective military use. The Florentines’ experience at Lucca in 1430 and at Pisa in 1504 demonstrated that although commanders were aware of the potential of water as a weapon, the actual logistics of controlling the volume of water required – for example, the need to hire thousands of labourers in order to dig diversionary channels, while also defending the works from the enemy – was beyond the means of even a wealthy Italian city. In addition, the potential costs of failure were a major deterrent. It would require not only skilled engineers but also the resources of a nation state to undertake such massive projects with success. It is possible that water was used as a weapon in medieval warfare far more often than the surviving sources indicate. Because the use of water avoided the risks of hand-to-hand combat, it could be regarded as an underhand weapon, the weapon of the weakling or the outsider, not worthy of an honourable general. As a result, its use as a weapon might not be mentioned by contemporary commentators. However, it is also important to remember that the exploitation of water resources can be very damaging to the environment. Where a river had been diverted or a plain flooded, a victor who intended to exploit the land would have to restore the river to its original bed and drain the land or the ditches in order to restore the land to its previous agricultural state. For instance, even if the Florentines had succeeded in diverting the River Arno in 1504 and capturing Pisa through drought, it would have been necessary to restore the water course afterwards, otherwise the city would have become uninhabitable. The use of water in medieval warfare would therefore generally be limited to the most desperate defences or to devastating raids where long-term land use was not a concern of the raiders. Perhaps generals usually judged that the costs of using water in warfare outweighed the gains. REFERENCES Abu’l-Fida’,1983. The Memoirs of a Syrian Prince: Abu’l-Fida ¯’, Sultan of Hama ¯h (672–732/1273–1331), Trans. Peter M. Holt. Weisbaden: Steiner.

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Ambroise. 2003. The History of the Holy War: Ambroise’s Estoire de la guerre sainte, ed. M. Ailes and M. Barber, Woodbridge, and Rochester, NY: M. Boydell Press. Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 1965. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A Revised Translation, ed. D. Whitelock with D.C. Douglas and S.I. Tucker. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode. Bates, D. 2004. William I (1027/8–1087), in H.C.G. Matthew and B. Harrison (eds), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: Oxford University Press. www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/29448 (accessed 21 September 2009). Barber, M. 1981. Lepers, Jews and Moslems: The Plot to Overthrow Christendom in 1321. History 66: 1–17. Barrow, G.W.S. 1965. Robert Bruce and the Community of the Realm of Scotland. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode. Boucicaut. 1985. Le Livre des Fais du bon Messire Jehan le Maingre, dit Bouciquaut, mareschal de France et gouverneur de Jennes, ed. D. Lalande. Geneva: Droz. Christiansen, E. 1997. The Northern Crusades. Harmondsworth: Penguin. CPR. 1909. Calendar of the Patent Rolls preserved in the Public Record Office, prepared under the Superintendence of the Deputy Keeper of the Records, Edward III, AD 1354–1358. London: HMSO. Dante Alighieri. 2006. The Divine Comedy. 1, Inferno, trans. R. Kirkpatrick. London: Penguin. David, C.W. and J. Phillips (trans.) 2001. De expugnatione Lyxbonensi: The Conquest of Lisbon, edited from the unique manuscript in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. New York: Columbia University Press. Delaville le Roulx, J. 1897. Cartulaire général de l’Ordre des Hospitaliers de Saint-Jean de Jérusalem, 1100–1310. Vol. 2. Paris: Ernest Leroux. Delaville le Roulx, J. 1899. Cartulaire général de l’Ordre des Hospitaliers de Saint-Jean de Jérusalem, 1100–1310. Vol. 3. Paris: Ernest Leroux. DeVries, K. 1996. Infantry Warfare in the Early Fourteenth Century: Discipline, Tactics and Technology. Woodbridge: Boydell. Edbury, P.W. (trans.) 1996. Conquest of Jerusalem and the Third Crusade: Sources in Translation. Aldershot: Ashgate. Froissart, Jean. 1992. Chroniques. Livre I: Le manuscrit d’Amiens, Bibliothèque municipale no 486. Vol. 2, ed. G.T. Diller. Geneva: Droz. Froissart, Jean. 1993. Chroniques. Livre I: Le manuscrit d’Amiens, Bibliothèque municipale no 486. Vol. 4, ed. G.T. Diller. Geneva: Droz. Gilbert, V. 1928. The Romance of the Last Crusade: With Allenby to Jerusalem. New York and London: Appleton and Company. Gillmor, C. 1988. War on the Rivers: Viking Numbers and Mobility on the Seine and Loire, 841–886. Viator 19: 79–109. Gregory of Tours. 1977. The History of the Franks, trans. L. Thorpe. Harmondsworth: Penguin. James I of Aragon. 2003. The Book of Deeds of James I of Aragon, A Translation of the Medieval Catalan Llibre dels Fets, trans. D. Smith and H. Buffery. Aldershot: Ashgate. Jean le Bel. 1904. Chronique, ed. J. Viard and E. Déprez. Paris: Reynouard. al-Maqrizi. 1980. A History of the Ayyubid Sultans of Egypt, translated from the Arabic of al-Maqrizi, trans. R.J.C. Broadhurst. Boston, MA: Twayne.

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Masters, R.D. 1998. Fortune is a River: Leonardo de Vinci and Niccolò Machiavelli’s Magnificent Dream to Change the Course of Florentine History. New York: The Free Press. Mayer, H.E. 1988. The Crusades, trans. J. Gillingham. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Mol, J.A. 2002. Frisian Fighters and the Crusade. Crusades 1: 89–110. Muntaner, Ramon. 1921. The Chronicle of Muntaner, trans. Lady Goodenough. Hakluyt Society second series. Vol. 50: 2. Nicholson, H.J. (trans.) 1997. Chronicle of the Third Crusade: A Translation of the Itinerarium peregrinorum et gesta Regis Ricardi. Aldershot: Ashgate. Nicholson, H.J. 2004. Medieval Warfare: Theory and Practice of War in Europe, 300–1500. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Otto of Freising and Rahewin. 1994. The Deeds of Frederick Barbarossa, trans. C.C. Mierow and R. Emery. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Pizan, C. de. 1999. The Book of the Deeds of Armes and of Chivalry, trans. S. Willard, ed. C. Cannon Willard. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. Powell, J.M. 1986. Anatomy of a Crusade, 1213–1221. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Pringle, D. 1997. Secular Buildings in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem: An Archaeological Gazetteer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pringle, D. 2001. The Spring of the Cresson in Crusading History, in M. Balard, B.Z. Kedar, and J. Riley-Smith (eds), Dei gesta per Francos: Etudes sur les croisades dédiées à Jean Richard – Crusade Studies in Honour of Jean Richard, Aldershot: Ashgate: 231–40. Pryor, John H. 1983. The Naval Battles of Roger of Lauria, Journal of Medieval History 9: 179–216. Pryor, J. 2001. ‘Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.’ Water Supplies for the Fleets of the First Crusade, in M. Balard, B.Z. Kedar and J. Riley-Smith (eds). Dei gesta per Francos: Etudes sur les croisades dédiées à Jean Richard – Crusade Studies in Honour of Jean Richard. Aldershot: Ashgate: 21–8. Riley-Smith, J. 1967. The Knights of St John in Jerusalem and Cyprus, c. 1050–1310. London: Macmillan. Rodgers, W.L. 1967. Naval Warfare Under Oars, 4th to 16th Centuries: A Study of Strategy, Tactics and Ship Design. Annapolis, MD: US Naval Institute. Rose, S. 2002. Medieval Naval Warfare, 1000–1500. London: Routledge. Rying, B. 1988. Danish in the South and the North, vol. 2, Denmark: History, trans. R. Spink. Copenhagen: Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Setton, K.M. 1975. Catalan Domination of Athens, 1311–1388. London: Variorum Reprints. Smail, R.C. 1982. The Predicaments of Guy of Lusignan, 1183–87, in B.Z. Kedar, H.E. Mayer and R.C. Smail (eds), Outremer: Studies in the History of the Crusading Kingdom of Jerusalem presented to Joshua Prawer. Jerusalem: Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi Institute: 159–76. Squatriti, P. 2002. Digging Ditches in Early Medieval Europe, Past and Present 176: 11–65. Theitmar of Merseburg. 2001. Ottonian Germany: The Chronicon of Thietmar of Merseburg, trans. D.A. Warner. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

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Vaughan, R. 1962. Philip the Bold: The Formation of the Burgundian State. London: Longmans. Vaughan, R. 1970. Philip the Good: The Apogee of Burgundy. London: Longmans. Verbruggen, J.F. 1997. The Art of Warfare in Western Europe during the Middle Ages: From the Eighth Century to 1340, trans. S. Willard and Mrs R.W. Southern. Woodbridge: Boydell. Warren, W.L. 1961. King John. London: Eyre & Spottiswoode. Zervas, D.F. 1979. Filippo Brunelleschi’s Political Career. The Burlington Magazine 121: 630–46.

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The Peace of Westphalia and the Water Question: A Perspective for the Benefit of the Other

Pierre Beaudry

THE PRINCIPLE OF THE PEACE OF WESTPHALIA The Peace of Westphalia of 1648 was the historical turning point that put an end to the devastating Thirty Years War (1618–48) in Europe, the final phase of eighty devastating years of religious and imperial wars. The Peace marked an extraordinary axiomatic change in the history of the world, as nations achieved sovereignty in the face of imperialist opposition. The Peace was established about halfway between the creation of the initial development of the first European nation-state under Louis XI of France, founded in 1477, and the establishment of the exceptional constitutional republic of the USA under Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, in 1789. At the end of the Thirty Years War, the German population had become so stupefied that no one remembered how normal human relations worked; security and trust no longer existed, and everyone suspected and feared their neighbor as the enemy. Industry and commerce were dead since no one wanted any occupation that was not military in nature. The stench of a New Dark Age had penetrated every pore of German society, and several generations were required to repair the damage of such systematic destruction. The central question was: how could such a German population trust the French proposal for peace? Suspicion reigned everywhere and every day, on this soil of damnation, paradoxes grew like mushrooms fertilized and nourished by the blood of the German people. The Peace of Westphalia represented the solution to the main consequent paradox. The paradox of the Thirty Years War first appeared on the French side of the conflict and later dawned on every party involved in the war. The paradox can be formulated as follows: France cannot win the peace with the Habsburg Empire unless the German Electors join the French forces. However, France cannot win over the German Electors to her side, unless she sacrifices her own self-interest for the benefit, honor and advantage of the Protestant German states and principalities. In other

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Figure 1. The swearing of the Oath of Ratification of the Treaty of Munster that ended the 80-year war (1568–1648) between Spain and the Netherlands, on 15 May 1648, by Gerard Terborch (1617–81). In attendance were all of the negotiators of the Peace of Westphalia, which was signed simultaneously in Munster for the Catholics, and in Osnabrück for the Protestants five months later, on 24 October 1648.

words, if the French wanted to win, they had to lose!1 This paradox was fundamental because it was the one that forced the principle of the Peace of Westphalia to emerge as the only possible solution to the general political and strategic breakdown of Europe at the time. The Treaty of Westphalia of 1648 is a landmark in world peace treatises by the fact that it defined the principle of sovereignty and tolerance between nation-states, establishing a relationship between nations based on the Ecumenical principle of agape. The statement of the principle is found in Article I of the Treaty: Article I: Let there be a Christian and Universal Peace, and a perpetual, true, and sincere Amity between the Sacred Imperial Majesty and the Sacred Christian Majesty, as well as between all and every ally and follower of the mentioned Imperial Majesty, the House of Austria, and their heirs and successors, and primarily between the Electors, the Princes, and the States of the Empire on the one hand, and each and all of the allies of the said

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All-Christian Majesty, and its successors, and primarily the Serene Queen and the Kingdom of Sweden, on the other hand. That this Peace and Amity be observed and cultivated with such a Sincerity and Zeal that each party shall endeavor to produce the Benefit, Honor, and Advantage of the other; and that on all sides, each may see the rebirth and the flourishing of the bounties of this Peace and of this Amity, by maintaining a faithful neighborliness from all sides between the Kingdom of France and the Roman Empire. (Bougeant 1744: 510; translated by P.B.; emphasis added)

This was a major new diplomatic policy orientation initiated by Cardinal Mazarin (1602 –1661) in France, based on the universal principle of ‘agape’; that is, having the intention ‘to procure the benefit, honor, and advantage of the other’, a principle aimed at developing a lasting peace for the defense of sovereign nation-states of Europe by economic development through major infrastructure projects. More fundamentally, however, it followed the biblical principle whereby ‘man must be fruitful, multiply and have dominion over the universe’. The principle of agape, in fact, goes back to Plato’s idea of justice. It was later Christianized by Saint Paul who expressed it in his famous sermon to the Corinthians 1:13, as a personal principle of moral conduct surpassing in power every other universal principle. However, Charlemagne was the first political leader to use the principle, politically and internationally, as an ecumenical principle among Islam, Judaism and Christianity. But the principle had never been used for resolving war conflicts, until François Rabelais identified the principle that he recommended to Emperor Charles V, in an attempt to stop his interminable wars with François I. In 1532, Rabelais elaborated his peace principle in his axiom-busting writings of the extraordinary exploits of Gargantua. In section 50 of The First Book, entitled ‘Gargantua’s Address to the Vanquished’, Gargantua reminded the reader that the best way to establish a durable peace was to replicate what his father, Grandgousier, had done for the benefit of his former vanquished enemy, Alpharbal: that is, be gracious and generous! Rabelais had Gargantua say: Whereas other kings and emperors, even such as called Catholic, would have miserably ill-treated him, harshly imprisoned him, and asked a prohibitive ransom from him, my father treated him courteously and kindly, lodged him near to himself, in his own palace, and with incredible generosity sent him back under safe conduct, loaded with gifts, loaded with favors, loaded with every evidence of friendship. And what was the result? When he got back to his country, he summoned all of the princes and estates of his kingdom, explained to them the humanity he had met with in us, desiring them to deliberate on this, and consider how to show the world an example of gracious honor to match the example we had shown of honorable graciousness. Whereupon it was unanimously decreed that an

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offer should be made to us of their entire lands, dominions, and kingdom, to be disposed of according to our discretion. (Rabelais 1955: 146)

When the vanquished Alpharbal attempted to return the favor, it was rejected because the purpose of the principle of that peace was gratuitousness; that is to say, an act of giving without expecting anything in return, like the offering of the elephant that Haroun al Raschid had made to Charlemagne. The gift was for the ‘advantage of the other’, not for ‘mutual benefits’. Thus, Rabelais concluded with this extraordinary insight: ‘Such is the nature of gratuitousness [gratuité]. Time, which gnaws and fritters all things away, only augments and increases the value of benefits. For one good turn freely done to an intelligent man grows continuously by his generous thoughts and remembrances’ (Rabelais 1955: 147). The point to emphasize, here, is that, as an economic principle, the principle of agape is not an expression of the self-interest of a class or a political elite organized around a social contract. The principle of agape applies to all people regardless of nationality, creed or color. The principle of agape became the underlying principle of cameralism in Germany and mercantilism in France, both of which became the source of the American system of political-economy, as it is expressed by the general welfare clause of the American Constitution. From an economic standpoint, the point of principle to be made here is to identify the difference between a credit–fair-trade system oriented toward scientific progress and demographic growth, and a monetarist–freetrade system oriented toward the enrichment of a few. The difference will be most readily grasped when free trade is understood as being free from government regulations and not intended for the general welfare of the population, but, rather, for a small predator class of privateers. In other words, the practical significance of the economic aspect of the Peace of Westphalia principle of agape does not lie within the parameters of freetrade speculation, but rather within the implementation of capital credits for increasing the productivity of labor, through investing in infrastructure such as water projects. The original idea of the development of canals throughout the French and German territories after the Thirty Years War came from an attempt to shift the balance of economic power in Europe away from the Venetian monetarist maritime-based model into a Eurasian credit land-based model of national self-developing economies. From that vantage point, the grand design project of Cardinal Gilles Mazarin represented the historical basis for the creation of a new paradigmatic shift of western civilization. The maritime model, which has always been the primary European model, was not a good economic model because it was based more on trade than production. The Westphalian projects corrected that policy by improving the general welfare of the population through promoting technological advancements in the interior of the continents. Hence, the Peace of

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Westphalia water projects succeeded in raising the population density of the region by increasing the power of labor, and improving the standard of living of the entire population, all of it at the same time and based on the same principle. THE RHINE, DANUBE AND RHONE: THE LONG HISTORICAL VIEW The Rhine River is the longest waterway of Europe, originating in the Swiss Alps and flowing a distance of 820 miles (1,320 km) to the North Sea. Today, it is connected to the Mediterranean Sea by the Rhine–Rhone Canal, and is connected to the Black Sea through the Rhine–Danube Canal. Four seas are therefore connected through the Rhine: the North Sea, the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The two major projects are ultimate expressions of the spirit of Westphalia, as they encompass a peaceful collaboration between no fewer than 11 nations, Germany, France, Holland, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, the republic of Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. The thinking behind these projects goes far back in history. The Emperor Charlemagne faced a troubled border in the east. Since his civilizing and military efforts were to the east, one of his concerns was to have access to the Danube River. So, according to the Annales Regni Francorum 782 et remaniement , in the spring of 793 Charlemagne organized a great number of workmen to dig a canal about 2,000 feet long and 300 feet wide between the Altmuhl River and the affluent of the Rednitz River, the Schwabische-Rezat, situated just west of Ratisbonne, and which provided him access by boat from the Rhine to the Danube; in reality, from the North Sea to the Black Sea (Kleinclausz 1934). Thus, the opening of the Rhine–Danube Canal did not merely provide Charlemagne with the ability to supply and reinforce his troops to conquer the Avars on his eastern border, but also gave him the tool to consolidate his domain in the south-east region of central Europe, and bring civilization all the way to the Black Sea.2 At the turn of the eighth century AD, the time had therefore come to consider instituting a grand strategy policy for exploiting the interior of the European and Asian continents with canals for the benefit of the peoples living there, which meant changing the political axis of the entire world by causing a shift away from the imperial control of sea-lanes in favor of continental routes controlled by sovereign nation-states. This implies that the motion of civilization has been anti-riparian in character; that is to say, contrary to the natural flow of water on the continents, much like universal history, from the future to the present, as opposed to from the past to the present.

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Figure 2. Three centuries of the Peace of Westphalia canal developments across Europe. Courtesy of Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) Vol. 30, No. 21.

This great water project was emphatically reflected, for example, in the fact that Charlemagne did not build a fleet of ships to compete with the Venetians, but began instituting, instead, an internal management program of expansion of Christianity through the Germanic waterways in order to steer the future of economic development internally, northward and eastward, continent-wide. For example, it was with that intention that Charlemagne and the Baghdad Caliphate of Haroun Al Raschid united their ecumenical outlook for economic development, based on the advantage and benefit of the other. The irony was that Charlemagne had entrusted his river trading capability to his Jewish Radanite ambassadors who used the Fossa Carolina in order to reach both Islam and the Jewish Khazar Kingdom located in the North Caucasus. This was a unique opportunity in history, although for only a very brief period, when Christianity, Judaism and Islam had united the Western world behind a common economic principle of generosity and ecumenicism. A similar challenge faces us today,

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and the question is: are we going to have the wisdom of replacing today’s bankrupt free-trade system with a return to a New Peace of Westphalia system? THE RHINE AND WESTPHALIA During the early 1640s, Cardinal Mazarin saw the necessity of bringing economic development in the Rhine River region. Mazarin was conscious that his peace initiative could only succeed under the condition of bringing German commerce into an outward expansion of its foreign trade. First and foremost, this meant the elimination of the internal barriers of custom fees erected all along the principalities of the Rhine River. German historian Hermann Scherer encapsulated the general problem in the following manner: The expansion of Amsterdam and of the Dutch market had given the last blow to the ancient commercial greatness of Germany. The Rhine River and later the Escaut were closed to the German people; an arbitrary system of rights and tolls was established, and that became the end of the wealth and prosperity in the heart of Europe. The defection of many Hanseatic cities from the interior and the diminishing foreign trade of the Hanse destabilized the internal commerce and the relationship between northern and southern Germany. Add to this the interminable wars, the religious fights and persecutions, and, on top of all of this, the addition of custom barriers established under all sorts of pretexts, and for which the smallest princes of the empire added a cost as if it were an essential attribute to their microscopic sovereignty. (Scherer 1857: 547–8; translated by P.B.)

This summarizes the strategic situation and the economic circumstances of the war-torn region of Germany during the preliminary negotiations for the Peace of Westphalia in Munster and Osnabrück. Scherer further reported that, in addition to the custom rights on the rivers, most of the larger cities such as Botzen, Kempten, Buchhorn, Vienna, Lunenburg or Leipzig, ‘were imposing a right of halting-place and of transshipment called the right of mile or the right of route’ (Scherer 1857: 548; translated by P.B.). Each oligarchical fiefdom measured its authority based on the power to raise tariffs, as if they could free themselves from servitude by granting themselves the privilege of enslaving others. As a result, the entire economy of Germany was not only devastated by war, but also collapsed under the burden of oligarchical attitudes, and systematic interruptions of economic trade between northern and southern Germany. In was under such historical circumstances that, in 1642, Mazarin called upon his negotiators in Munster to circulate an edict forbidding the

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use of tolls along the Rhine River.3 This edict was also accompanied with a provision that included the ‘adjacent provinces’. This was the first edict that started to bring fair trade as opposed to free trade throughout Germany in the middle of the Thirty Years War. In his remarkable book, Scherer identified what Mazarin began to contemplate as the early form of the mercantile system that began to flourish with the emergence of the national economy during the seventeenth century. As Scherer put it: On the day that the nation recognized its collective interest, where the interests of the different classes united against the foreigner, commerce became a national affair; its economic importance was no longer considered from the vantage point of the individual, but primarily from the vantage point of the nation, and society had to establish its trade balance as it had been done up to that point between individuals. The real cosmopolitan liberty, which left the wholesale merchant to himself, then disappeared and the government intervened as the regulator, by means of rules and institutions, and the national policy gave rise to national trade systems, all originally very practical, whose theory were progressively elaborated, and were praised to this day as the foundations of the prosperity of nations. (Scherer 1857: 20; translated by P.B.)

As a result of the Peace of Westphalia, the headwaters of the Rhine River Delta no longer belonged to the Germans and their sovereignty was reverted to Holland, while Alsace and Lorraine were secured for France, around 1660. Though the borders along the Rhine had not yet been completely settled by the Peace of Westphalia, and the regional borders kept changing during the next two centuries, the general outline of the current borders, as we know them today, was established at that time. A century later, the European north–south river axis was linked. The creation of the Rhone–Rhine Canal linking the Mediterranean with the North Sea and the Atlantic was a major initiative for peace between France and Germany, especially through the strategically sensitive area of Strasburg, where the critical arm of the canal was located. It was built between 1784 and 1833 and opened in 1834.4 However, because it was never given the generous French–German Westphalian amity that its original intention of principle deserved, it has fallen into a neglected state. A look back to Charlemagne, again, will give the reader a sense of the importance of the long waves of history in matters of human development. Charlemagne’s Fossa Carolina – later called the Ludwigskanal (1836–46), named after King Ludvig I of Bavaria – was finally to become known as the Rhine-Main-Danube Kanal, when it was completed in 1992.

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JEAN-BAPTISTE COLBERT AND PIERRE-PAUL RIQUET: THE CANAL DU MIDI The Canal du Midi, also known as Canal du Languedoc or Canal des deux Mers, was the greatest project of the Peace of Westphalia and served as a model for the economic expansion of Europe in peacetime. In point of fact, the Canal du Midi was the realization in miniature of Charlemagne’s project of connecting the North Sea to the Black Sea with the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal. Not only was it explicitly built for the purpose of strategically bypassing the Straits of Gibraltar, but also for developing the entire southwest region of France that was often stricken with drought and famine because of grain and water shortages. As the Languedoc was one of the less developed regions of France at the time of Colbert, the canal could easily bring grain to the region in exchange for local wines and open the entire region to international trade. The bonus was that foreign trade would also become more intense, and foreign investors could easily access a more or less forgotten region of France. As a Councillor to the King, and Comptroller General of Finance, Jean-Baptiste Colbert understood the catalyzing force that the building of such a great infrastructure project would have, not just on France, but also on Europe as a whole. The great work took 14 years to complete, from 1667 to 1681, and served as an historical marker for every water infrastructure project since that time, including George Washington’s Potomac Canal in Virginia in the USA. It reflected all of the features necessary for a Renaissance project in economic development: it was beautiful, productive and profitable. Even though only a few miles separated the Garonne River on the Atlantic side from the Aude River on the Mediterranean side, these two rivers could not be connected because the Aude was not navigable. Thus, all of the government engineers and the successive governors of the region had given up hope of finding a solution to the building of a canal in the region. However, a young magistrate of the gabelle in Beziers, Pierre-Paul Riquet de Bonrepos (1604–80), who had inherited a few pieces of land in the vicinity of Montagne Noire, located north-east of Toulouse, worked out a completely new and revolutionary idea. After years of searching for a solution to what appeared to be an impossible task, on 26 November 1662 Riquet wrote to Colbert describing his extraordinary discovery: Monsignor, I am writing to you from this village on the subject of a canal that could be built in this province of Languedoc for the purpose of communicating between the two seas. You will be astonished that I am concerned with something that I apparently know nothing about, … However, if it should please you to read my narrative, you will be able to judge that this canal is feasible, that it is, in truth, difficult because of the cost, but that the concern about expenditures should be weighed against the good that it will generate …

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Monsignor, that I have found easy routes and sources which can be easily diverted from their former beds and directed into this new canal by the natural gradient of their own inclination, all of the difficulties have disappeared, except that of finding the funds to cover the expenses of this work … You have for this a thousand and one means, Monsignor, and I am proposing to you two new ones, in the appended memoir, so that you can become more easily acquainted with this work that you will evaluate as being very beneficial for the King and for his people, when it will please you to consider that the certainty of this navigation will be such that the Gibraltar Straits will cease to be a necessary passage, that the revenues of the King of Spain in Cadiz will be reduced, and that those of our King will increase proportionately, as much from the treasury farms and from the entries on the merchandise coming into this kingdom, not to mention the rights that will be taken on the said canal and which will amount to considerable sums, and that the subjects of His Majesty will benefit from a thousand new trading items and shall gain great benefits from this navigation. Thus, if I understand that this design pleases you, I will send it to you illustrated, with the number of locks that will be appropriate to build, and the precise calculations of the measures of the said canal, either lengthwise, or in width … (Clément 1867: 304; translated by P.B.)

Two years after Riquet first wrote to Colbert, on 10 January 1665, a royal commission had enthusiastically endorsed the project. Colbert even proposed that the canal be built large enough to contain war vessels. But, that option was not feasible because of the restrictive conditions of the sources of water. Previous suggestions for a Canal du Midi had been based on the ‘obvious’ but wrong idea of linking the Atlantic Garonne River to the Mediterranean Aude River. But given that these rivers had too many problems of navigation, actually the question was not how to connect two rivers, as in the case of the Rhine and the Danube, but of how to connect two seas. Riquet’s problem was the paradox of a canal that had to shed its waters into two different seas simultaneously. In practical terms, the difficulty was that the magnitude of water required for the entire canal simply did not exist. It had to be created. There was no way to obtain a single feeding source anywhere from the maximum elevation of about 190 m down to the level of the sea, and the waters of the Aude and the Garonne rivers were impossible to connect directly. New sources had to be created. Riquet discovered that, instead of trying to tap the two rivers, he could connect the sources of the rivers in the region of Toulouse. Riquet found the initial required sources at the summit of the Montagne Noire, north-east of Toulouse, and he performed the miracle of what he humorously called ‘the parting of the waters!’ He created the Reservoir de

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Saint-Ferréol, starting from the waters of the Sor and the Laudot feeder channels at the highest altitude. By diverting those waters into the canal, at different degrees of elevation, Riquet discovered the solution to the problem of linking the Atlantic to the Mediterannean (Figure 3). He then applied the same principle to multiple other sources with a series of feeder channels such as the Lers and the Fresquel, and to other smaller feeder channels such as the Alzau, the Orbiel, the Ognon, the Treboul, the Rubenry, the Repudre and the Cesse, all shedding their respective waters

Figure 3. The poetry of the Canal du Midi: beautiful, useful and profitable: The Fonserannes Locks with original oval-shaped locks to prevent side walls from collapsing. www.canal-du-midi.org/.../fonserannes2_maxi.jpg.

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into the Garonne and into the Aude rivers. Once this unique least-action pathway was discovered, all that Riquet had to do was to get the attention of Colbert and get him to approve the project and finance it. On 27 November 1664, Riquet demonstrated on location a feasibility test before the Council of State of Languedoc, and showed that he was able to build a great reservoir at the highest-altitude level that would provide two controlled streams of water flowing into the western direction of the Atlantic, and into the eastern direction of the Mediterannean simultaneously. When Riquet met Colbert in Paris on 25 May 1665, Colbert gave him his patent papers and secured him his rights of ownership for his construction company and for the property of the canal. In a letter dated 9 October 1663 Colbert replied to Riquet: ‘There is no longer anyone who doubts the feasibility of your great design, which is what pleases me the most’ (Clément 1867: 304; translated by P.B.). From that moment on, there would not be a moment of rest. Riquet would organize everything, from the detailed plans and the labor force to the expenses, as well as all of the legal aspects of building this great work. The King had a moment of hesitation as to who would be the proprietor of that great work, the crown or some private party. But, his Council decided that since such a work would require constant attention and constant repairs and improvements, it should not be in the hands of the government, but rather in private hands. The King committed the royal treasury to fund the entire construction, and he fixed the rights of taxation on trade commodities. In 1667, there were about 2,000 workers on the terrain; a few years later, there were up to 12,000 divided into 240 brigades of 50 men each. There were 12 inspector generals who directed the different works, and Riquet and his sons oversaw the entire program. Aside from the canal, there was also, simultaneously, the infrastructure works in the port of Cète that one of Riquet’s sons was responsible for directing on the Mediterranean. The work did not progress without difficulties because Colbert was sometimes forced by the King to reduce expenses, while several extremely difficult engineering tasks increased the cost, notably the excavation of the 173 m Malpas Mountain tunnel and the crossing of bridges over the Orb and the Herault Rivers near the Mediterranean. The complete project included 75 locks on a distance of 238 km. Unfortunately, Riquet died only a few months before the completion of the canal. The inauguration of the great project finally arrived on 19 May 1681. After the ceremony, Colbert wrote to the intendant Daguesseau, on 6 June 1681: ‘It is such a great advantage for the benefit of the Languedoc province that this great work was a success, that I can express to you my satisfaction and assure you that the King was also very satisfied.’ The canal cost 17,000,000 pounds, more than double the initial estimate of 8,000,000 pounds. Although Riquet left his children with a debt of 2,000,000 pounds, the canal was the property of his heirs who succeeded in paying back the debt and keeping their inheritance.

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Figure 4. The Riquet project of the Canal du Midi showing the dozens of sources and 75 locks going east and west between the two seas. Note the ‘natural inclination’ of the catenary function and the multiple feeder channels from dozens of brooks that are also connected to the Canal as well as the Garonne and Aude Rivers. The parting of the waters [J] from the Rigole de la Plaine [W] were fed by the Laudot and the Sor feeder channels at an altitude of 190 m above sea-level. Moreover, a number of locks intersected, at decreasing levels, the waters flowing west from the Lers drain, and east from the Fresquel drain, all along the two opposite pathways of the canal. Riquet had estimated that the waters from those four main feeder channels – the Laudot, the Sor, the Lers and the Fresquel – were sufficient to create the equivalent of a new river. By comparison, the Fresquel furnishes 1,000,000 m3 of water per year, while the Aude River furnishes 36,000,000 m3, the Orbiel 30,000,000 m3, the Cesse 7,000,000 m3, and the Orb 7,000,000 m3. (Pierre-Paul Riquet, Carte du Canal du Midi, par Jasseau, à Toulouse, le 21 janvier, 1829, Gallica Bibliothèque numérique.)

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Because of his genial idea of ‘parting of the waters’, Riquet became known as the ‘Moses of the Languedoc’. He even joked about it by noting that the major difference between Moses and himself was that: ‘Moses had made the water spurt only from small fountains, but I disposed of water like great rivers’ (Archives du Canal www.canalmidi.com/archives.html). The great enterprise had created such optimism throughout France that, in 1693, the capital city of the Languedoc region, Montpelier, commissioned the architect and engraver François Dorbay, to erect an Arch of Triumph to commemorate the Canal du Midi project. Although it brought tremendous growth to the region of the Languedoc through barge traffic, because it was not deep enough for seagoing vessels, the Canal du Midi never provided a short cut between the Mediterranean and Atlantic. Today, the canal is primarily used for tourism. HOW WATER PROJECTS SERVED TO INCREASE RELATIVE POPULATION-DENSITY During the Thirty Years War, the Habsburg Emperors were too preoccupied with the interest of their dynasty to pay any attention to the needs of the German principalities, and the German princes were too weak and too obsessed with consolidating their powers to pay any attention to the needs of the German nation, which was in gestation and about ready to be born. No one seemed to have any idea about how to put a national economy together. Yet out of this miasma of war a new idea emerged, and a higher broader vision of humanity based on a long-forgotten Christian principle was about to replace the narrow mean spirit of religious warfare. The irony was that since there was no east–west trade to speak of, because most of the rivers ran on a north–south axis, trade was paralyzed, and the economies of the main cities of Brunswig, Erfurt, Frankfurt-amMein and Leipzig became crippled. The very geography of Germany had been exploited against the benefit of its own people. Thus was born the idea of freeing Germany from custom barriers, and of constructing massive infrastructure projects of canals connecting the Rhine River to the Ems River, the Ems to the Wesser, the Wesser to the Elbe and the Oder Rivers, and finally the Oder to the Vistula River. Cardinal Mazarin made a complete study of the rivers of the European continent and had his Ambassadors discuss the matter with the Great Elector of Brandenburg, Frederick-William (1620–88), possibly as early as 1640. Frederick-William was eager to open his region for development because in the single province of the Marches the Great Elector had ‘lost 140,000 souls out of a total of 330,000 souls’. In 1639, misery was such that, according to a contemporary, ‘people were devouring dogs’ (Sorel 1883: 241). As a result, Frederick-William had, very early on, begun an extensive development of the Marches of Brandenburg.

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Mazarin’s idea was to open the doors of this apparently aimless region and channel the waters into new corridors of life, eastward, as was planned with the Rhine Canal, the Elbe–Havel Canal, the Oder–Havel Canal, the Havelland Hauptcanal, and the Finow Canal. Frederick’s policy was to invite Protestant foreigners to come and farm the Marches and to repopulate his devastated province. The Brandenburg region thus became a land of refuge for the outlaws of Europe. The Hohenzollern policy went a long way toward creating a European immigration center for the French Huguenots, for example. According to French historian Lavisse: The Great Elector recalled all of his subjects that had fled, by showing them the restored security after the Peace of Westphalia. He welcomed people without a country, the banished, the wandering soldiers, the plunderers who wished to settle down by buying land with stolen money … By repopulating his devastated States – that is to say, by fulfilling his most urgent interests – this prince had at the same time the good fortune of becoming a famous hospitalier prince, the protector of the persecuted and the defender of liberty of conscience. Brandenburg has been a land of asylum for a long time. That country may not have produced one of these ardent preachers, half-theologian and half-poet, who have awakened in the German soul an enthusiasm for the new religion, nor did it produce one of those martyrs whose blood had nurtured the words of Luther; but it is, of all of the German States, the one from which the Reform has profited the most, because it was tolerant. (Lavisse 1883: 199 quoted by Sorel 1883: 242; translated by P.B.)

A very important part of the civilizing process of Prussia came with the collaboration of the French people, whether their leaders liked it or not. First, it was Charlemagne who, after conquering and converting the Saxons to Christianity, maintained a series of military outposts to keep the pagan Slavic Wendes population in check on the eastern border of his FrancoGermanic Empire. Those outposts were originally called borders or Marches and the leaders of these advanced eastern regions were called Margraves (Markgraf). Since religious persecution dominated French politics during the seventeenth century, the Margraves of Brandenburg used the freedom of religion and liberty of conscience as their best weapons of peace for developing the land and, thus, opened their doors to a multitude of exiled French people. The great crime of Louis XIV had been to expel out of France, under his revocation of the Edict of Nantes, hundreds of thousands of the best and most intelligent subjects to Prussia, and elsewhere. The number of French Protestant refugees to be relocated in the Brandenburg region alone was 20,000 people. This had the effect of increasing the population of that German province by more than one-tenth in a very short period of time. For example, in 1640, at the beginning of the reign of Frederick-William, the

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Brandenburg province had a total of 2,400,000 people, including 600,000 refugees or children of refugees. Berlin only had a population of 6,000 people. When the Great Elector died in 1688, the city of Berlin had reached 20,000 souls, including 6,000 French (Sorel 1883: 243). The fact that France was expelling the best and most principled section of its population, whose work and ingenuity entirely benefited the German state, was one of the most ironic aspects of the ‘advantage of the other’. As Sorel put it: ‘Industry barely existed, they [the French] created it. They propagated science, reformed the military, and populated the ministries and the tribunals. They melted inside of this people who was assimilating them; but they were bringing them such a fertility of views, and such an intellectual leaven that the German value was increased tenfold. There had never been such a considerable cross-fertilization of two peoples in such a short time, and with such productive results’ (Sorel 1883: 243; translated by P.B.). Of course, what was true of the French was also true of other refugees. FRIEDRICH VON BRENKENHOFF: THE JEAN-BAPTISTE COLBERT OF GERMANY The water projects of the Great Elector, Frederick-William, were the first decisive steps toward the economic creation of the sovereign nation-state of Germany for two main reasons: first, it increased the relative populationdensity with immigration and, second, it increased land-based power for food production per square kilometer, reclaiming arable land from the marshes and from the sea. The water projects first established the unification of the Brandenburg Marches with the Duchy of Prussia, then the creation of the Prussian State, and lastly, the unification of Germany, as a viable nation-state. Thus, the leaders of Prussia, from the Great Elector, Frederick-William, to his great-grandson, Frederick the Great, and to Bismarck, regardless of the many mistakes they may have made along the way, became the most significant nation builders of Germany. Even Louis XIV was forced to recognize Frederick-William as ‘my brother’. Franz Balthasar Schonberg von Brenkenhoff (1723–80) was instrumental in the victories of Frederick on the battlefields of the Seven Years War (1756–63). In recognition of his extraordinary services to the King, Brenkenhoff became the Privy Councillor, engineer, surveyor and administrator of Frederick the Great’s design projects. Brenkenhoff was entrusted with the task of rebuilding cities, creating new settlements, encouraging commerce and industries, building canals and bringing general prosperity to the devastated provinces of Prussia. Brenkenhoff was especially responsible for successfully operating the drainage of the Warthe and the Netze Rivers, and for reclaiming lands throughout the valley of the Oder. The idea was to expand the land capabilities as Holland had also done, by reclaiming the soil that was going

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to waste by the mismanagement of nature herself. According to Henderson, Frederick’s plan was grandiose: The growth of the population was a factor of major importance in promoting the economic expansion of the country. In Frederick’s reign the population of his dominions rose from 2,785,000 to 5,629,000 despite the decline of about 500,000 during the Seven Years War. The density of the population increased from 18.7 per square kilometer in 1740 to nearly 30 in 1793 … In so far as the growth of Prussia’s population at this time was due to immigration, and to the excess of births over deaths, it was necessary to expand agriculture production to provide additional food for the increasing population. To secure more farmland, the drainage of fens and the cultivation of wasteland were undertaken on a large scale. Among the most important fen districts that were reclaimed were the Oderbruch, the Warthebruch, and the Netzebruch. In 1740, the valley of the lower Oder between Oderberg and Kustrin was a vast swamp supporting only the fishermen whose cottages were situated on the highland above the marshes. A grandiose improvement scheme – drawn by the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler and the Engineer Von Haerlem – was undertaken in the 1740’s and 1750’s. Troops were used to expedite the work. The construction of a new bed for the river was completed in 1753 and some 150,000 acres of fenland were drained. (Henderson 2006: 128)

By the end of the Seven Years War, in 1763, Brenkenhoff had established over 1,000 new farming families; that is to say, over 6,000 people; 40 villages had been built from scratch, or had been improved on and expanded. Between 1755 and 1761, 20 such villages were settled with royal grants, and owners of large estates had financed another 20. On the eastern front of Poland, Brenkenhoff went even further, reclaiming fenlands on the Netze–Warthe, where between 1766 and 1776 a total of 3,500 new families had settled the newly created region, and within a very short period increased the population of the reclaimed region to 15,000. Frederick not only financed land reclamation schemes but he also made substantial annual grants to estate owners and farmers to enable them to pay their debts and to improve their properties. He adopted a plan suggested by the Berlin Buring and set up three agricultural credit banks. The first served Silesia (1769–70), the second the Mark Brandenburg and the New Mark (1777), and the third Pomerania (1781). They provided owners of large estates with additional capital by the issue of mortgage bonds. (Henderson 2006: 130)

In 1766, three years after the end of the Seven Years War, Brenkenhoff submitted to the King his first plan calling for an initial Crown grant of

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350,000 thalers to start new water projects on the Warthe and the Netze Rivers. During a period of nine years, Brenkenhoff settled a total of 690 families (7,436 people) on reclaimed land alone in those regions. All refugees were welcome: foreign immigrants such as Polish displaced people, Protestants and Jews. According to Henderson (2006), Brenkenhoff ‘also played an important part in the work of improving communications and expanding industry and agriculture in the newly acquired Polish territories. Immediately after the first partition of Poland, Frederick decided that a canal should join the Netze and the Brahe. Brenkenhoff was responsible for the prompt construction of this new waterway (The Bromberg Canal) and it was opened in 1775’ (Henderson 2006: 83). Brenkenhoff followed Mazarin’s water-management policy of cutting tariffs on the waterways, which Frederick, however, did not always favor. For example, after a successful experiment of exempting customs and excise for the expansion of Driesen, Brenkenhoff suggested the same plan for the district of the Netze River and asked that Frederick give a 12-year period of duty-free service to help the Netze District recover from long years of neglect, but the King was short of money and refused. Regardless, Brenkenhoff set the pace and people followed. For instance, he purchased the land himself, with his own money, and others did the same. As a result of Brenkenhoff ’s work, the reclaiming of fenlands in the region of the Netze–Warthe increased the population by 15,000 more families. Even though his enemies later tried to bankrupt him and staged a case of embezzlement against him, Brenkenhoff was ultimately exonerated. Within a short period of only ten years that partly overlapped the Seven Years War, from 1746 to 1757, half a dozen canals were built and drove the Prussian economy forward. The reconstruction of the Finow Canal between the Oder and the Havel was completed in 1746; two new canals were built in the Ukermark region, the Templin Canal in 1745, and the Fehrbellin Canal in 1766; the Plauen Canal between the Elbe and the Havel rivers was open in 1757; these canals also linked the Elbe with the Oder, which means that all goods from the North Sea and the Baltic Sea could reach Berlin, Magdeburg, Breslau and Frankfurt an der Oder. The whole region had also been opened up for trade with Poland, especially through the port of Stettin. A special privilege was accorded to Stettin so that Polish goods could be shipped to Frankfurt an der Oder. Henderson reported: Nearly all the staple privileges of Stettin and Frankfurt an Oder were abolished and the General Directory was instructed to equalize the tolls payable on the Elbe and the Oder. In the hope of expanding the export of Polish grain through Stettin, substantial reductions were made in the Prussian tolls charged on the Oder, the Warthe, and the Netze. In 1764–66, improvements were made in the waterways of East Prussia to facilitate the floating of logs to the Baltic. (Henderson 2006: 153)

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With his successful policy on increasing relative population-density per square kilometer, Franz Balthasar Schonberg von Brenkenhoff had created 1,200 new villages and hamlets with 300,000 immigrants settled on wastelands that man had taken back from the relative economic incompetence of nature. Thus, Brenkenhoff proved to be the genuine JeanBaptiste Colbert of Germany.5 Frederick observed: ‘Une nouvelle petite province que l’industrie conquit sur l’ignorance et la paresse’ (French in the original: ‘A new little province that industry conquered over ignorance and laziness’) (http://friedrich.uni-trier.de/de/oeuvresOctavo/4/3/). CONCLUSION The water project of Ostfriesland pushed back the Ocean for hundreds of square kilometers and the Canal du Midi aimed to move ships over hills in two opposite directions at once. Those were miracles born of the scientific creative mind of man for the explicit purpose of increasing relative population-density per square kilometer, and in doing so increasing the power of man over the Universe. The most striking aspect of each and all of those water projects that one might interpret as an outcome of the Peace of Westphalia is that, in demonstrating the mastery of man over nature, each of those projects reflected, proportionately, a rate of change and of progress that had become a new measure of change for human society as a whole. One has only to compare the relative progress of the Languedoc region before the Peace of Westphalia and after the construction of the Canal du Midi, to see how the rate of change, in that region, had qualitatively increased the power of human life. That is a direct expression of natural law, whether it is called cameralism, mercantilism, or the American system of political-economy. The most striking aspect of each and all of the water projects that came out of the Peace of Westphalia is that they demonstrated that each project represented a rate of change and of progress that had become a new measure of economic well-being for human society as a whole. As a result, both the German people and the French people demonstrated their ability to change nature and improve upon it, for the benefit of European development at large. Each one of those projects demonstrated to many that man had more creative powers than nature itself had when left to her own devices. Thus, the Peace of Westphalia’s water projects, each for the benefit of the other, demonstrated that improvements in human cooperation could also be an improvement in human creativity and the environment. NOTES 1

Direct accounts expressing the truthfulness of this paradox are difficult to find; however, other paradoxes reflected the same state of perplexity, such as

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a letter of The Great Elector Frederick William to Mazarin dated 7 April 1659 (see Beaudry 2002: 24). The Avars were a nomadic Mongolean people that had invaded both shores of the Danube River in the Hungarian plains during the sixth century AD and had penetrated as far west as Bavaria by the eighth century AD. According to French historian Louis Pierre Anquetil (1783: 68), the edict stated: ‘From this day forward, along the two banks of the Rhine River and from the adjacent provinces, commerce and transport of goods shall be free of transit for all of the inhabitants, and it will no longer be permitted to impose on the Rhine any new toll, open berth right, customs, or taxation of any denomination and of any sort, whatsoever.’ Details of some of these projects have been discussed in a previous publication (Beaudry 2003). The Brenkenhoff policy implementation is, therefore, very important because it provides a basis for what will later be known as cameralism; that is to say, the German application of the Jean-Baptiste Colbert policy of mercantilism. During his reign, Frederick William II even went as far as creating cameralism chairs in his Prussian University. The policy was already leading to the later protectionist policy of Wilhelm von Kardorff and Otto von Bismarck, in their shaping modern Germany in opposition to the British free-trade policy.

REFERENCES Anquetil, L.P. 1783. Motifs des guerres et des traités de paix de la France pendant les règnes de Louis XIV, Louis XV, et Louis XVI, depuis la paix de Westphalie, en 1648, jusqu’à celle de Versailles. Paris: De L’imprimerie des Lesguillliez, Frères. Beaudry, P. 2002. Peace of Westphalia: France’s Defense of the Sovereign Nation, Executive Intelligence Review 29/46 (29 November): 18–33. Beaudry, P. 2003. The Economic Policy That Made the Peace of Westphalia, Executive Intelligence Review 30/21 (30 May): 18–33. www.larouchepub.com/ other/2003/3021westphalia.html Bougeant, F.S.J. 1744. Histoire du Traité de Westphalie et des Négociations, Vol. 3. Paris: Chez Pierre Jean Mariette. Clément, P. 1867. Lettres, Instructions, et Mémoires de Colbert, Vol. 4, Canal de Languedoc. Paris: Imprimerie Impériale. Henderson, W.O. 2006. Studies in the Economic Policy of Frederick the Great. New York: Routledge. Kleinclausz, A. 1934. Charlemagne. Paris: Librairie Hachette. Lavisse, E.C. 1883. Etudes sur l’histoire de Prusse. Paris: Hachette. Rabelais, F. 1955. Gargantua and Pantagruel. London: Penguin Books. Scherer, H. 1857. Histoire du commerce de toutes les nations depuis les temps anciens jusqu’à nos jours, Vol. 2. Paris: Capelle, Librairie Editeur. Sorel. A. 1883. Essais d’histoire et de critique, les colonies prussiennes. Paris: Plon.

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‘Drawn by Blind Greed’: The Historical Origins of Criticism Regarding the Destruction of the Amazon River’s Natural Resources

José Augusto Pádua

THE FIRST EUROPEANS’ GLIMPSES OF AMAZONIAN NATURE ‘Gold and silver, copper or any other metal, pearls and precious stones, medicines, spices and any other thing related to animals, fish, birds, trees and herbs and other things of any nature or quality.’ This was the list presented by the Spanish Crown to the navigator Vicente Yáñez Pinzon in 1501, indicating the potentially desirable items that he should seek out – keeping one-sixth of the total find for himself – in the region of the large river that he had partially traversed (roughly 20 leagues), at the beginning of the year 1500. The region was still a great unknown, with the name of the river itself remaining in dispute for decades. For some, it was known as ‘Santa Maria de la Mar Dulce’, for others, it was the ‘Marañon’. After the Spanish Dominican missionary Gaspar de Carvajal’s famous account of the expedition along the full course of the river, which was led by Captain Francisco Orellana in 1541–42, the name ‘Amazonas’ began to be associated with the enormous waterway due to the news of the powerful warrior women who supposedly lived there, maintaining various tribes in a state of vassalage. In 1558, as we can see in the famous map of South America by Diogo Homem (Figure 1), the river was showed as a huge serpent-like figure in the extreme north of the continent. We now have a more precise notion of the geographical outlines of the region that was being occupied by the Europeans. Best estimates indicate that the Amazon River is between 6,500 km and 6,800 km in length, with an average width of 5 km. It is the heart of an enormous 6,800,000 km2 river basin, roughly 70 per cent of which is located in the territory of presentday Brazil. This is by far the largest river basin in the world; almost double the size of the second largest (the Congo River basin, with 3,700,000 km2). The Amazon River is a tributary of many other rivers, the 13 largest of which are also remarkable for their size: three of them stretch for more than 3,000 km and another eight of them are more than 2,000 km long. The average

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Figure 1. América Meridional by Diogo Homem (1558), Itamaraty Library, Brazilian Foreign Affairs Ministry, Rio de Janeiro.

discharge of the Amazon River is 214,000,000 l per second, and it is responsible for 15 per cent of the total annual deposit of fresh water into the oceans (Goulding, Barthem and Ferreira 2003: 2). This enormous hydric system is constantly being renewed through a complex system of evapotranspiration. The average annual rainfall for a majority of the region falls between 1,500 mm and 2,500 mm per year, and it can reach as high as 5,000 mm per year in areas near the Andes and 3,000 mm per year in the coastal areas where the mouth of the river meets

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the Atlantic Ocean. This delicate hydrologic system cannot be fully understood without taking into consideration the fact that the basin exists within a region of roughly 6,000,000 km2 of continuous tropical rainforest. From an ecological point of view, the basin and the rainforest are directly and inseparably linked. The trees not only regulate the soil’s absorption of rainfall, but also release water from the soil into the atmosphere, contributing towards a relatively stable distribution of the volume of water in the rivers. Roughly 60 per cent of the region’s rainfall, for example, is directly recycled back into the atmosphere through the rainforest’s transpiration process and the evaporation that occurs at the highest levels of its canopy (Goulding, Barthem and Ferreira 2003: 21). It goes without saying that these facts were unknown to the historical agents of colonization. The lack of a defined understanding of the region’s natural diversity, which appeared to be extremely rich, explains the vaguely inclusive tone of the Royal Capitulation delivered to Captain Pinzon (cited in Ugarte 2003: 5). In fact, there was interest in ‘things of any nature or quality’. However, the common denominator was very clear: natural resources that could be exploited and extracted. The search for these resources – mineral, animal or vegetal – constituted one of the basic economic motivations of the European colonial expansion in the Americas, which was later broadened by the possibility of using large swaths of conquered land for the establishment of monocultural plantations or ranching farms based mainly on exotic species introduced to the New World, such as sugarcane and cattle. There is one aspect that deserves particular attention: the interest in specific elements that could generate commercial wealth largely obscured a vision of the landscape as a whole. Contrary to popular belief, reports of the Europeans’ first encounters with the Amazon region, in stark contrast to the current prevailing image, did not reflect astonishment in the face of a gigantic forest, an ocean of tropical trees. In order to understand this phenomenon, its cultural and subjective aspects must first be examined. The valorization of forests as a whole is a relatively new phenomenon in Western thought. It was the emergence of modern natural science, particularly from the eighteenth century on, that disseminated the idea of the systemic importance of forests with respect to climate, soil fertility and the regular supply of water, while the Romanticism of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, on the other hand, attributed value to grand forest landscapes in the context of an aesthetic of the sublime (Glacken 1967; Thomas 1983; Harrison 1992). It is true that the natural resources of the Brazilian tropics were hailed by ecclesiastical and lay writers throughout the entire colonial period. However, the tendency that can be observed in the first centuries of the colonization of both the Atlantic forest and the Amazon rainforest regions placed much more emphasis on the remarkable elements of the local flora and fauna than on the surrounding forest that served as their habitat.

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Parrots, monkeys, cashews and passion fruit – or, particularly in the case of the Amazon region, turtles, manatees, sarsaparillas and copal trees – received much more attention than the forest as a whole. Even in the cases where a positive reading was made of the wider lansdscape, the presence of fresh air and pure waters received primacy over the woodlands. Indeed, these last elements had a more direct correspondence with signals of health and perfection present in biblical tales and in the medical literature of Mediterranean antiquity, both of which greatly influenced the European post-Renaissance writers in the colonial tropics (Holanda 1968; Assunção 2001). When mentioning the relatively little importance attributed to the forests by the first European colonizers in the Amazon region, it is also necessary to consider an objective factor that is being increasingly confirmed by archaeological and historiographical research. The scale and intensity of the indigenous presence on the margins of the Amazon Basin’s rivers, it now seems, was much greater than previously imagined. Occupation of the lands along the rivers by human groups began at least 11,000 years ago, with the subsequent establishment of fairly dense, hierarchical societies, whose intensive agricultural activities led to considerable deforestation. Upon arrival, the first chroniclers could still report the existence of fortified villages, roads, productive agricultural activity with appreciable surplus, intense movement of canoes, and so on. It was a native world that collapsed and suffered a profound loss in population along the first two centuries of European presence – inclusively due to the force of the epidemiological shock brought about by the introduction of exotic pathogens unknown to the immunological system of the local populations (Cook 1998). It is ironic to observe that the dense forests observed by traveling naturalists during the nineteenth century could turn out to be compounds of secondary sylvan vegetation, resulting from the ecological succession that, over the course of some centuries, reverted abandoned areas of cultivation into thick arboreal vegetation (Cleary 2001a). At any rate, even accepting the validity of studies revealing that the forest landscape encountered by the first chroniclers was much more open than previously thought, the region still would have been home to a green mass of grand proportions, such that the relative absence of attention with respect to the forest as a whole becomes impossible to understand without considering the cultural and subjective factors that shaped the outlook of these travelers. As Barreto and Machado (2001) clearly point out, the image of the Amazonian natural world was shaped by ecclesiastical writers – especially missionaries who accompanied the first expeditions and later participated in the creation of the first permanent missions and Indian settlements under the control of religious orders – until the end of the eighteenth century. These religious intellectuals were focussed on a selective construction of the landscape, in accordance with their own points of

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reference. Their interest in the survival of indigenous populations, for example, due to their potential conversion to Christianity, was greater than that of other members of the political and economic elite. It was fundamental for the Church, in the context of the Counter-Reformation, to increase Catholicism’s demographic base. This quest for a ‘monopoly on souls’ was as important as the quest for a monopoly on natural resources, in which the religious orders participated with the lay agents of economic colonization. The focus on natural resources, therefore, was a common denominator in this process where political conquest and spiritual catechism constituted two sides of the same coin (despite the existence of a complex game of give and take regarding the convergent and divergent interests of the Church’s representatives and those of the colonial authorities). In this sense, the ecclesiastical writers’ presentation of the Amazon region’s natural world shared the pragmatism and exploratory bias that characterized the colonial process as a whole. In Carvajal’s text cited above, for example, the most emphasized and repeated segments dealing with the possible uses of natural resources are about the alimentary potential of turtles, parrots, manatees, monkeys, partridges, cats, different types of fish and the ‘very good biscuits that the Indians make from corn and cassava and many fruits of all kinds’. Of course, also present was the desire for precious metals and stones, indications of which occasionally appeared in jewelry worn by the Indians and in tales of the abundance of gold and silver further inland (at least this was the understanding arrived at by the avid European listeners) (Carvajal 2002: 22, 25, 30 and 31). The account also mentions, among other elements from that natural universe, the existence of cotton to spin, the ‘abundance of mosquitoes’ and the fruit-bearing trees. Incidentally, the trees mainly appear in indirect commentaries, such as cases of cutting wood in order to build or repair boats, villages fortified with ‘a rampart of thick timber’ and the search for nocturnal refuge in ‘oak valleys’. The fact that the author uses the image of a forest of oak trees (Quercus pirenaica), a tree typical of the Iberian peninsula, in identifying the Amazonian woodlands, is significant. It is a clear indicator of how difficult it was to translate, culturally, with European eyes, a biodiversity and landscape so different from that to which they were accustomed. Moreover, the praise of this landscape does not appear in terms of its intrinsic value, but instead in terms of its potential conversion into something more civilized and palatable: ‘It is temperate land, where much wheat will be reaped and all types of fruit will be cultivated. Furthermore, it is equipped to raise all types of livestock, due to the existence of many herbs, much like in our native Spain’ (Carvajal 2002: 23, 26, 32, 35 and 36). There is, in essence, not much diversity among the visions appearing in two important accounts written by ecclesiastical writers in the century that followed, which were related to the journey commanded by Pedro Teixeira

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in 1637–39. It is true that the ‘Report of the Discovery of the River of the Amazons’, written by Father Alonso de Rojas, features a more evident perception of the forest landscape, in that there is mention of ‘the margins of these rivers being populated with trees so high they reach the clouds’ and the inland areas possessing mountains covered with ‘very good trees: tall and thick’. But as the narration continues, it leaves the forest behind and focuses on individual trees, especially their potential uses and the manner in which some of them are cut down. In addition, a list of useful animal and vegetal species is presented anew, as well as the ever-present indicators of the greatly desired precious metals (de Rojas 2002: 164–6). In another account inspired by the expedition of Pedro Teixeira, the famous ‘New Discovery of the Great River of the Amazons’, written by Father Cristóbal de Acuña and published in 1641, the same basic pattern of incorporating the Amazonian natural world into European culture reappears, although with greater depth of detail and expository capacity. The text synthesizes the period’s vision regarding the geography of the Amazon River, including its origin, the peculiarities of its outline and its principal fluvial inlets. It also furnishes a more explicit, albeit brief, vision of the forest landscape, upon mentioning the ‘freshness of all of its river banks that, crowned with varied and beautiful trees, give the appearance of insistently and eternally revealing new lands, where nature perfects itself and art is manifested’. The narrative’s nucleus, however, continues to be the individual description of natural elements, grouped in encyclopedically delineated sections: beverages, fruits, fish, turtles, game, timber, metals, and so on. The economic axis of colonization, according to Acuña, should be centered on the extraction of timber and the cultivation of three especially promising products: cocoa beans, tobacco and sugar cane, this last element due to the author’s impression that the lands along the rivers were composed of a type of black, fertile, clayey soil found in north-eastern Brazil, known as massapé, which is especially suitable for cultivating sugar cane (Acuña 2002: 182–3). It is important to keep in mind that in none of these accounts from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries appears concern about the destructive exploitation of natural resources and less still about the possibility of the forest being laid to waste. For example, Acuña mentions the Indians’ use of the bitter bark of a woody Amazon vine called timbó, which contains a fish poison, to intoxicate fish and facilitate their removal from the surface of the water, without passing critical judgment on the practice, in contrast to the subsequent writers from the nineteenth century (Acuña 2002: 181; Pádua 2002: 191). The reigning image during the conquest of the Amazon region was one of an abundance of natural elements that could not be threatened by human action, even if the productive practices of the Indians and the first colonists could appear to be rudimentary and aggressive.

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THE BIRTH OF CRITICISM REGARDING THE DESTRUCTIVE USE OF AMAZONIAN RESOURCES The Portuguese occupation along the Amazon River, which followed the foundation of the city of Belém in 1616, can be described as a ‘low-intensity colonization’. The Portuguese state was successful in expelling other Europeans, including the English, the Irish and the Dutch, who during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were making attempts to establish trading posts or colonial settlements on the banks of the great river. The creation of a system of military forts and garrisons strategically placed to guarantee control of the main riverways began soon afterwards. The indigenous populations were greatly weakened by epidemics and subjugated through wars and the establishment of Catholic missions. The Portuguese settlements established economic exchanges and the use of semi-forced indigenous manual labor in military actions and productive activities. During this conquest, many in the native population lost their tribal connections and were incorporated into the new mestizo society that began forming in the region. Regardless, demographic density and economic productive capacity remained relatively low until the end of the nineteenth century. At the time of Brazil’s independence, in 1822, with an overall population of roughly 4,000,000 people, the Amazon region had only roughly 120,000 inhabitants, at least in the parts officially and effectively under Portuguese control. This small population lived through fishing, the extraction of products from the forest, and the establishment of relatively small plantations of cocoa beans, sugarcane, and so forth (Oliveira 1983; Pádua 1997). The ‘low intensity’ of this model of colonization should be seen as an historical problem worthy of investigation, given that the region was not far from Europe and did not present the Portuguese with greater navigational problems than the littoral regions of the Brazilian north-east and south-east. Yet it was in these latter regions that a large majority of the population and the colonial economic activities – centered on the establishment of sugar mills and plantations, and, subsequently, gold mines – were concentrated. It should be noted the regions of the Brazilian northeast and south-east were also covered with tropical forests, part of the ecological system that is now referred to as the ‘Mata Atlântica’ (Atlantic Forest), which presented difficulties similar to those found in the Amazon region in terms of the productive occupation of this type of terrain. There remains, however, a geographic differential that must be taken into account: the size of the rivers. The classic works by historian Gilberto Freyre regarding the establishment of the sugar industry in the Brazilian north-east, which display a keen sense of environmental awareness, emphasized the importance of mid-sized rivers and fair winds in the colonization process (Freyre 2004 [1936]). I believe that a reversal of this logic could be applied to the Amazon region. Given the technological

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possibilities and productive forces available to the Portuguese at the time, the sheer enormity of the Amazon basin’s rivers was a factor to discourage an economic occupation of the region. This is not a case of geographic determinism, but, rather, it is a recognition of the biophysical factors present among history’s tangible dynamics. The relative dimensions of the regional environment, especially its network of rivers, made its colonization difficult. It was certainly not the only factor, but it was a component that cannot be ignored. It should be noted that up until the end of the nineteenth century the Amazon did not offer any specific natural product whose economic value might justify any major investments of private capital and public infrastructure. When this product subsequently appeared, as the rubber produced from the native Seringueira tree (Hevea brasiliensis) became essential to the growing automobile industry, economic occupation experienced a genuine quantitative and qualitative leap. It must not be forgotten that during the ‘rubber boom’ years (between 1880 and 1913), the field of technological possibilities was already quite diverse, including the presence of the steam engine and the use of fossil fuels (Dean 1987). However, the scale of the destruction of the Amazon region’s forests and natural resources during the colonial period – and even in the post-colonial period up until the end of the nineteenth century – pales in comparison with that which began in the final decades of the twentieth century. It is calculated that, up until 1970, roughly 99 per cent of the original Brazilian Amazon rainforest cover was still standing. Today only 82 per cent remains (Pádua 1997). It goes without saying that this type of macro-historical measurement, which serves for a present-day analysis of the problem, cannot be projected into the consciousness of the social actors of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is therefore interesting to observe that even in the context of that historical period and the relative dimensions of daily life at the time, certain voices began to rise up against what they considered to be predatory and wasteful uses of these resources. Examining these perceptions, which go beyond specific historical interest, helps in understanding the current debate over the ecological future of the region. The appearance of systematic criticism regarding the destruction of Amazonian natural resources is intertwined with the entrance into that universe, from the eighteenth century onward, of a new social actor: lay and professional traveling naturalists. This presence is intertwined with the historical moment in which some European intellectuals, based on the new theories spreading in the Academies of Science about the importance of woodlands for the biological and climatic health of territories – and consequently the economic outlook for their productive capacity – began to harshly condemn the devastation of the natural world. In the LusoBrazilian world in particular, this manner of thinking has fairly precise origins. In 1772, the Universidade de Coimbra went through a significant

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reform, whose objective was to bring it closer to the new currents in natural philosophy and political economy that were being developed at the time. In order to participate in this reform, the Italian naturalist Domenico Vandelli settled in Portugal, where he spread Linnaeus, Buffon and Duhamel du Monceau’s ideas on the ‘economy of nature’, associated with the theses of the Physiocratic economic school of thought with respect to the valorization of primary resources. For significant sectors of the Portuguese political élite, this academic reform effort had clear economic meanings. An improved understanding of nature, especially in the rich colonial regions, would serve to generate productive advances, including the discovery of new techniques that would promote greater efficiency and lessen destructiveness in the use of natural resources. The era’s scientific and political context essentially favored demands for a more careful relationship with the natural landscape, especially forests. The so-called ‘desiccation theory’, developed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by English and French academics, related the destruction of native vegetation with a reduction in humidity, rains and natural springs, causing real harm to the rural economy (Grove 1995: 153–65). In addition, new techniques in silviculture were demonstrating that it was possible to extract timber in an intelligent and non-destructive manner, preserving a forest’s base through management and reforestation. This last point, incidentally, became rather important in late eighteenthcentury European politics. With the development of military conflicts following the French Revolution, different European powers became concerned about having a guaranteed supply of timber for their warships, establishing policies and legislation that sought to contain the destruction of woodlands in the metropolitan and colonial areas. The presence of this intellectual cultural mix in the Amazon region is evidenced by the famous ‘philosophical voyage’ carried out in the region between 1783 and 1793 by Alexandre Rodrigues Ferreira, a direct disciple of Vandelli. However, before addressing the historical importance of this individual, who can be classified as the founder of a systematic criticism of the destruction of Amazonian natural resources, it is necessary to comment upon a magnificent work that, on the one hand, represents the apotheosis of regional nature descriptions present in the works of ecclesiastical missionaries and, on the other hand, shows a clear transition towards the rationalist reform movement later made explicit by Rodrigues Ferreira and other naturalists: ‘Treasure Discovered on the Great Amazon River’, written by Jesuit Father João Daniel between 1757 and 1776. In order to understand this work’s context, it must be remembered that before and during the long historical construction process of the lay and professional naturalist identity, whose contours came to be defined between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, it was Church intellectuals who dedicated themselves to collecting and systematizing information about the nature and native inhabitants of the new worlds

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being reached, and in reality created, by the European expansion. This function can clearly be seen in the authors cited in the previous section, who sought to present to the European eye a concrete, albeit selective, image of the Amazon region and its native peoples. This protonaturalist and proto-ethnographic effort also appears in texts it is not possible to analyze here, such as parts of Cristóbol de Acuña’s book that deal with indigenous customs and the annotations and drawings of the Franciscan Cristóvão de Lisboa about the ‘History of the Animals and Trees of Maranhão’, produced at the beginning of the seventeenth century. However, the extraordinary work of João Daniel separates itself from the previous texts in three ways: the conditions of its production, its breadth of scope and the author’s political sensibility. In 1757, amidst rising tensions between the Society of Jesus and the government of Portuguese Prime Minister Marquês de Pombal, which would two years later culminate in the expulsion of the Jesuits from all of the Portuguese territories, Father Daniel was imprisoned and deported to Portugal together with nine other ecclesiastics. Accused of offending Governor Francisco de Mendonça Furtado, Pombal’s half-brother and the executor of his economic project for the Amazon region, he was held until the year of his death, in 1776. This essentially means that the author wrote his voluminous treatise, of more than 1,000 manuscript pages, without consulting libraries and without participating in intellectual debates, making use only of a scant offer of paper and the possibility of exchanging information, in partial and indirect ways, with his fellow prisoners. The wretched conditions under which the book was produced make the defined scope of its elaboration even rarer still. Father Daniel gave himself the challenge of writing a vast and complete treatise, a veritable encyclopedia of the Amazon region in the eighteenth century. And he largely succeeded bringing this project to fruition. Moreover, he was able to do it with lucid, often ironic and humorous, writing. For example, upon presenting a long list of the region’s fishing options, the author recognized his inability to account for the entirety of what would today be referred to as the ‘Amazonian biodiversity’, exclaiming ‘enough about fish; the truth is that I have not yet stated even a tenth of the diverse species nurtured by the Amazon’ (Daniel 2004: I, 148). Throughout his long discourse on geographic accidents, game, fruits, timber, herbs, minerals and other aspects of the region’s rich natural setting – in addition to detailed explanations about the life and culture of the indigenous tribes – Daniel displayed a delicious eighteenth-century eclecticism, in which he mixed empirical observations, citations from classical writers, Greco-Roman mythological allusions and Catholic moralist preaching. Nevertheless, what should be highlighted in the context of the present article is the political and reformist sensibility of ‘Treasure Discovered’.

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Father Daniel came to affirm that all of his descriptions about the region and its inhabitants were merely a ‘preamble’ to the final parts of the book, where he presents a type of alternative colonization plan. As the historian Kelerson Costa has clearly shown (Costa 2002), Father Daniel was perhaps the first intellectual to formulate an integrated project for the occupation of the Amazon region that would correct the errors of the past and would permit its inhabitants to ‘easily enjoy the fruits and profits its great abundance’. His book left it fairly clear that the real ‘treasure’ discovered by him in the Amazon region was not the tropical nature in and of itself, but instead the possibility of transforming it into economic wealth; a potential that was being aborted by the insistence on adopting exploitative methods that required great amounts of effort and labor, with the result being that only a few large slave-holding landowners could enjoy the fruits and profits of the region. Daniel’s utopia, to consolidate the colonization and the triumph of Christianity in the Amazon region, lay in facilitating the arrival of poor families from Europe, through the free distribution of lands and the redirecting of agriculture to the regions along the river’s margins, taking advantage of the natural fertilization produced by the river’s floods. The regional economy would then transform itself from extractive to domesticative, in such a way that the medicinal herbs of Brazil’s interior (known as the sertão) and the acclimated European species could be cultivated in the backyards of family properties. In order to facilitate this less elitist occupation of the region, infrastructural reforms would be needed, such as a fluvial public transportation system and the dissemination of different types of machines. It cannot be said that Daniel’s reformist reflections radically broke with the traditional consideration of Amazonian resources as largely abundant, inaugurating an explicit critical concern about the maleficence of their destructive use. But some elements in his writings begin take shape in this direction. One example is his criticism of the colonists’ insistence on cultivating cassava. At first such criticism seems prejudiced and extemporaneous. Farina made from cassava, also known as manioc flour, a traditional regional food, is classified as requiring ‘excessive labor in its cultivation’, having ‘insipid taste’, and whose ‘characteristics or sap are venomous’. However, the deeper question at issue was the routine method of cassava cultivation, based on the burning of areas of firm land forest. According to Daniel, the burnings were laborious and offered little in compensation, hampering the settlement of family-based farming. Another important issue was the fact that regular burnings exhausted the soil at the end of the cycle of exploitation, preventing agriculture from becoming ‘stable and permanent’. Therefore, what remained was the inconvenience of ‘advancing the cleared land into new areas and forests, year after year, with the annual repetition, as we have mentioned, of a great amounts of toil that is only useful for that particular year and is lost in all future years’.

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Even more serious still was the ‘danger of consuming all of the forests and lands in the inhabited regions, with the subsequent need to seek new lands’ (Daniel 2004: II, 188). It should be noted that what is being discussed here, contrary to that discussed by the previously mentioned authors, are the uses and the destiny of the forest as a whole, not just individual trees. It is, in effect, one of the first warnings present in the history of the Amazonian social literature about the danger, provoked by a continual clearing of the land, of exhausting the woodlands on agricultural properties. Daniel’s alternative proposal was to introduce the cultivation of wheat and other European grains to the lands around the Amazon Basin rivers, taking advantage of the natural fertility produced by the swelling of the river and giving up fire in favor of hoeing the soil and using easy and effective techniques, such as the practice of the Baré Indians of killing trees without fire by using incisions to interrupt the circulation of sap (Daniel 2004: II, part V). In any event, the outlines of environmental criticism seen in João Daniel became much more explicit in the writings of the naturalists that traveled through or lived in the Brazilian Amazon beginning in the second half of the eighteenth century (for an overview, see Cleary 2001b). The work of Alexandre Rodrigues Ferreira, as was previously mentioned, maintains a special place within this tradition, given the duration and breadth of his

Figure 2. José Joaquim Freire, Drawing of the boat used by Alexandre Rodrigues Ferreira’s Philosophical Journey to the Amazon, 1784–1792, Brazilian National Library, Rio de Janeiro.

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experience in the Amazon region and the quality of his analyses. This remarkable individual was born in Bahia in 1756 and carried out his studies at the Universidade de Coimbra in Portugal between 1770 and 1778. A few years after concluding his studies, he was commissioned by the Portuguese state to return to Brazil as the head of a philosophical journey – an expedition to collect scientific material and information encountered while traveling, for almost ten years, through vast regions of the northern and western-central parts of the country. It should be understood that Ferreira’s environmental criticism did not completely break from the previous mold of placing more emphasis on the parts than the whole; he focussed much more on the deleterious results of predatory exploitation with respect to certain resources, mainly animals, instead of the consequences of deforestation as a whole. Without a doubt, there is an objective factor in this intellectual decision. The quantitative and qualitative density of the colonial occupation in the Amazon region during the eighteenth century was less significant when compared with the productive poles of the north-east and south-east, which reflected in a diminished visibility of the deforestation. The harm caused by the destruction of forests, provoked by the expansion of the timber industry and the burnings that opened land for monocultural export farming, was being clearly noted by the intellectuals acting in the more established regions of colonial occupation (Pádua 2002: Chapter 2). In the Amazon region, on the other hand, it was more difficult to see the problem when faced with a great abundance of woodlands that were still largely unexploited. However, it also was possible to perceive the impacts of specific predatory extraction practices in a much clearer manner. The exploitative practices with respect to turtles, which were very important to the local population, is a perfect example. In 1786’s ‘Memorial on the Jurararetê’, Ferreira condemned the fact that ‘this amphibian, which is so useful to the State, still does not warrant the care or providence required to avoid the abuses practiced against it. It takes years for a turtle to fully mature. Every year, countless turtles are wasted at the absolute mercy of the Indians; all of the hatching nests are discovered, stepped upon, one after another, and a majority of the baby turtles are eaten without necessity, which, cumulatively, will make them increasingly rare over time.’ Another harmful practice could be found in the so-called corrals, where live turtles were held captive; these were managed in such a poor fashion that many of the turtles died either before or after going into them. Of the 53,468 turtles who went into just two corrals near the village of Barcelos, in the period between 1780 and 1785, only 36,007 were used in a productive manner, while 17,461 died or were wasted (Ferreira 1972a: 41–2). Another destructive practice was the ‘flipping’ of turtles, whereby all of the turtles that came to the beach to lay eggs were flipped on their backs in such a way that they could no longer move, thereby becoming easy

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targets for predators. In his 1788 ‘Diary of the Philosophical Journey along the Rio Negro’, he lamented the lack of foresight among the local population, which greatly needed this animal for its survival. Despite this fact, ‘so completely drawn by blind greed for the edible lard, they wasted more than they made use of, because all of the turtles died; however, not all of them offered sufficient lard and those that did were not used for anything more than their lard; in this way, an infinite number of them, whose lard could have been used for sustenance, were instead thrown into the river after the lard was taken, given that they could not be salted, and in the river they became food for alligators, vultures, piranhas and pirarara fish’ (Ferreira 1993: 665–6). As he continued his journeys, Ferreira noted the same irrationality being adopted in the fishing of another Amazonian animal, the manatee. He strongly condemned the fact that, given ‘this mammal’s many uses’, the fishing continued ‘without any policing’. Such an important resource should be the subject of specific ‘policing’, in order to avoid the adoption of counter-productive practices that, in the end, could lead to extinction: ‘a manatee must spend years in order to fully mature, and all of those that appear are harpooned, even the pregnant females. Females do not give birth to more than two offspring per year. The offspring taken from the womb of the harpooned females do not have any use. All sizes are harpooned, regardless of age. For this reason their rarity in some lakes, where we have not found them for some years, should not come as a surprise’ (Ferreira 1972b: 62–3). The keen perception of the naturalist ultimately revealed itself in the fact that he foresaw a problem that only much later came to hold an important place in public opinion: the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. Analyzing the treatment of the forests as a whole, in a text from 1784, he criticized the colonists who ‘without any measure, overturn everything, without exempting a tree that might be useful, both for its shade and for that which it produces. They have cut down from the beginning and will continue to cut down and burn those which exist.’ The ‘traditional and empirical agriculture’ reigning in the region was incapable of inspiring more rational practices. Planting a field of cassava, according to this logic, meant ‘overturning the forest with the force of a machete and without consideration to the extremities of the trunks, which are still to be cut, nor to the roots below the earth or on the surface. This is done with the understanding that if fire is cast upon everything, in order to undo everything into ash, the terrain has been washed clean.’ Ferreira availed himself of the studies being conducted regarding this method on the island of Martinique, carried out by a French scholar, in order to criticize its lack of efficiency. According to these studies, the soil remaining after the burning of forests was only ‘transitorily fertile’. On Martinique, instead of ‘resorting to fertilizers to increase fertility’, plots were only cultivated for a period of time, in order to ‘carry out a new burning whose benefit

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will not last longer than the first one’. In this way, the area’s forests were being completely destroyed (Ferreira, 1784: 17, 34 and 36). The implicit, fairly evident insinuation was that the same could occur in the Amazon region. It is therefore possible to identify, in Rodrigues Ferreira’s work, the most explicit origins of criticism of the destruction of Amazonian natural resources. But the intellectual legacy of the authors who began acting in the region from the sixteenth century on, despite their lack of a more explicit environmental criticism, is essential in attempting to visualize the creation of an understanding of nature, as well as the definition of productive practices, that followed arrival of the Europeans. Another fundamental aspect to be studied, although it could not be done here due to constraints on space, is the work of the naturalist critics who, in the nineteenth century, followed through on the effort inaugurated by Rodrigues Ferreira by submitting the region’s economic and social practices to rational and reformist evaluations capable of identifying their concrete impacts in the midst of a natural setting of great richness and complexity. From among the names that deserve to be mentioned with respect to that effort to provide continuity, João Martins da Silva Coutinho and Domingos Ferreira Penna deserve to be highlighted among the Brazilians (for more on these authors, see Pádua 2002: chapter 4). From among the foreigners, Alfred Wallace and Henry Bates stand out among those travelers who helped construct a planetary image of the Amazon region in the modern world, including a critique of the wasteful way its resources were being exploited. An analysis of the state of affairs of this intellectual legacy, which remains relatively unstudied, is a fundamental part of seeking solutions, within a wider historical perspective, for the uncertainties of the Amazon region – a task with particular relevance at a moment in which so many are trying to overcome short-term visions and practices in order to build, for the first time, a far-reaching project for the sustainable development of a macroregion so crucial for the future of Brazil and humankind itself. REFERENCES Acuña, C. de. 2002 [1641]. Nuevo Descubrimiento del Gran Rio de las Amazonas, in N. Papavero, D. Teixeira, W. Overal and J. Pujol-Luz (eds), O Novo Éden: A Fauna da Amazônia nos Relatos de Viajantes e Cronistas. Belém: Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi. Assunção, P. de. 2001. A Terra dos Brasis: A Natureza da América Portuguesa vista pelos Primeiros Jesuítas. São Paulo: Ed. Annablume. Barreto, C. and J. Machado. 2001. Exploring the Amazon, Explaining the Unknown: Views from the Past, in C. McEwan, C. Barreto and E. Neves (eds), Unknown Amazon, London: The British Museum Press.

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Barreto, Paulo et al. 2005. Pressão Humana na Floresta Amazônica Brasileira. Belém: Imazon. Carvajal, G. de. 2002 [c. 1543]. Relación, in N. Papavero, D. Teixeira, W. Overal and J. Pujol-Luz (eds), O Novo Éden: A Fauna da Amazônia nos Relatos de Viajantes e Cronistas. Belém: Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi. Cleary, D. 2001a. Towards an Environmental History of the Amazon: From Prehistory to the Nineteenth Century, Latin American Research Review 36/2: 65–96. Cleary, D. 2001b. Science and Representation of Nature in Amazonia: From La Condamine trough Da Cunha to Anna Roosevelt, in I. Vieira, J. Silva, D. Oren and M. d’Incao (eds), Diversidade Biológica e Cultural da Amazônia. Belém: Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi. Cook, N. 1998. Born to Die: Disease and New World Conquest. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Costa, K. 2002. Homens e Natureza na Amazônia Brasileira: Dimensões. Brasília: tese de Doutorado, Universidade de Brasília. Daniel, J. 2004. Tesouro Descoberto no Máximo Rio Amazonas. Rio de Janeiro: Ed. Contraponto. Dean, Warren. 1987. Brazil and the Struggle for Rubber. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ferreira, A.R. 1784. Estado Presente da Agricultura do Pará. Rio de Janeiro: Manuscrito da Biblioteca Nacional (n. 21,1,16). Ferreira, A.R. 1972a [1786]. ‘Memória sobre a Jurararetê’ in Viagem Filosófica – Memórias Zoologia e Botânica. Brasília: Conselho Federal de Cultura. Ferreira, A.R. 1972b [1786]. ‘Memória sobre o Peixe-boi’ in Viagem Filosófica – Memórias Zoologia e Botânica. Brasília: Conselho Federal de Cultura. Ferreira, A.R. 1993 [1785–88]. Viagem Filosófica ao Rio Negro. Belém: Museu Goeldi. Freyre, Gilberto. 2004 [1936]. Nordeste. São Paulo: Global. Glacken, C. 1967. Traces on the Rhodian Shore. Berkeley: University of California Press. Goulding, M., R. Barthem and Efrem Ferreira. 2003. The Smithsonian Atlas of the Amazon. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books. Grove, R. 1995. Green Imperialism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Harrison, R. 1992. Forests: The Shadow of Civilization. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press. Holanda, S.B. de. 1968. Visão do Paraíso (second edition). São Paulo: Editora Nacional. Oliveira, Adélia. 1983. Ocupação Humana, in E. Salati, H. Shubart, W. Junk and A. Oliveira, Amazônia: Desenvolvimento, Integração, Ecologia, São Paulo: Editora Brasiliense. Pádua, J.A. 1997. Biosphere, History and Conjuncture in the Analysis of the Amazon Problem, in M. Redclift and G. Woodgate (eds), The International Handbook of Environmental Sociology, London: Edward Elgar. Pádua, J.A. 2002. Um Sopro de Destruição: Pensamento Político e Crítica Ambiental no Brasil Escravista. Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar Editor. de Rojas, A. 2002 [1639]. Relación Del Descubrimiento del Rio de Las Amazonas, in N. Papavero, D. Teixeira, W. Overal and J. Pujol-Luz (eds), O Novo Éden: A

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Fauna da Amazônia nos Relatos de Viajantes e Cronistas. Belém: Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi. Thomas, K. 1983. Man and the Natural World: A History of Modern Sensibility. New York: Pantheon. Ugarte, A. 2003. Margens Míticas: A Amazônia no Imaginário Europeu do Século XVI, in M. Del Priore and F. Gomes (eds), Os Senhores dos Rios: Amazônia, Margens e Histórias. Rio de Janeiro: Ed. Campus.

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Water and the Partitioning of Southern Africa: The British Presence on the Shire River from the 1850s to 1900

Dean Kampanje-Phiri

INTRODUCTION By the end of the nineteenth century, all but a few of the African countries were partitioned among the powerful European nations. Since then, many analysts have attempted to investigate the dimensions of colonialism including its initiation and justifications. Malawi with its colonial history has also not been exempted from this process. Similarly to many colonial histories, the historical interpretations of the imperial process in Malawi encompass diverse positions regarding the intentions behind the colonial rule establishment in the country. Most analysts, though, argue that colonisation was effected as a response to an urgent need to abolish the slave trade and instead promote Christianity and commerce. In this line of interpretation, some attribute British imperialism in Malawi to the need to establish authority and crush slave trade (Pike 1968: 103). Others attribute it to the self-interests of the planters and missionaries who were hampered by slave-trading activities and therefore envisaged British colonial administration as a solution to their predicaments (Magolowondo 2007: 11). Hanna, on the other hand, attributed the colonial establishment in Malawi to the imminent threat from the Portuguese in Mozambique, whose political claims over Malawi could only be dismissed if Britain established imperial rule itself (Hanna 1960: 102). Similarly, many more historians have argued along these lines, which have predominated in the colonial discourse on Malawi. Intriguingly, other analysts have contributed to the colonial discourse from other important but rare angles; for example Price, who tackled this subject from the hydrological perspective. Based on his interpretation, the British colonised Malawi in order to streamline the management of Shire River–Lake Malawi watercourse so that those seeking to use it would only be subjected to one authority (Price 1966: 15). Not attempting to relegate these interpretations, this chapter attempts to explore the activities of the

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British on the Shire River in the period between the 1850s and 1900 and demonstrate how the river route significantly contributed to the official annexation of the country as a British protectorate. This chapter argues that the resultant delimitation of the country’s frontiers was significantly influenced by the British ambitions to exercise control over the country, with the Shire River and Lake Malawi as vital water courses for a broader imperial strategy. The chapter also acknowledges the interests of the Scottish traders and missionaries as substantial in the whole imperial process, and that through the water route and Stevenson road argument, for instance, they were able to solicit support in Britain to further their cause. By specifically exploring river transportation, changing hydrological regimes and dynamic political shifts both in Africa and Europe during this period, this chapter demonstrates how the river, though often overlooked, was an important contributory factor in bringing Malawi under the British sphere of influence. SHIRE RIVER PHYSIOGRAPHY Shire River lies in the most southern end of the Great Rift Valley that extends from Jordan to a little south of the Zambezi (Mandala 1990: 3). The river arises at Samama, the southern tip of Lake Malawi, and transverses the southern region of Malawi from its north end to its south end. From its source to the Malawi–Mozambique border at the southern tip of the country, the river is approximately 426 km in length and transverses two plains. These plains are separated from each other in the middle

Figure 1. The longitudinal profile of Shire River from Lake Malawi to Mozambique border (Norconsult 2003b).

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section as the river drops 370 m over a distance of 73 km. In both the upper and the lower sections, the river flows at shallow gradients of 0.00012 and 0.00026 per cent respectively (Norconsult 2003a: 7). As it is the only outlet of Lake Malawi, the Shire’s discharge is largely dependent on the water levels in the lake. As the level of water declines in the lake, flow is reduced in the Shire where at a lake level of 471.5 m above sea level and below the flow may not be sustained at all (Norconsult 2003a: 1). This sensitivity has consequently varied the Shire River’s mean discharge from 0 m³/s between 1910 and 1935 to as high as 979 m³/s in the late 1970s to the early 1980s (Norconsult 2003b). Furthermore, the river exhibits seasonal as well as decadal variations in water levels. Around 80–90 per cent of the country’s runoff occurs in the wettest months of December to April (Ng’ong’ola 1999: 9). The situation also gets more complex due to alternating periods of high and low water levels (Pike 1968: 212–13). The physiography and hydrology of the river have been an utmost challenge to navigation ever since Dr David Livingstone’s early explorations in the country. THE BRITISH PIONEER EXPLORATIONS ON THE SHIRE The British involvement in Africa in the nineteenth century was multidimensional but more significantly revolved around two important factors: addressing the increasing demand for raw materials in Britain following the Industrial Revolution, and addressing the ills of slave trade which were well known by the close of the eighteenth century (Tindall 1968: 81; Bridges 1963: 30). The British involvement in various countries was initiated by different cadres of people who in one way or another shaped or aided the colonial process for those particular countries. For Malawi, its colonial history is very much associated with the name of Dr David Livingstone, a Scottish missionary and a doctor, who carried out pioneer explorations in the country. His motivation as a missionary was to bring slave trade in the continent to its conclusion. This often forms a strong basis for arguing that the resultant annexation of the country in 1891 had something to do with the abolition of the slave trade. As previously stated, this chapter will argue differently and demonstrate that while the latter British involvement in the country was catalysed by Livingstone’s calls and visions, the final political settlement of frontiers had little to do with it. The British colonial process in Malawi took advantage of the failure of the Portuguese to sustain a permanent presence in the country due to the latter’s mercantilist approach to their colonial expansion. Even though the Portuguese explored Malawi as early as the beginning of the seventeenth century, limited trade engagements of the locals as well as lack of valuable minerals worth exploiting rendered the country less attractive to them. Much more so, the Portuguese were more interested in trade and not just political conquest in this part of Africa (Pachai 1973: 69). Consequentially,

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the Portuguese streamlined much of their focus towards the areas south of the Zambezi where the Monomotapa Kingdom was thriving and had longterm trading engagements with the Arab merchants (Tindall 1968: 38). Even though focus was concentrated to the south of the Zambezi, the areas north of it were not entirely excluded from the picture. If the need arose, the Portuguese settlers envisioned the exploitation of the water systems and overland routes north of the Zambezi to advance their future mining and commercial explorations (Pachai 1973: 66). By the time the British arrived in Malawi and the surrounding areas in the middle of the nineteenth century, there was hardly any recognisable Portuguese influence in the area. However, to access the interior, the British had to pass through Portuguese territories on both sides of the continent. Livingstone attempted to open up trade routes to the coast for the development of commerce as a way to end the slave trade, spread Christianity and bring civilisation to Africa. Initially, he tried to link the African interior with the west coast, but failed in his attempt (Tindall 1968: 89–90). When Livingstone’s attention shifted to the east coast, the success of his plan depended on how navigable the Zambezi River was (Tindall 1968: 90). At the same time, Livingstone stopped working for the London Missionary Society and instead led a government-sponsored expedition that aimed to assess the navigability of the Zambezi River and its tributaries for commercial exploitation (Hanna 1960: 50). However, the Kebrabassa

Source: wikimedia.org.

Figure 2. Map of the Zambezi Basin, of which Malawi is part.

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(Cahora Bassa) rapids proved impassable, contrary to what Livingstone had previously believed. The rapids could not be conquered by the power of the steam engine as previously envisaged by Livingstone (Tindall 1968: 90–1). Consequently, Dr David Livingstone was forced to reroute his course in 1858, which took him up the Shire River, the Zambezi River tributary (Livingstone et al. 1861: 262–3). This change in navigational course marked the beginning of the British presence on the Shire River, Lake Malawi and the surrounding areas Within a period of five years, Dr Livingstone made a couple of journeys to Malawi and in the process reached Lake Chirwa in 1858 and Lake Malawi the following year. Generally, explorations on the African Lakes stimulated the minds of those who were interested in Africa, as the water bodies provided the opportunities to utilise steamboats to open up Africa for commerce (Bridges 1963: 25). In his letter dated 15 October 1859, Dr Livingstone also made important hydrological observations regarding the Shire. According to these observations, the river demonstrated seasonal variations in water levels of at least 2 feet between the wet and dry seasons (Livingstone et al 1861: 277). For the purpose of navigation, this notation was significant because it had an important bearing on the seasonal navigability of the river. Dr Livingstone’s voyages to Malawi initiated the process that ultimately changed the political, economic and social landscapes of the country, despite taking the explorations on a geographical quest. As Livingstone desired to simultaneously introduce and promote commerce and Christianity in the explored areas (Pachai 1973: 71), he had a particular interest for cotton and aspired to engage other westerners to introduce legitimate trade for it. He believed that creating a cotton empire in Africa would undermine the American cotton industry economically, a development that would eliminate the need for slaves in the Americas (Terry 1961: 27). Furthermore, Livingstone also pioneered the calls for the colonisation of the African interior (Malawi inclusive), as he believed that British colonisation would effectively counteract slave trade in the area. The immediate aftermath of Livingstone’s explorations was increased geographical attention to the region, such as a geographical debate that ensued at the Royal Geographical Society regarding the source of Lake Malawi, which Livingstone’s explorations failed to ascertain (Livingstone 1863–64: 258–60). While being successful geographically, Livingstone’s explorations faced shortcomings in invigorating interest to develop commerce in the African interior. The general perception of the people of the African interior as barbarians kindled less interest to commence trade in the region. In addition, the Zambezi River was perceived as not navigable in the British sense – for example, the presence of numerous rapids on the river course – which was counter-productive to any significant trade development (Livingstone 1859–60: 21–2). Furthermore, the Royal Geographical Society, which was actively involved in Livingstone’s

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expeditions, was less keen on taking up commercial avenues in Africa because of its policy to avoid undertakings other than those that were geographical in nature (Bridges 1963: 35). THE BRITISH ACTIVITIES ON THE SHIRE RIVER Livingstone’s explorations failed to convince the Europeans to take up active occupation in the areas he had just explored for the development of commerce and the spread of Christianity. However, the atmosphere changed in 1873, following Livingstone’s death, as many volunteers came forward to continue what Livingstone had initiated in Africa (Tindall 1968: 104). Concisely, even though Livingstone’s expeditions introduced Malawi to the British, it was the advent of Scottish missionaries that initiated the establishment of the country as a British protectorate (Pachai 1973: 71). The Free Church of Scotland established the Livingstonia Mission in 1875 along the west shores of Lake Malawi, while the Established Church of Scotland established the Blantyre Mission in 1876 in Blantyre. They both used the Shire Zambezi waterway as the entry point to Malawi, as it was then the best-known and only well-studied route to this part of Africa. Collectively, they built the Illala in 1875 at the Kongoni mouth of the Zambezi (Hetherwick 1903: 326), which was also used in Malawi to facilitate communication between the two mission stations. With it they sailed along the Zambezi and Shire Rivers up to the base of the Murchison Falls, where they dismantled the ship. Porters were then sourced to carry the ship’s parts to the head of the cataracts, where it was reassembled and sailed again along the river through to the lake. In order to facilitate this route, a 60 mile road was later constructed between the foot and the head of the cataracts passing through Blantyre. As such, the river route establishment in Malawi was attributed to the Scotch enterprises (Hetherwick 1903: 326–7). This route enabled people and goods to be transported from London to the north end of Lake Malawi mostly by water, an undertaking that was considered remarkable by the British. The Zambezi–Shire water route gradually became the most often-used route into the African interior. This development was not entirely surprising. Based on Livingstone’s early explorations, the west coast was ruled out as an entry point to the African interior. In addition, the limitations posed by the Cahora Bassa Rapids on the Zambezi made Shire River, despite some navigational challenges, the only plausible option as far as navigation was concerned. Thus the whole transport and export architecture in Malawi was framed around the exploitation of the Shire River. The early missionaries and traders placed all their hopes on steam engines as a means to access export markets at a relatively lower cost. Consequentially, little or no effort was put on the exploitation of the overland routes that had for generations served the Africans and Arabs alike (McCracken 1977: 198).

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Some of the British in Africa had also long desired to extend their influence from the Southern Cape to Cairo. This very fact could have probably contributed to how Malawi and Zambia were partitioned. With some of the European powers already occupying some of the coastal territories, this British dream could only be realised if the African interior was brought under its influence. With limited or completely non-existent transport infrastructure, the rivers and lakes were vital resources to further this cause. Partly, the Shire–Zambezi waterway was fundamental to the accomplishment of such a goal. Linking Lakes Malawi and Tanganyika with the possibility of linking Lake Tanganyika to Lake Victoria, the possibility of extending the British Empire in the whole of the African interior seemed not far-fetched. Even though the Shire–Zambezi waterway was the most exploited watercourse in British Central Africa, navigational challenges arising from flow irregularities, presence of rapids and, particularly for Zambezi, lack of easy access from the coast into the main river channel limited the trade potential of the interior (Warthin 1928: 307). Particularly for the region in general, the major drawback was lack of good communication channels from the coast in order to access the great lakes of the interior (Hanna 1960: 66–7; Bridges 1963: 30–1). However, these limitations did little to discourage the Scottish missionaries and traders in their desire to extend the trade route northwards. Instead, propositions were drafted by Dr Stewart, the first head of the Free Church of Scotland Mission (Hanna 1960: 58), regarding the establishment of a link between Lakes Malawi and Tanganyika. Through his work undertaken in 1879, Stewart explored the land lying between Lakes Malawi and Tanganyika. It was also Stewart who provided the remaining pieces of geographical information on Lake Malawi.1 The study ascertained that there was no connection between the two lakes as previously supposed, and that any connection between them (most feasible, a road) had to be physically constructed. Embarking on such a project required a substantial amount of funds and skills. These propositions were forwarded to the Royal Geographical Society with the hope of consolidating efforts, and strategies for linking the two lakes were developed in May 1881 (Stewart 1881: 272). To attain project success, all the would-be participating enterprises encompassing the Free Church of Scotland Livingstonia Mission, the African Lakes Company and the London Missionary Society had to be brought on board. Both the Livingstonia Mission and the African Lakes Company had their operations in Malawi, while the London Missionary Society had its operations around Lake Tanganyika. The African Lakes Company was formed under the name of the Livingstonia Central Africa Company in 1878 as a commercial arm of the Livingstonia Mission initiated by Dr Stewart with the assistance of James Stevenson, a wealthy Glasgow merchant (Hanna 1960: 67). The new name (African Lakes Company) was only assumed in 1879.

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While funds had been pledged and several men were willing to work on the project, these could only be made available if conditions set up for the project were met. Under these conditions, the Free Church Livingstonia Mission was required to open up a mission station along the proposed road at Maliwandu, while the London Missionary Society (LMS) was required to operate a ship on Lake Tanganyika as well as open up and maintain an office on the proposed road at Mambwe. The third enterprise, the African Lakes Company, was compelled to extend its activities to as far north as Lake Tanganyika. Mr. James Stevenson, the principal financer of the Stevenson Road Project, pegged at £4,000, was a wealthy Glasgow chemical manufacturer and the first chairman of the African Lakes Company (Stewart 1881: 272; McCarthy 2004: 2. The project had important implications for the Shire Route because of its significance particularly in regard to conditions set for the LMS. The LMS had to permanently use the Shire–Lake Malawi route to their mission station on the shores of Lake Tanganyika (Stewart 1881: 272). Subscribing to this condition gave credence to the Shire–Zambezi waterway as the main access route into Central Africa. Prior to the time of the road proposition, even though the Zambezi–Shire–Lake Malawi watercourse provided the door to the interior, without extending the river route further, it basically provided a dead end. Thus the road (later known as the Stevenson road) aimed to open the door even wider and thereby enhance the value of the river route. For those who operated on it, such increased value would consequently elevate their eminence. Interestingly, Wolf interpreted this as just Stewart’s tactics in his bid to monopolise transportation into the interior of Africa (Wolf 1971: 370). The timing of the road project proposition was also significant as it coincided with increasing water levels in both the Lake Malawi and Shire River, which eased navigation except for those areas that were already geographically constrained such as the rapids. Without doubt, the African Lakes Company, being the only commercial enterprise of the three, was to gain significantly from the funding conditions. The LMS would have provided permanent business to the company and thereby strengthened the company’s position. This could be the reason why Wolf interpreted Stewart’s actions as monopolistic as both Stewart and Stevenson, who were influential in this project design, were also highly involved with the initiation of the African Lakes Company. From a purely commercial view point, though, by establishing trading stations on top of utilising rivers and lakes, a market catchment of more than 6,000,000 square miles could be served (McCarthy 2004: 3). Hence the Royal Geographical Society generally perceived the connection of the two lakes the probable means to offer the best prospects for commercial access into the African interior (Stewart 1881: 276). The LMS accepted the Stevenson Road proposal on 17 March 1881, even though funds for the project were given to the missions on 17 February 1881 (Hanna 1960: 69; Wolf 1971: 368–9). Without much delay,

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Figure 3. Observed and reconstructed water levels in Lake Malawi since 1800 (Norconsult 2003b).

construction work on the Stevenson Road commenced in 1883, and by 1884 the LMS placed a steamer, the Good News, on Lake Tanganyika to complete the route (Hetherwick 1903: 327). The presence of the missionaries and the African Lakes Company in the Malawi and Lake Tanganyika region attracted other British projects in the region. The knowledge acquired by the Scottish missionaries and traders of the region eliminated the need for laborious surveys when considering commissioning of other British initiatives in the region. For instance, an overland route for telegraph services was proposed in the mid-1870s to run along the length of Africa from Cairo to Pretoria. The feasibility study for the project was proposed in July 1877,2 and a draft report by Sir Rawson W. Rawson was published in April 1879 for wider readership (Royal Geographical Society 1879: 264). This report was also sent to the Secretary of Colonies. Interestingly, of the three proposed routes – the Central Western Line, the Central Eastern Line and the Coastal Line – the Central Eastern Line (of which Shire River and Lake Malawi were a part) was recommended. This recommendation was based on several important factors ranging from security and already established European settlements along the line, to already established water-transport facilities on both Lakes Tanganyika and Malawi. In addition, the route was viewed as the most direct, shortest and least expensive line to Pretoria (Royal Geographical Society 1879: 264–5; Bridges 1963: 33). The geographical locality of Shire River and Lake Malawi and their utilisation was therefore influential in the geographical planning of some of the British initiatives. Lake Malawi was less useful without the Shire,

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which was less useful without the Zambezi. Even though the British exploited the Shire River and Lake Malawi to their convenience, the Portuguese occupation of the coast hindered the British from fully utilising the river route. Due to lack of access into the main Zambezi River from the ocean, goods had to be portered for a distance of around 3 miles. The Portuguese exploited this opportunity to frustrate the British efforts in the interior. To facilitate the activities of the Scottish missionaries in Malawi, Britain entered into negotiations with Portugal in 1878 in order to draft bilateral agreements that would encompass the future control of Zambezi and Congo Rivers (Newitt 1981: 26). While these negotiations collapsed, the Berlin Conference of 1885 declared the Zambezi as an international trade route, which both Portugal and Britain generally accepted (Newitt 1981: 26–7). Even though the internationalisation of the Zambezi River was a welcome development for the British, lack of direct access into the main Zambezi River channel reduced its significance. Overland transhipment of goods from the coast to the Zambezi River’s main channel was still necessary and consequently subjected the British in Malawi to Portuguese jurisdiction, which significantly limited progress of their activities in the country. The discovery of Chinde mouth by Daniel J. Rankin in 1889 was therefore highly significant to the British, as goods could be transported to the interior without involving overland transhipment, as was previously the norm. This raised the commercial prospects north of the Zambezi, which were generally unsatisfactory before 1889 (Hanna 1960: 69). In a drastic change of events, vessels of about 400–500 burthen had the ability to proceed directly from the open sea into the river, while those that were larger needed only to tranship once at the foot point.3 This meant that goods for a change could be transported to the Malawi region and beyond without passing through Portuguese territory. This surely displeased the Portuguese, who had all along known about the Chinde Mouth but made no disclosure about it (Rankin 1890: 145). The 1880s had therefore seen some positive developments on the Shire River route, which was vital for the British in Malawi (see Bridges 1963: 34). Both the discovery of the Chinde mouth, 300 yards wide with a minimum water depth of 18 feet (Pachai 1973: 77), and construction of the Stevenson Road paved the way for high economic prospects in the interior, which made Malawi and the surrounding areas valuable. While these developments were positive, political developments among the European Powers posed a serious threat to the operations of the missionaries and the African Lakes Company. The German annexation of Tanganyika in 1885 posed serious threats to the British activities in northern Malawi and, contrary to what some historians suggest, had little to do with Portugal. Similarly, the slave-trade argument as a justification for imperialism gets rooted in the calls made by both the African Lakes Company and the Livingstonia Mission requesting the British Government to take up active

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colonialism in order to curb the slave trade. For instance, conflicts between the African Lakes Company and Mlozi, the slave trader at Karonga, pushed the company in 1887 to request for the British establishment of law and order or else granting those powers to the company (Tindall 1968: 131). These requests were, unfortunately for the company, rejected in Whitehall by Lord Salisbury, the then British Prime Minister (Pike 1968: 84). Furthering the slave trade argument can be easily understood when people relate later events in Malawi to Livingstone’s early explorations. The fact that the missions and the African Lakes Company were established on Dr Livingstone’s model of Christianity and commerce as a solution to the Africans’ woes, a lot of interpretation is based on his views. Additionally, since Livingstone’s explorations including his death were central to the involvement of the British in the country, oftentimes authors associate his causes to the establishment of colonial rule. Furthermore, when Malawi was declared as a British protectorate in 1891, the first five years of the colonial administration were concentrated on ending the slave trade and subjugating the Ngoni warriors. This is often seen as the reason why colonialism was enacted. What is clear, though, is that throughout all British colonies market competitiveness and the rule of law correlated strongly with the level of the British Government’s involvement. The more the British Government was involved, the more these mechanisms were put in place (Lange et al. 2006: 1414). Therefore it was imperative for the African Lakes Company to seek the assistance of Her Majesty’s Government, because the liberal model the British operated in meant that the government was vital for market performance through the provision of basic infrastructure (Lange et al. 2006: 1416). Nonetheless, the British Government’s less favourable response to the African Lakes Company request does not signify lack of the Government’s interest in the region. On the contrary, because of the deeper politics in which the Government was entwined, it could hardly be swayed by such calls. Even though the British Government was steadfast towards the abolition of the slave trade and attempted to abolish it as early as 1807 (Newitt 1981: 14), the slave trade in Malawi may not have been rampant enough to warrant any urgency on part of the British Government to take over control. Based on Robert Laws’ accounts, around 2,000–3,000 slaves were taken each year across Lake Malawi (Tindall 1968: 127). The situation in Malawi was thus comparatively better than in other areas, such as the lower Zambezi, where the locals had lost most if not all of their former industries (Rankin 1890: 141). This being the case, slave trade itself is less than convincing as a justification for the establishment of British colonial rule. Even though Tindall suggests that Britain was less committed to Malawi because of its unwillingness to assume more financial responsibilities, its refusal to grant administrative powers to the African Lakes Company undermines his argument. Generally, by granting those powers, Her Majesty’s Government would have eased itself of financial commitments.

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This chapter, however, attributes the justification of the colonial rule establishment in Malawi to the need to safeguard unlimited access of the British south of the Zambezi to the southern banks of Lake Tanganyika. In this regard, Shire River, Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika were vital resources in facilitating that access. While the British had, all along, access to these water courses, the German annexation of Tanganyika posed a threat to the long-term British exploitation of the water courses. As previously indicated, the Portuguese posed no imminent threat to the British interests in the African interior because the long-term political relationship of the two allowed the latter to dominate the former. As long as the British interests were not jeopardised by the Portuguese’s strategic occupation of the coasts, Britain was contented with that position (Hanna 1960: 98; Newitt 1981: 25). Even though Portugal entered into agreements with the French (May 1886) and the Germans (12 December 1886) that recognised Portugal’s rights to extend its colonies into the African interior, such agreements were outrightly refuted by the British (Keltie 1890: 661). Based on long-term Anglo-Portuguese relations, the Portuguese authorities understood that their cause would not be settled through negotiations. The political opinions in both Britain and Portugal hindered negotiations between the two countries, which made concession of either side difficult. For the Portuguese, conceding to Britain meant reduced Portuguese sovereignty, while for the British any concession that promoted extension of Portuguese claims in the interior attracted opposition from the missionary and commercial interests (Newitt 1981: 27). Therefore agreements were frequently reached by compulsion which, though startling, was much more acceptable by the Portuguese. For the Portuguese authorities, concession through negotiations was more suicidal politically than concession by an ultimatum (Newitt 1981: 30). The British political tactics with Portugal were less useful with Germany. Diplomatic solutions were preferable, as the need to avoid unnecessary conflicts was critical if political embarrassments were to be averted at home. Despite having annexed several countries in Africa that included German South West Africa (Namibia), Cameroon and Tanzania by the mid1880s, Germany’s main hopes in the continent lay in Zanzibar and the areas west of the Great Lakes (Gillard 1960: 634). This sentiment can also be derived from Keltie’s description of German possessions in Africa: All but a fraction of the German area (about a million square miles) is within the tropics, and includes a great percentage of desert and valueless country (Keltie 1890: 666).

If that was the general consensus at the time, Germany must have been hard pressed to secure for itself as much as possible of the vast expanses in the tropics, particularly around the Great Lakes Region. British interests in this area were also strong, enhanced by the discovery of Chinde mouth of the Zambezi River and intensification of Rhodes activities in the areas

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north of the Zambezi (Rankin 1890: 144; Tindall 1968: 177). These interests were likely to bring the two powers on to a collision course. As such, Britain and Germany signed the Hinterland Agreement in 1887, which required both countries to discourage annexation of areas in each other’s hinterlands (Sanderson 1963: 57). Interpreting the Hinterland Agreement in the unfolding events of the 1880s was problematic for both Britain and Germany. To Germany, the agreement was plain and straightforward, and meant that the vast expanse lying between the great lakes and Congo State definitely belonged to Germany. This German interpretation of the agreement was refuted by the British Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury. According to him, the Hinterland Agreement was only valid to those areas east of Lake Malawi and Tanganyika, and therefore was inapplicable to those areas west of Lake Malawi as well as south-west of Lake Tanganyika (Gillard 1960: 636). Salisbury’s reaction to the German interpretation of the Hinterland Agreement is puzzling since he led Britain in signing such an agreement, which had obvious implications for the British activities in northern Malawi and south-west of Lake Tanganyika. Sanderson wonders whether there might have been imminent threats from the German possessions of Witu and Juba on the British activities in the Nile Region that pushed Salisbury to enter into the Hinterland Agreement. In line with his interpretation of the agreement, he entertained Cecil Rhodes’ endeavours north of the Zambezi River despite drawing criticisms from his German counterparts. At the same time, Salisbury’s support to the British East African Company under McKinnon was less favourable, as the company sought to extend its area of influence from the informally recognised one-degree-south demarcation to the north end of Lake Tanganyika. There are several explanations for Salisbury’s actions. Firstly, based on Gillard’s explanation, Salisbury justified the British claims over areas west of Lake Malawi and the southern part of Lake Tanganyika on the basis that it was vital for the British both in the south of Zambezi and in Malawi to have a direct access to Tanganyika. Furthermore, the presence of the British in Malawi and the Stevenson Road (a British initiative) linking Lake Malawi and Tanganyika justified British sovereignty over these areas (Gillard 1960: 636). In addition, intensification of Rhodes’ activities north of the Zambezi River provided Salisbury with a great opportunity to establish British administration in this region at a relatively low cost (Hanna 1960: 111; Tindall 1968: 177). This may explain why Salisbury was more accommodating to Rhodes’ British South African Company’s interests, despite those actions raising large concerns from his German counterparts. Rhodes, who was influential in the undertakings north of the Zambezi River, engaged the services of Harry Johnston, who was the British Consul in Mozambique. In 1889 he travelled the Shire Highlands and Lake Malawi region to sign treaties with various chiefs. Johnston also negotiated a truce

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with the Arabs at Karonga, whose slave-trading activities were disrupting the work of the African Lakes Company. He even went as far as the Lake Tanganyika region using the Stevenson Road. He was, however, recalled to the Shire Valley region before he could push further as planned in his attempt to extend the Shire–Lake Malawi–Lake Tanganyika route further northwards (Tindall 1968: 178). Following his journeys, Johnston made presentations at the Royal Geographical Society in 1890 which aimed partly to shed more light on the growing importance of the Shire–Lake Malawi route. His report emphasised the water connection that had been established between London and the Blantyre port in Malawi, a remarkable undertaking indeed in a region where navigation was marred by a series of cataracts and unsuitable river mouths. Perhaps it is not surprising that Johnston concluded that the Shire–Zambezi–Lake Malawi route doubtlessly offered the quickest way into the interior of Africa (Johnston 1890: 740). It is interesting that both Johnston and Rhodes, who were having an increasing influence on Salisbury, were strong believers of creating a continuous strip of British territory in the African interior (Hanna 1960: 109). It is possible that Johnston could have romanticised his journey’s account in order to influence the imperial undertakings of the British Government. Nonetheless, Johnston’s assessments, while being more or less optimistic, were similar to those of explorers, missionaries and others that had been to this part of Africa (see Johnston 1890: 741–2). The general consensus of the Royal Geographical Society was therefore much more favourable towards Malawi because of the Zambezi–Shire route and its role in the African interior. All these Royal Geographical Society meetings might have had an effect on Salisbury because, generally, geographical societies influenced the colonial policies of their respective countries (Holt-Jensen 2003: 29). In addition, the Royal Geographical Society in Britain was powerful and prosperous (Bridges 1963: 25), and most of the Scottish traders and missionaries operating in Malawi were part of it or cooperated with it. Salisbury knew that the Shire–Lake Malawi route was more valued by the Scottish missionaries. Furthermore, Rhodes wanted a stake in the African Lakes Company and hence he would benefit if Malawi came under the British sphere of influence. To Salisbury, the picture was clear. Angering Cecil Rhodes and the Scottish missionaries would be political suicide if his negotiations with Germany did not bring these areas under the British sphere of influence. Considering the delicacy of the situation and the political consequences it posed at home, Salisbury was more comfortable disappointing McKinnon’s British East African Company than Cecil Rhodes and the Scottish Missionaries in Malawi (Sanderson 1963: 56, 60). For the broader imperial strategy, the Lakes region was important to the British regarding their interests in the African interior, which Germany was definitely much more aware of. This status quo increasingly made

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negotiations between the two powers difficult, and issues that seemed easily solved through arbitration rapidly deflected from that course. After several rounds of negotiations, a tentative agreement on the frontiers between the British and German possessions in Africa was reached in May 1890 through the British offer of Heligoland.4 The British sphere of influence would among other settlements include the area west of a straight line between the north end of Lake Malawi and the southern extremity of Lake Tanganyika. This proposition was, unfortunately for Salisbury, problematic since the delimitation cut through the Stevenson Road, which was much prized by the Scottish missionaries (Sanderson 1963: 65). Because of the political sensitivity associated with the Stevenson Road, Salisbury wrote to the Queen indicating that sacrifice of the Road and the opposition it attracted would propel his political opponent into power. This sentiment was confirmed in the parliament meeting of June 1890, where Salisbury’s colleagues asked for the alteration of the frontier so that the whole of the Stevenson Road would be encompassed in the British sphere of influence (Sanderson 1963: 66). In fact, according to Sanderson, the Stevenson Road was regarded as indispensable (Sanderson 1963: 68). The Anglo-German convention of July 1890 therefore settled the frontiers between German East Africa and the British possessions west of Lake Malawi. The northern border of Malawi followed the Songwe River, a tributary of Lake Malawi at the north end (Pike 1968: 86). This settlement also placed the whole of the Stevenson Road within the British sphere (Tindall 1968: 179). It is important to note that Sanderson and Gillard differ on the interpretations of the British offer of Heligoland. Gillard expresses that the offer was made in exchange for Zanzibar alone as he argues that Germany was not a threat to Britain in the areas west of Lake Malawi as well as the Nile Region (Gillard 1960: 650). On the other hand, Sanderson dismisses Gillard’s explanation as too simplistic as he argues that all the Anglo-German conflicts in Africa were hard to settle (with the exception of Uganda) without the Heligoland offer (Sanderson 1963: 70). While the delimitation of the frontiers between the German and British possessions required some careful and well-calculated political manoeuvrings, the settlement of frontiers between the British and Portuguese possessions in the region was radically different. Following the treaties with Germany and France in 1886, the Portuguese mounted an expedition in 1889 into the Shire Highlands under Serpa Pinto, who, at Katunga,5 hauled down a Union Jack (Tindall 1968: 178). Pinto’s mission was to force upwards the unofficial frontier that was established on the Ruo in order to uphold Portugal’s claims over the Shire Highlands (Newitt 1981: 29). In familiar style, the Portuguese only withdrew from Malawi in February 1890 after an ultimatum was sent to Portugal (Tindall 1968: 178). Lord Salisbury sent the ultimatum to halt all expeditions in order to pave the way for negotiations of a settlement. The initial proposed border delimitation in the

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south of Malawi was a straight line from the Shire–Ruo River confluence to the mid-point on the Zambezi River between Tete and the Cahora Bassa rapids (Keltie 1890: 663; Hanna 1960: 115; Pike 1968: 86). This frontier delimitation was of course rejected by the Portuguese before a final frontier arrangement had to be agreed on in 1891. The revised border delimitation has remained unchanged to the present day. Thus, by 1891, the British had settled frontiers with both Portugal and Germany. Nevertheless, there were no border delimitations in the northwest of Malawi separating Malawi and Northern Rhodesia. The missionaries and planters were, however, not interested in being under Rhodes, who sought to increase his stakes in the African Lakes Company (Hanna 1960: 117–18; Pachai 1973: 82). They resented the idea of having another Rhodesia in Malawi. In response to these protests, the British Government took swift action in 1891 and declared Malawi a British Protectorate, with Harry Johnston as Governor. Johnston had also the additional responsibilities of administering Rhodes’ possessions north of the Zambezi River. By this agreement, Rhodes was supposed to pay £10,000 annually for the administration of Malawi and northern Rhodesia (Pike 1968: 87). The protectorate’s administrative system was established similarly to that of a crown colony. The final frontier followed the Lake Malawi–Luangwa drainage divide. THE SHIRE RIVER IN THE BRITISH COLONIAL ADMINISTRATION Throughout the first decade of the British Colonial rule in Malawi, the Zambezi–Shire–Lake Malawi watercourse remained vital for the British activities in the country. Part of the Stevenson Road was now in Northern Rhodesia. That mattered less because it was still considered a British possession, and Harry Johnston was administering both Malawi and Northern Rhodesia. Since there was no comprehensive road infrastructure in the country, the Zambezi–Shire was the only known way to get access to Malawi and within Malawi from the south to the north. This being the case, the waterway was central in the administrative functions of the colonial government. In the southern region particularly, the geography of the river was of significance to the establishment of the administrative structure. For ease of communication, administrative offices were located along transport networks. As the river transverses almost in the middle of the region in a southerly direction, it was easier to set up administrative offices on both sides of the river bed. This limited the administration structure to the areas along the Shire River (Oliver 1957: 203). Consequentially, it had a direct effect on tax collection, when introduced, because the exercise depended on the Africans’ ability to pay tax as well as the administration’s ability to collect it (Fetter 1982: 81). This had an impact on the amount of tax

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collected from the south, as more areas could be easily accessed, unlike the central and northern regions, where the lake was the principal communication channel. The changing hydrological characteristics of the river in the 1890s complicated the administration’s functionality in Malawi. Declining water levels increasingly limited the navigability of the Shire River, thereby constraining transportation of goods. Unfortunately, this occurred at a time when the government aspired to develop the export market in the country. This shift in the river hydrology had important implications for the export market, which was largely based on agriculture. Exports from Malawi became increasingly less competitive, owing to the arising difficulties in transporting the goods. In many places, goods had to be offloaded from water vessels and carried by porters, which required redistribution of goods into smaller portions. This process was time consuming and expensive, as all these porters had to paid. Furthermore, transportation problems excluded other areas from commercial agricultural development despite them having high agricultural capability (Mandala 1990: 124), such as the upper Shire valley (Kirk 1861–62: 28) The hiring of porters also affected the planters in another important way. When estates were established in the country, few of the locals were willing to work for the planters as they were not used to the money economy. In a bid to aid the planters, a hut tax was introduced to force the locals to seek employment. While this had an important bearing in the Shire Highlands, as many locals sought employed labour (Pachai 1973: 110), the outcome was rather different in the Shire Valley. The need for more porters by the transporters created competition for labour with the planters. However, the transporters had an upper hand as many of the locals preferred to work for them. Key to that was that labour engagement was seasonal, which caused minimal disruptions to the otherwise labourintensive agricultural production. The transporters’ labour requirements were specifically high in the driest months, when water levels were relatively low in the river. Nonetheless, despite the short periodicity of labour engagement, locals were able to accumulate enough income to honour their tax obligations. Labour engagement with the transporters ranged from loading and unloading cargo to fetching firewood for the river stations for use in the paddle steamers (Mandala 1990: 109). Labourers were also required to transport European goods from the river port of Chiromo to Blantyre, where overland transport was required (Mandala 1990: 109). The British attachment to the Shire was remarkably consistent throughout the 1890s despite significant hydrological shifts in the river which constrained navigation. Up to around 14 ships plied the Shire–Zambezi Waterway from Chiromo, as of 1889 operated by the African Lakes Company, African Flotilla Company, the Zambezi Traffic Company and the Free Church of Scotland (Mandala 1990: 108–9). While thoughts of a

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railway line surfaced as early as 1893, rising water levels shortly after pushed the issue to the sidelines. However, the railway line issue was revisited in the 1896–97 period, as water levels dropped once again (McKinnon 1977: 231). While the Shire hydrology posed navigational challenges, planters were less accommodating to any proposed railway line that failed to make use of the Shire. To them, the Shire River exploitation made much more economic sense for commercial activities. One could possibly argue that based on historical experiences, planters were less willing to carry out any transactions with the Portuguese, since overland transportation would subject their goods to the Portuguese jurisdiction (Hetherwick 1903: 330). Thus two railway-line proposals had been put forward by 1895, one drafted by the Governor, Sir Harry Johnstone, and the other by planters led by Eugene Sharrer, a leading businessman (Vail 1975: 91). In Johnston’s proposition, a railway line would run from Blantyre eastwards to Quilimane. Even though this proposition was the most sensible practically and economically, the settlers’ ambition to exploit the Shire as a trade route made this proposal unacceptable. Sharrer’s proposition, on the other hand, was favourable to the planters as the proposed railway line would run southwards from Blantyre to the Shire–Ruo River confluence at Chiromo. This proposition would therefore still make use of the Shire River. Of course Sharrer would gain more from this proposition as he had five steamers operating on the Shire–Zambezi waterway (Hetherwick 1903: 328). Hence, while attempting to remedy the persistent navigational challenges associated with the Shire River, Sharrer was understandably protecting his vested interests in the waterway (Vail 1975: 91). Even though both of the propositions were rejected by Her Majesty’s Government, pressure was mounting on it to fund at least one of the projects. By the end of the nineteenth century, the use of the Shire as the main gateway to Malawi and beyond was rapidly coming to a close. Declining water levels had contributed to increasingly limited navigation, which had proven catastrophic to the growth of the export market. Despite the increased number of operators on the Shire–Zambezi waterway, as well as Lake Malawi, their efforts were severely constrained by the Shire River’s hydrology. It was becoming apparent that the administration, planters and traders could not move into the twentieth century with the Shire River as the principal communication channel to the outside world. Other modes of transport were urgently required in order to advance the progress of the protectorate. CONCLUSION Assessing the history of Malawi entails a consideration of the role the Shire River played in shaping the colonial history of the country. Had it been that the Zambezi River was easily navigable, the history of Malawi would have

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probably taken a totally different course. This stems from the fact that the British placed focus on the Shire only after failing to exploit the Zambezi River due to the impassable Cahora Bassa rapids. Nevertheless, the increased access to the north provided by the Zambezi–Shire–Lake Malawi waterway enhanced the trade potential of the region as a whole. Compared to the Zambezi River, utilisation of the Shire River and Lake Malawi contributed significantly to the opening of the African interior (Hanna 1960: 50). While the Malawi region on its own provided limited trade prospects, by linking it to the Lake Tanganyika region through the Stevenson Road, the goal was to remedy this shortcoming. The overall intention was to increase market reach and enhance missionary work. By requesting the London Mission Society to permanently adopt the Shire route for all their future activities, which it generally accepted, the Stevenson Road project cemented the central role that Shire River and Lake Malawi played in British Central Africa. While some historians have attributed the annexation of Malawi to the need to abolish slave trade as well as defuse imminent threats from the Portuguese, it was rather the need to secure access to the north for the British in the south that necessitated annexation of the country. In this regard, the chapter has highlighted how Salisbury’s justification of the British claims over Malawi played a large role in the need to secure access to the north. This is because some of the people who influenced Salisbury, such as Cecil Rhodes and Harry Johnston, strongly wished to have a continuous British territory in the interior. While having Northern Rhodesia (presently known as Zambia) alone could still link British territories south of the Zambezi to Lake Tanganyika, Malawi was important because of its water courses. This could also be the reason why the Stevenson Road featured highly in the negotiations on the frontiers between German and British Possessions in Central Africa; warnings from the Free Church of Scotland that it would not consent to any agreement that deprived them of their missionary highway reinforce this point (Sanderson 1963: 65). The Stevenson Road was, however, not the principal issue with the Scottish traders and missionaries, as it might superficially appear. Had that been the case, the latter partitioning of Malawi and Northern Rhodesia would have at least placed the road within the Malawi frontier. The demands placed by the Scottish enterprises on Salisbury regarding the Stevenson Road dealt more with securing the known interests that they had on Shire–Lake Malawi–Lake Tanganyika trade routes on which they had a monopoly (Hanna 1960: 69). While the British were able to secure the access to the north as much as possible, the general outcome of the partitioning of Central Africa deprived them of any coastal territories. As a result, the traders and planters in Malawi continued to depend on the Shire route in the first decade of colonial rule despite its navigational limitations. This proved very counter-productive to the growth of the export market.

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NOTES 1 2 3 4 5

See Stewart and Coles 1880. A conference on this subject was held at the Royal Geographical Society. A well-sheltered anchorage point at the Chinde Mouth of the Zambezi where large vessels could tranship their goods (Rankin 1890: 139). The islands located in the south-eastern corner of the North Sea, which were Danish possessions before the British took over. The river port for Blantyre situated on the Shire River in the lower Shire Valley.

REFERENCES Bridges, R.C. 1963. The RGS and the African Exploration Fund 1876–80, The Geographical Journal 129/1: 25–35. Fetter, B. 1982. Malawi: Everybody’s Hinterland, African Studies Review 25/2–3: 79–116. Gillard, D.R. 1960. Salisbury’s African Policy and the Heligoland Offer of 1890, The English Historical Review 75/297: 631–53. Hanna, A.J. 1960. The Story of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland. London: Faber and Faber. Hetherwick, A. 1903. Opening up of Central Africa from the East Coast, Journal of the Royal African Society 2/7: 326–30. Holt-Jensen, A. 2003. Geography. History and Concepts (third edition). London: Sage Publications. Johnston, H.H. 1890. British Central Africa, Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography, new monthly series 12/12: 713–43. Keltie, J.S. 1890. The Partition of Africa, Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography, new monthly series 12/11: 655–66. Kirk, J. 1861–62. Report on the Natural Products and Capabilities of the Shire and Lower Zambezi Valleys, Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London 6/1: 25–32. Lange, M., J. Mahoney and M. Vom Hau. 2006. Colonialism and Development: A Comparative Analysis of Spanish and British Colonies. American Journal of Sociology 11/5: 1412–62. Livingstone, Dr. 1859–60a. Dr Livingstone on Lakes Nyinyesi, or Nyassa and Shirwa, in Eastern Africa, Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London 4/3: 87–90. Livingstone, Dr. 1859–60b. Latest Accounts from Dr Livingstone, FRGS, of the Central African Expedition, Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London 4/1: 19–29. Livingstone, Dr. 1863–64. Letters from the Zambesi to Sir RI Murchison, and (The Late) Admiral Washington, Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London 8/6: 256–63. Livingstone, D., J. Kirk and T. Baines. 1861. Extracts from the Despatches of Dr. David Livingstone, M.D., Gold Medallist R.G.S. (Dated December 17, 1858;

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February 14, May 12, July 26, and October 15, 1859) to the Right Honourable Lord Malmesbury. Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London 31: 256–96. Magolowondo, A.T. 2007. Conceptual and Contextual Background, in Nandini Patel and Lars Svåsand (eds), Government and Politics in Malawi. Blantyre: Kachere Books: 1–22. Mandala, E.C. 1990. Work and Control in a Peasant Economy: a History of the Lower Tchiri Valley in Malawi, 1859–1960. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. McCarthy, J. 2004. Connecting the Lakes: Two Scottish Pioneers, The Society of Malawi Journal 57/2: 1–11. McCracken, J. 1977. Underdevelopment in Malawi: The Missionary Contribution, African Affairs 76/303: 195–209. McKinnon, M.E. 1977. Commerce, Christianity and the Gunboat: A Historical Study of Malawi Lake and River Transport, 1850–1914. Unpublished Thesis, Michigan. Newitt, M. 1981. Portugal in Africa: The Last 100 Years. London: Hurst. Ng’ong’ola, D.H. 1999. Water Resources Management Policy and Strategies: Policies Influencing Patterns of use of Water Resources in Malawi. Ministry of Water Development. Unpublished Norconsult. 2003a. Main Report: The Integrated Water Resources Development Plan for Lake Malawi and Shire River System. Unpublished Norconsult. 2003b. Presentation Slides at the National Workshop: The Integrated Water Resources Development Plan for Lake Malawi and Shire River System. Unpublished. Oliver, R. 1957. Sir Harry Johnston and the Scramble for Africa. London: Chatto & Windus Ltd. Pachai, B. 1973. Malawi: The History of the Nation. london: Longman. Pike, J.G. 1968. Malawi: A Political and Economic History. London: Pall Mall Press. Price, T. 1966. Shire, Shirwa, and Nyasa. The Society of Malawi Journal XIX/1: 15–19. Rankin, D.J. 1890. The Chinde River and Zambezi Delta, Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography, new monthly series 12/3: 136–46. Royal Geographical Society. 1879. The Proposed African Overland Telegraph, Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography, new monthly series 1/4: 264–71. Sanderson, G.N. 1963. The Anglo-German Agreement of 1890 and the Upper Nile, The English Historical Review 78/306: 49–72. Sharpe, A. 1936. Transport on the River Shire, Nyasaland, The Geographical Journal 87/2: 140–4. Stewart, J. 1881. Lake Nyassa, and the Water Route to the Lake Region of Africa, Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography, new monthly series 3/5: 257–77. Stewart, J. and J. Coles. 1880. Observations on the Western Side of Lake Nyassa, and on the Country Intervening between Nyassa and Tanganyika, Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography, new monthly series 2/7: 428–31.

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Terry, P.T. 1961. African Agriculture in Nyasaland. The Society of Malawi Journal XIV/2: 27–35. Tindall, P.E.N. 1968. A History of Central Africa. London: Longman. Vail, L. 1975. The Making of an Imperial Slum: Nyasaland and its Railways, 1895–1935. The Journal of African History 16/1: 89–112. Warthin, M. 1928. Transport Developments in Central Africa, Geographical Review 18/2: 307–9. Wolf, J.B. 1971. Commerce, Christianity, and the Creation of the Stevenson Road, African Historical Studies 4/2: 363–71.

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10 Continental Divide: The Issue of Freshwater in Canada–USA Relations Frank Quinn

INTRODUCTION Someone once said that Canada and the United States, as two independent entities, did not really share a continent, they shared a boundary. There was, and still is, some truth to that claim. It brings to mind public reaction in Canada to the promotion of the North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA) by an engineering firm in Los Angeles (Parsons 1964); the company was quickly made aware that most of the higher-latitude rivers projected for diversion southward were ‘Canadian’, not ‘continental’ resources. But the difference between what a country has to keep and what it has to share has since become blurred. The boundary lines have become porous in many ways, to people, to goods, even to contaminants which are carried through the hydrologic cycle from sources originating often thousands of kilometers away. Nature has its own boundaries, including watershed divides, and it is the continuing interplay between natural and human boundaries to which I have alluded in the title of this paper. The continental divide which may come to mind for most North Americans is the crest of the Western Cordillera (Rocky Mountains), which separates rivers flowing west from those flowing east across the continent. Other influences, however, have overwhelmed nature in dividing the continent politically into nation states. Both natural and national divides are relevant for water resources management, depending upon the purpose and the scale. I would like to expand on their interplay in the Canada–USA freshwater relationship (Figure 1). For most of the nations’ history, this relationship has been only ‘boundary-deep’, but from the middle of the twentieth century it began to extend farther into each country’s backyard. Canadians have mixed feelings about this development, while Americans seldom express any concern about it.

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Figure 1. Continential divides of North America.

BOUNDARY LINE AND REGION How sensible is the Canada–USA boundary from a water-management perspective? The physiographic ‘grain’ of the continent runs mostly north–south, but not all drainage follows that pattern. Boundary-makers after the American Revolution settled on an east–west axis that allowed both countries to share in the fertility of the Great Lakes–St Lawrence lowlands and to gain easy water access to the continental interior. The good judgment used in this case has subsequently been vindicated in the development of common values and mutual progress in restoration of water quality in this boundary watershed.

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Moving west, however, the 49th parallel as a boundary drawn arbitrarily in 1818 across the plains proved, in terms of water management, not such a good choice. Negotiators could have made use of the other continental drainage divide, stretching across the northern plains and separating rivers flowing north to Hudson Bay from those flowing south to the Gulf of Mexico. The latter divide was understood vaguely to be the boundary between Rupert’s Land, which included all territories draining into Hudson Bay and therefore belonging under a 1670 British charter to the Company of Adventurers Trading into Hudson’s Bay, and the Louisiana Purchase, essentially the western tributaries of the Mississippi watershed, which France sold to the USA in 1803. If adopted as the international boundary, this divide would have precluded almost all the conflicts subsequently arising from split jurisdiction over basins straddling the 49th parallel in this dry region, involving apportionment of flows in the Waterton and Belly Rivers, the St Mary and Milk Rivers, and the Souris River, and the threats of Devils Lake flooding and of the Garrison diversion from the Missouri to the Red River of the North. Political regionalization by parallels and meridians continued, nevertheless, at the sub-national level in the creation of western provinces and states, in effect a ‘triumph of geometry over geography’ (Watson 1963). It was understandable in the sense of the vast area involved, the lack of field knowledge and the sparsity of a resident population to dispute the seeming objectivity of straight lines. This trend proved impossible to stop, and the 49th parallel was extended as the international boundary in 1846 all the way westward to the Pacific Coast. It was no accident that Canada’s geographical limits coincide roughly with the fur trade canoe routes which stretched for two centuries westward from Quebec and Hudson Bay across the northern half of the continent (Innis 1930). America’s ‘Manifest Destiny’ subsequently pushed but failed to extend its Oregon territory north of the 49th parallel despite threatening ‘54/40 or fight’ which would have allowed the USA to reach the southern Panhandle of Alaska, purchased subsequently from Russia, and to cut off completely Canada’s access to the Pacific (Graebner 1968). The Canada–United States boundary is more than an 8,900 km line drawn across the continent from the Atlantic to Pacific Oceans and north to the Arctic Ocean (Figure 2). It is also a region contributing drainage to and receiving drainage from, both sides of that line. Its delimitation is in places subjective, based on judgment about the extent of transboundary effects from modifying water regimes. The boundary region includes major watersheds like the Yukon, Columbia, Red, Great Lakes, St Lawrence and St John. All of the north-west boundary region, between Alaska and British Columbia / Yukon, and all of the western portion of the transcontinental boundary, from the Pacific to Lake of the Woods, feature rivers and lakes which cross the boundary. Most of the remaining or eastern portion of the boundary is formed by watercourses themselves. The Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, which governs how they are to be shared and regulated,

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Figure 2. Canada–USA boundary and transboundary basins.

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applies somewhat differently to boundary and transboundary waters (more on this later). Only a very short section of the boundary, between Quebec and Maine, is neither, being a watershed divide. Approximately two-thirds of the transboundary flow is from Canada to the USA, but a rough balance between the countries is secured insofar as all boundary waters, except the small St Croix River, complete their journeys to the sea through Canada alone. The ratio of Americans to Canadians in the boundary region is approximately 3 to 1, although on a continental scale it is closer to 10 to 1. This is indicative of the concentration of Canada’s population along its southern boundary and the greater dependence of Canadians on this region relative to the USA. At the same time, the greater total population numbers on the US side of the boundary region in an absolute sense, and the earlier development there, mean that most of the pressure on the quantity and quality of boundary and transboundary waters has come from activities in the USA. When boundary irritants do arise, they are more likely to become national issues in Canada, while being regarded as regional problems in the USA. For both countries, the Great Lakes–upper St Lawrence River basin has to be considered the most important boundary resource. The USA accounts for at least two-thirds of the population and of the water consumed from the Great Lakes watershed or basin and discharges about the same proportion of pollutants into the Lakes (International Joint Commission 2000). A secondary peak in boundary region populations on the US side occurs in the Columbia basin. Relatively small populations are scattered among the remaining boundary and transboundary basins. Given the asymmetry that exists between the population, level of economic development and power of the two countries, the achievement of a permanent arrangement to resolve and prevent conflicts was all the more surprising. It did not happen easily or quickly. A major impediment was the Harmon doctrine. US Attorney-General Harmon turned aside a complaint from Mexico in 1895 that irrigators in Colorado and New Mexico upstream on the Rio Grande were interfering with the long-established rights of Mexican farmers downstream (Hundley 1966). Harmon advised that the USA was not constrained by international law to deny its citizens the use of any water within its borders, despite any damages caused to users outside the country. Canada was on the receiving end of a similar refusal by the US Reclamation Service in 1902 to limit its use of the St Mary River upstream in Montana, the flows of which it intended to divert into the Milk River for irrigation use in the eastern part of the state. In this case, however, Alberta farmers turned the tables against the USA by digging their own canal to intercept this water as the Milk entered Canada downstream from the diversion for some distance before returning to Montana. At that point, the US government quickly agreed to negotiate. International apportionment of St Mary and Milk flows was incorporated as Article VI

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within the subsequent Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 (Bloomfield and Fitzgerald 1958). Through persistence, Canada gradually convinced the USA that nothing less than a permanent treaty with rules and principles upon which to base decisions was needed, as opposed to continuing a series of ad hoc arrangements. The cost of that for Canada was to accept at least a diluted form of the Harmon doctrine on transboundary waters; the upstream party could take as much water as it wanted, but would be liable to any damage claims brought against it by downstream interests. Each of the parties, however, was to have equal rights to the use of boundary waters. The operating concept of the Treaty is that the two countries seek to resolve boundary and transboundary issues, not by adversarial negotiations, but by the collegial approach of six members of an International Joint Commission (IJC), three from each side, outside of the political spotlight. The Commission’s roles are to make decisions on applications to use, obstruct or divert waters that flow along or across the boundary if natural flows or levels are affected; and to investigate and make recommendations on any references given to them by the two national governments. Each country maintains its sovereign rights and is constrained only in terms of the impacts its activities might have on its neighbor. The IJC operates with a small staff and budget in Ottawa and Washington, and borrows federal, provincial and state officials and sometimes local experts for its various regional watershed boards, also with equal numbers from each country, to undertake the technical and scientific investigations required. Board members are expected to act in accordance with their personal and professional capacity, rather than as representative of their governments. In this work, the IJC has been spectacularly successful: out of 120 cases since 1909, the commissioners have failed to reach consensus and reported separately to their national governments only twice. Interestingly, both of those cases involved rivers flowing across the 49th parallel and through the dry plains. As indicated above, bisected rivers here, small as they are, continue to be a source of occasional friction among the national, provincial and state governments. If equality has not always been achieved, it is nevertheless clearly to Canada’s advantage as the weaker neighbor to uphold the principle of equal rights and obligations in this treaty, over the principle of equitable use or apportionment which has subsequently gained wider acceptance around the world. That puts Canada out of step with the European initiative toward a global convention (United Nations 1997) on the use of international watercourses. The European, and perhaps Asian, context is different from North America for water management – most of the larger waterways in Europe are international, are shared by more than two countries, do not wind back and forth across the same boundary, and do not have large lakes to contend with. Canada decided against signing that

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agreement in Helsinki, as did the USA, for its own reasons. That is not to deny that both countries apply equitable sharing practices at a sub-national level within their boundaries. BEYOND THE BOUNDARY REGION For most of the past century, Canada and the United States have limited their water relations to the boundary and transboundary resources they hold in common. First they established the rules of the game and an institution to oversee them; eventually, they proceeded to put major works into place, such as the St Lawrence Seaway and Columbia River Project. Attention has since moved on to cleaning up the excesses of the past and to protecting the environment generally from changes in water levels, flows and qualities which pose undue stress upon the neighboring country. By the 1960s, however, the Canada–USA relationship began to expand to waters beyond the boundary region into the ‘back country’. Interest centered on spillovers and exports of water, as well as water derivatives such as hydroelectricity and acid rain. Water and energy are closely connected. Water is used in huge volumes to generate (hydro)electricity directly, to cool thermoelectric power generators, to process oil (up to four barrels of water to produce one barrel of oil). And energy is required to pump and distribute water to users and to renew its quality. Yet decisions about the two resources are commonly made in different places. Under a national electrical power policy announced in Ottawa (Canada 1963), surplus electrical power capacity could be exported on a long-term basis to US markets as a means of underwriting the capital costs of extending large hydroelectric projects into remote northern areas of the provinces on rivers such as the Peace, Nelson and Churchill (Labrador). Previously, such exports were discouraged lest repatriation be difficult or impossible should the power be needed at home. That conviction had developed from Canada’s inability to recall hydropower generated on the Canadian side of the Niagara River for US industries in 1917 when the electricity was needed for Canadian munitions production during World War One. By the 1960s, however, the concern was that Canadian hydro-development should be accelerated before nuclear or some other form of energy captured the international market. The North American transmission grid is indicative of the extent of current integration, reflecting north–south lines from five Canadian provinces joining the more dense web of transmission infrastructure in the USA. By contrast, there is still very little east–west electrical power transmission between provinces. A remarkably high proportion of the water stored behind large dams and diverted between drainage basins in Canada is used for hydroelectric power development. Canada has become the world’s leading exporter of hydroelectricity (CIA 2007).

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Also in 1963, the spectre of water shortages emerged in the southwestern states when the US Supreme Court ended a legal battle between Arizona and California over their respective rights to the Colorado River, but precipitated an inter-regional struggle to capture new water supply outside the seven Colorado basin states. This led to a proliferation of schemes from the private sector to make variously the Columbia, the Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers tributary to the Colorado (Quinn 1973). Since the Great Lakes were at the time suffering from lower than normal levels, some visionaries were determined to go all the way to solve the water problems of the whole continent. None of these megaschemes has been endorsed by any government in either country. Nevertheless, the issue of water export, after four decades, remains very much alive and is presented in greater detail below. In the late 1970s, scientists determined that much of the chemical pollution in the Great Lakes and in lakes elsewhere on the Canadian Shield and in the Adirondack and Appalachian Mountains of the US north-east originated from distant rather than local sources. Thus began public debate on the long-range transport of air pollutants which became popularly known as ‘acid rain’. The culprits held responsible for this problem, the principal sources of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, were coal- and oilburning power plants, smelters and motor vehicles. After a decade of fruitless efforts by Canada to convince the US government to control these sources, the latter passed amendments to its Clean Air Act and a bilateral accord followed in 1991. Meanwhile, global climate warming took over the lead from acid rain on the priority list of environmental threats, but many of the same industrial and energy sources are blamed. Little progress has been made to reduce carbon emissions to date in either country. The environmental impacts of mining the continent’s newest source of energy, the Athabasca tar sands in Canada’s western province of Alberta, are already threatening the source region and north-flowing Athabasca and Mackenzie Rivers from leaking tailings ponds, and this ‘dirty’ oil, to be carried, after minimal upgrading, by pipelines thousands of kilometers eastward, is on track to bring acid rain back to the Great Lakes basin (Israelson 2008) where as many as 17 refinery expansions are being considered to convert the bitumen into gasoline and other petroleum products. The proven reserves of oil in the Alberta tar sands are eight times those of the entire USA. The economic recession that began in 2008 may provide some much needed time for federal, provincial and state governments to develop more effective regulations for air and water quality protection at both ends of this delivery system. Whatever the outcome, Canada has already become the largest supplier of energy to the USA, accounting for 94 per cent of its natural gas imports, almost 100 per cent of its electricity imports, and more crude oil and refined oil products than from any other foreign supplier (Canadian Electricity Association 2008). Yet the National Energy Board in Ottawa has

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no plan, and the Government of Canada no policy, to protect Canadian electricity and other energy users from shortages which may arise in future from export commitments. Continental integration in energy is now a fact, with its huge demands on, and unsettling consequences for, freshwater resources in both countries. THE WATER EXPORT ISSUE This section begins with two premises: first, that the USA has a number of options to address its water needs until around 2040 and that its situation should therefore not be considered desperate any time soon, and, second, that Canadians deserve a federal government that can take charge of what is obviously a national issue and respond effectively to their concerns, without first having to enroll the support of every provincial government in the country. COMPARING CANADA AND THE USA There is a widespread misconception in both countries that Canada is much wealthier in freshwater resources than its closest neighbor. Partly, this is because of a failure to distinguish the portion of water which is annually renewable from the total volume in lakes, rivers, glaciers and ground water. The Great Lakes are a prime example, 99 per cent of their volume being a legacy of the melting of Pleistocene ice sheets over thousands of years, and thus not renewable in human timescales. The myth of Canada’s water abundance also reflects a tendency of our egocentric society to reduce water needs to per capita availability, as though no other forms of life or ecological relations mattered. In fact, the Canadian and American shares of global renewable freshwater are not very different, at 7 per cent and 6.5 per cent, respectively (Gleick 2009). That is not out of line, considering that Canada’s geographical extent is slightly larger than that of the USA. The odds are long that it will ever be practicable, in either economic or environmental terms, to redistribute water or people on a continental scale. Canada and the USA will continue to experience natural imbalances in their water supplies from time to time and from place to place. The relative wealth of water left by melting glaciers in the northern regions, especially Alaska and Canada’s three territories, will remain largely untapped, while their inhabitants face the less glamorous task of reforming the wasteful practices which have made the two countries the most profligate water users in the world. In this respect, they may have more in common than they want to think. Various private-sector promoters in both countries, beginning in the 1960s and continuing into the twenty-first century, have tried to win

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popular support for their inter-regional and international schemes to redistribute river flow patterns. Parsons’ NAWAPA, Kierans’ GRAND Canal and others of this genre (Day and Quinn 1992) are short on engineering, economic and environmental details; they are not supported politically by any government in either country, and are basically nothing more than lines on a map. Accordingly, they are given no further consideration here. What may be more relevant is the pattern of inter-basin diversions (removal of water in bulk, usually by canal, pipeline, ditch or other channel modification, from one drainage basin for use in another) that already exists within the two countries (Figure 3). Of special interest are the different uses which diversions serve in each country – mostly hydroelectric power generation in Canada, a non-consumptive use, mostly irrigation and municipal uses in the USA. It should also be noted, with reference to the theme of this chapter, that all inter-basin diversions to date have taken place within political boundaries – provincial, state and national – not across them; it has been easier to implement diversions across mountains and deserts than across political boundaries. The era of big dam and diversion construction effectively ended in the USA about 1980, but has slowed in Canada only recently, as Quebec completes major projects. Water is being diverted in Canada currently at a rate four times greater than in the USA. Provincial hydroelectric commissions are responsible for the largest projects, which concentrate flows from two or more rivers and transmit electricity, not water, to market. It is estimated that 97 per cent of the gross water storage capacity of large dams and about the same percentage of the flow diverted between watersheds in Canada is for hydroelectric power production. Three projects completed since 1970, the diversions into La Grande Riviere in the James Bay region of Quebec, the Churchill River diversion into the Nelson River in northern Manitoba, and the diversions above Churchill Falls in Labrador (Newfoundland), account for two-thirds of all water diverted within Canada. Brief mention may suffice for other means of transporting freshwater. Despite repeated efforts by entrepreneurs and occasional flirtation with their proposals by coastal provinces, the first ship scheduled to transport freshwater in bulk outside Canada has yet to leave port. Alaska, the only government on the continent which remains open to bids for shipping freshwater resources in bulk, has yet to make a sale either to other parts of the USA or to foreign markets. Very small volumes of treated water are shared by a few neighboring communities across the Canada–USA boundary as a matter of local accommodation. And the trade in bottled water between Canada and the USA, while sometimes raising questions about local impacts, is of no more significance internationally than the export of beer or soft drinks (Hidel-Eyster International 1999).

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Sources: Quinn (2004) and United States Geological Survey (1985, 1986).

Figure 3. Inter-basin water diversions, 2002.

AMERICAN OPTIONS The US population continues to migrate southward and westward, particularly to coastal regions (south Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific) and other parts of the arid south-western states. This shift puts citizens on a collision course with the storms, rising sea levels and extended droughts that are associated with climate warming. In Canada, water-poor but oil-rich Alberta has begun to experience a similar effect, attracting migrants from other provinces while its mountain glaciers shrink, river flows decline, and oil and

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gas operations deplete and contaminate scarce surface and groundwater resources (Schindler and Donahue 2006). According to the US Geological Survey, which publishes estimates every five years, water use for the nation as a whole peaked about 1980 and has since settled below that level (United States Geological Survey 2009). As a nation, Americans have succeeded in breaking the link between population and water use. Canadians have complained for years that the USA should stop wasting its water and look elsewhere for relief. It now appears that Canada has been slower in improving its own conservation practices (although there are few recent sources of water-use data in Canada available to make comparisons, a problem in itself). Because they have fewer opportunities for developing new sources of water, Americans are being forced to stretch existing supplies, and to use them more efficiently. The shift from supply-side management (finding new sources of water) to demand-side management (increasing the efficiency of water use and maximizing the value of water that is being used), has begun to provide both economic and environmental benefits. The period since 1990 has seen many Americans embrace conservation pricing, conjunctive use of ground- and surfacewater, wastewater recycling, drip irrigation, leak reductions, low-flow appliances, xeriscaping, rainwater harvesting… the possibilities keep expanding. For example, the City of San Antonio in Texas, by offering rebates to its homeowners for a range of conservation practices, has lowered its per capita water use by 40 per cent since 1980 (McLemore 2007). And the State of California has managed to hold the volume of water used almost constant since 1970, even though its population has more than doubled to 37 million in this period. Perhaps the most significant event was a 2003 agreement reached by California with the US Secretary of the Interior to reduce the state’s overuse of the Colorado River and to reallocate a significant part of the state’s remaining apportionment from the Imperial and Coachella irrigation districts to higher-valued water uses. This agreement put into effect the largest transfer of water from farms to cities yet seen in North America (Murphy 2003). This kind of change needs to spread to other western states as well, where agriculture still consumes about 80 per cent of water supplies and governments continue to subsidize both the water used by farmers and the crops grown. Arguments for water management reform in the arid southwest are growing, nonetheless, with a consensus among scientists that warmer temperatures and droughts are already hitting harder there than anywhere else in the United States. The USA irrigates 24,000,000 ha of cropland, Canada only 1,000,000 ha, in both cases mostly in the west. Eventually, Americans will find fewer remaining opportunities to improve water-use efficiencies. In the meantime, however, desalination is gradually gaining a foothold on the Gulf and Pacific coasts with governments and industries experimenting with new hybrid technologies and brine disposal methods. A number of rapidly growing coastal cities are

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actively exploring desalination as a supplementary water supply option, 20 in California alone (Contra Costa Times 2007). If the day arrives when water conservation and efficient allocation are no longer sufficient to meet the nation’s water needs, the USA could still return to the traditional option of long-distance importation of freshwater. The largest and least complicated source to draw upon could well be Alaska. Why push Canada to sell water when Alaska could be accessed more easily, at least for the benefit of the Pacific coastal states and possibly adjoining regions in Mexico? Wetter than Canada’s north, Alaska is credited by the United States Geological Survey with having fully one-third of the total US renewable freshwater supply. Water could be carried south by marine tankers or, more ambitiously, by an undersea pipeline paralleling the Pacific shoreline (Hickel 2007). Alaska has tried for more than a decade to get into the water export business, so far without finding any buyers. The seven states that share the Colorado River basin might prefer a shorter route than the Alaska run. For them, it could be more attractive to draw water from the lower Columbia River between Oregon and Washington and bring its ‘surplus’ flows overland into the south-west. Attempts to do just that through a series of bills in Congress between 1964 and 1968 that directed the federal government to investigate its feasibility were soundly defeated by the Columbia basin states and environmental groups (Quinn 1973). That brings us to the last, and possibly most troublesome, option, for both Canada and the United States. Should the USA find itself in desperate need for water in the future, and should Canada refuse to enter into a water export agreement, what would prevent the USA from simply taking a disproportionate share of waters along the international boundary, specifically from the largest pool of freshwater on the continent, the Great Lakes? That would not even require encroachment on Canadian territory, only the enlargement of a canal – the Chicago Diversion – that has been in place for well over a century. In that respect, the Chicago Diversion poses a long-term threat to Canada’s water resources, an ‘Achilles heel’. The international boundary does not pass through Lake Michigan. Because of this, it is the one Great Lake which is generally considered tributary to a boundary water, not a boundary water itself, under the terms of the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. Over the years, Canada has consistently opposed any increase in diversion volumes from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River basin beyond what is already permitted under a 1967 US Supreme Court order. It is, moreover, uncertain whether the US government would ever pursue this option, as most residents on the US side of the Lakes are just as determined as their Canadian neighbors to protect their shared waters from external demands. This became abundantly clear during hearings held by the IJC (2000) and subsequent negotiations among the two provinces and eight American states regarding diversions from the Great Lakes. These

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negotiations culminated in 2005 in two non-binding agreements – the Great Lakes–St Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (among the states) and the Great Lakes–St Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Agreement (states and provinces) – that, among other things, prohibit diversions outside of the basin except for use in counties straddling the basin boundary (and even this water has to be returned clean, minus consumptive use) and leaves no room for additional diversion of water out of the basin at Chicago. Following three years of review, the Compact was finally ratified by the legislatures of all eight states, made binding through approval by the US Congress and signed by the President (Council of Great Lakes Governors 2008). CANADA’S INSECURITY It is no real mystery why Canada’s population and economy are an order of magnitude smaller than what exists south of the border. So much of its northern environment is beyond the range of comfort, too cold and too barren to support more intensive development. But there are some compensating values, of which the most prized by Canadians may be a rich heritage of lakes, rivers and wetlands. An economist, thinking in terms of trade, would call it the country’s comparative advantage. But is Canada’s freshwater no more than a trade commodity, about to become the latest in a series of natural resources exports which began four centuries ago with fish and fur, and continues today through forests, fuels and minerals? This is an issue which has provoked so much anxiety north of the boundary, even as Canada and the USA cooperate routinely in managing their shared boundary resources. Controversy in Canada about water export can be traced back to the megaschemes promoted by the private sector; the largest of them were given hearings, but not endorsements, by a US Congressional committee (1964) and a Canadian Parliamentary committee (1960, 1965). A number of variations on the theme of water export have appeared since then, as recently as 2008, but one constant is the rejection each has received from a strong majority of Canadians, usually in the neighborhood of 70 per cent. That shouldn’t be too surprising, given similar hostility by American residents of the Columbia River and Great Lakes watersheds toward overtures for their water from southern and south-western states. Arguments in favor of water export in Canada normally come down to monetary gains, the boosting of development in source regions, and even the fear that, if Canada refused to sell, a thirsty USA would eventually take it anyway. The opposing view acknowledges that water is an economic good, but insists that it is so much more than that: it is the basis for all life, not just human. It is integral to the health and beauty of Canada’s environment. It is the key both to the nation’s past and to its future. If this,

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the last and greatest natural resource still in Canadian hands, is allowed to slip away, Canadians will become a lesser people, sovereign in name only. Canadian governments have made almost no progress on this issue since the mid-1960s. Their tendency to dismiss international water diversion proposals out of hand failed to calm public fears for long. By avoiding systematic reviews and by failing to choose a policy course, they appeared to be keeping their future options open. At the federal level, opposition to export proposals was less than convincing, in that it consisted of defensive responses by a series of federal ministers responsible for water resources, rather than an official policy that carried the endorsement of the government as a whole. At one point in 1978, a small brochure describing existing federal water policies administered by various federal departments was tabled in the House of Commons (Environment Canada 1978). Inexplicitly, it failed to even mention water export. Bureaucratic fears had apparently developed after the first draft – mainly on the part of staff in Foreign Affairs and in Energy, Mines & Resources – that a simple statement opposing water export might irritate the USA (which had not pressed Canada formally on this issue anyway) and jeopardize expanding oil and gas sales to that market. As clarification, officials were told that a policy against export was to continue, but used ‘only on a responsive basis’. Ottawa preferred to let the issue drift and hope the USA would never ask for access to Canada’s water and risk embarrassment to both sides. Several years later, inter-basin diversions and export of water were among the leading issues raised at the cross-country hearings of the Inquiry on Federal Water Policy. The hearings confirmed that there remained widespread opposition to major water exports. In the Inquiry’s final report (Pearse et al. 1985) to the new Mulroney (Conservative) government, it did not come down on one side or the other of the issue (one of its three members was a protégée of the Quebec premier, who favored resource exports). However, the report did distinguish between small exports, such as containerized shipments of water or transboundary arrangements between neighboring communities, and large exports with their more serious economic, social and environmental implications. The Inquiry also recognized the importance of creating legislation that could prohibit water export or regulate it through a licensing system. And so, after two decades of simply denying interest in water export and hoping that the problem would go away, the federal government began to explore legislative possibilities along the lines recommended by the Inquiry. FREE-TRADE IMPLICATIONS Even so, the response by the federal government to these recommendations hung in the balance for some time. What eventually

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forced its hand was growing suspicion about a relationship between the GRAND Canal Company (GRANDCo), advocating its own export plan, and Premier Robert Bourassa of Quebec, and public concern about aggressive fund-raising attempts by the company and its multinational engineering partners. The federal Interdepartmental Committee on Water blocked grants of $763,000 from two federal agencies from going to the company. A more sinister threat to Canada’s freshwater was also emerging. Although it was not widely known, Canada, rather than the USA, initiated the request for bilateral talks on free trade in the 1980s. Only later was it discovered that Simon Reisman, appointed as chief trade negotiator by the Prime Minister, was not only a director of the GRANDCo board, but had made a speech (Reisman 1985) suggesting that the Americans would go crazy for access to Canadian water and urging that this resource be used as bait to get the Americans to the negotiating table. In an attempt to soothe public concerns about water export before it became entangled with the Conservative government’s larger ambition of securing an agreement with the USA on trade liberalization, the federal cabinet approved inclusion of a statement limiting water export within its new Federal Water Policy, to be tabled in the House in November 1987. The Environment Minister’s introduction to the Policy indicated that the Government of Canada emphatically opposed large-scale export of water because of inadequacy of supply in some regions and seasons and because the required diversion projects would be harmful to the environment and to northern communities (Environment Canada 1987). An exception was made, however, for small-scale exports which would instead be regulated closely in cooperation with provincial governments. Finally, the government made a commitment to ‘strengthen federal legislation to the extent necessary to fully implement this policy’. Immediate public reaction to this policy statement was positive. It appeared that the only remaining task was to reinforce the policy on export with legislation. In 1988, work on drafting a water export bill accelerated because of mounting criticism, notwithstanding assurances in the Federal Water Policy, that the language of the draft Free Trade Agreement would give the USA unprecedented access to Canadian water resources. Although the Government of Canada repeatedly denied this charge, the heat was turned up during that summer coincidentally with drought conditions across the continent and an abortive effort by 13 southern US senators (Sasser et al. 1988) to have the Army Corps of Engineers increase by three times the existing diversion of water from the Great Lakes at Chicago to keep barges afloat on the Mississippi River. In response to these events, the federal Minister of the Environment on 25 August 1988 quickly tabled in the House of Commons for first reading Bill C-156, to be known as the Canada Water Preservation Act. The bill would have prohibited, without exception, any export, or diversion into boundary waters for the purpose of export, of water above the average daily

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rate of 1 m3/s or annual volume of 20,000 dam3, a very conservative allowance for most parts of Canada. The bill would have permitted the Minister to consider licensing exports below this level, after undertaking environmental impact assessments and setting terms and conditions. His duties could be delegated to a province to carry out. The bill would not apply to bottled water (Canada 1988). Within a few weeks of introducing the bill, and before its terms could be considered by a Parliamentary committee, the federal government called a general election. Bill C-156 died on the order paper. Although many critics had disputed the effectiveness of this legislative measure with respect to keeping water in Canada, enough voters were reassured by the government’s bill to help the Conservatives to win re-election, with a mandate to proceed with free trade. The government achieved what it wanted most, and the Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement took effect on 1 January 1989. The Canada Water Preservation Act bill, however, was never reintroduced for Parliament to act upon. Water export opponents were back to square one; for hopes of protecting Canada’s water, worse was yet to come. In 1993, the Liberals under Jean Chrétien were elected in Ottawa. Having opposed free trade with the USA when in opposition, the new government then abruptly reversed itself and embraced negotiations to include Mexico and to extend the scope of trading rules in a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Like the Conservatives before them, the Liberal government declined to negotiate an exemption for freshwater in the text of the trade agreement, even though exemptions had already been negotiated for raw logs and unprocessed fish. Instead, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a media release with a joint statement of one page attached to the effect that the three governments were in agreement that nothing in NAFTA would oblige the water belonging to any of the parties in its natural state to be exported (Canada 1993). There are no signatures on this paper, and its potential standing in law or in a trade panel hearing is open to question (Boyd 2003). The implementing act for NAFTA took effect on 1 January 1994. PROVINCIAL COMPLICATIONS While the Government of Canada maintained all along that its participation in free trade negotiations was no threat to Canadian sovereignty over its water resources, it was slow to respond to related developments at the provincial level. None of the provinces had opposed the Federal Water Policy of 1987, or the provisions allowing for small-scale water export in the federal Bill C-156. At one time or another, four provinces flirted with entrepreneurs wanting to export freshwater by marine transport to foreign markets.

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British Columbia decided quietly in 1986 to permit entrepreneurs to export small volumes of freshwater from its coastal streams by marine tanker. One of its six licensees, Snowcap Inc., eventually partnered with an American firm, Sun Belt, and in 1991 they found a market in Goleta, California, which was suffering from drought. Before they could sign a contract with Goleta, however, the Government of British Columbia found itself embroiled in controversy, as a flood of new export applications from entrepreneurs was triggered by the news, and environmentalists became alarmed at the prospect of cumulative effects of further bulk water removals on the marine environment. In response, the province placed a moratorium on new or expanded licenses, and Snowcap couldn’t obtain enough additional water to satisfy its contract. Snowcap was reimbursed by the province for its out-of-pocket expenses, but the province refused to recognize Sun Belt, which was not named on the license. Sun Belt’s American owner threatened to sue Canada under Article 11 of NAFTA but has since apparently given up this pursuit. Unable to receive any assurance of legislation prohibiting export from the federal government, British Columbia eventually passed its own Water Protection Act in 1995. Meanwhile, a few entrepreneurs were scouting coastal regions in the Atlantic provinces and Quebec. One of them prevailed upon the Newfoundland government which, in 1996, agreed to adopt a policy allowing export of freshwater in bulk by ship, subject to conditions of environmental assessment and benefits to the provincial economy. The Government of Quebec was also engaged in reviewing water export possibilities and their competitive position vis-à-vis world markets. It was the Nova incident in 1998, however, that brought all of these marketing explorations to a halt. The Sault-Ste Marie Star (1998) reported that a regional office of the Ontario Environment Ministry had granted a permit to remove 10,000,000 litres of water a day for up to 60 days a year from Lake Superior to a local company, Nova Group, for purposes of export to Asian markets. No other government on either side of the international boundary had been consulted. The volume of water to be removed was an insignificant fraction of the lake, and the economics of the venture were extremely dubious, but a possible precedent, with other entrepreneurs in both countries following suit and leading to a much larger cumulative effect on the Great Lakes–St Lawrence River system was troubling to all of the governments involved – federal, provincial and state. Out of embarrassment, Ontario took steps to rescind the permit. Ottawa and Washington agreed to a joint reference to be given to the IJC to investigate the implications of consumption, diversion and export of Great Lakes waters (International Joint Commission 2000). And the Government of Canada decided it must do something to address this longstanding issue on a broader scale and for the longer term.

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The federal cabinet agreed to the Foreign Minister’s recommendation, following the Nova incident, that all bulk water export should be prohibited, not just large-scale export. When officials from Environment Canada met with Foreign Affairs to decide how to proceed, however, they were shocked to hear from trade lawyers and trade policy experts in that department that they could not adapt Bill C-156, the Canada Water Preservation Act from 1988, for the purpose of legislating a prohibition on water export from Canada. The reason? Neither NAFTA nor the World Trade Organization (WTO) would tolerate a country restricting water explicitly for use within national boundaries. This should not have been a total surprise, since the Conservative government had not reintroduced the bill in 1989 after winning re-election. REDISCOVERING THE WATERSHED That left environment officials with little recourse, other than to propose a different basis for protecting Canadian freshwater. In essence, they chose major watersheds as the geographical basis for this purpose. Protecting water, its ecological integrity and its use in the source region or watershed, within natural rather than political boundaries, has advantages as a defense against bulk water removals, whether for use of the water elsewhere in Canada or its use in other countries, thus avoiding the discrimination that could bring international trade challenges. But if federal legislation along these lines could satisfy international trading rules, by no means certain, would it also be acceptable to the provinces which, after all, are the primary managers of natural resources in Canada? Federal officials thought probably not. To provide a workable interpretation of constitutional as well as trade law, the federal government therefore proposed a cooperative approach, in which the ten provinces (and three territories) would enact or amend their laws or regulations to prohibit bulk water removal from watersheds within their jurisdictions, and the federal government would enact amendments to its International Boundary Waters Treaty Act of 1911 to accomplish the same purpose within the Canadian portion of boundary waters (not transboundary waters). This strategy was announced by the Government of Canada (1999), and all senior governments have since addressed the issue in one way or another, with reluctance on the part of some provinces. This is where matters stand as of 2010. Unfortunately, it has not produced the desired outcome. Instead, the provinces chose to ‘ride off madly in all directions’. In their laws and regulations, some of the provincial governments chose to stay with their political, rather than adopt watershed, boundaries, others to use both, probably exceeding their jurisdictional competence (Boyd 2003). Quebec decided not to prohibit inter-basin diversions for hydroelectric projects; Alberta, Manitoba and Nova Scotia to enable their cabinets to make other

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exceptions to prohibition against interbasin diversions; and so on. Another vulnerability of this voluntary arrangement is that any of the provinces, as resource owners, can break ranks at any time to further their own trade interests. Quebec and Newfoundland have already given an indication that they might do so and ship water in bulk when global prices for freshwater rise sufficiently high. All in all, this cumbersome and unstable arrangement is unlikely to hold together for long. Experience since the 1987 water policy was tabled in Parliament suggests suggests that the Government of Canada has placed so much emphasis on trying to persuade Canadians that they still have sovereign control over their water resources, regardless of the NAFTA and WTO regime, that it has lost sight of what has now emerged as a more pressing question: can the Government of Canada overrule provincial governments which decide to act independently in their own interests, on a matter of national importance and public will? The Government of Canada has seldom challenged the way provinces managed their water resources. Even in the case of interjurisdictional waters, federal leadership in resolving conflicts is less apparent than in the past. From a constitutional perspective, according to some legal experts, Parliament can pass legislation regarding the export of water from Canada pursuant to its jurisdiction over international trade, just as it is empowered to regulate energy exports under the National Energy Board Act (Boyd 2003). If necessary for ‘peace, order and good government’ on a matter of national concern, federal authority may also be sufficient to overrule provincial rights to exploit their water as they see fit (Saunders and Wenig 2007). But under what circumstances would the federal government actually move to do so? This is a legal question only in part. More importantly, to pursue this course of action for the sake of protecting Canadian water from bulk removal would take political determination, for which Ottawa has demonstrated little capacity. After years of deferring to provincial water management, downplaying its own jurisdiction with respect to interprovincial and international waters, external trade and commerce, fisheries, navigation, aboriginal peoples and federal lands, the Government of Canada seems almost to have drifted into irrelevance, sitting on the sidelines as each province plays its own cards and the public waits in vain for any sign of leadership at the national level. Continuing failure to resolve the water export issue is attributable, unfortunately, not just to timidity on the part of the Government of Canada but to outright deception in dealing with the public as well. Experience suggests that the Government of Canada has looked at the water export issue very differently from the Canadian public. For Ottawa, it has not been about exchanging water for revenue, so much as using water as the lever for gaining access to the huge US market for Canadian products in general. Seen in this light, it begins to add up why Ottawa ignored public demands to negotiate an exclusion for water resources in both the

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Canada–USA and North American Free Trade Agreements, despite its excuses that ‘it was too late in the negotiation process’ and anyway ‘unnecessary’ to do so to protect Canadian sovereignty over water. Ensuring that water would not be on the negotiating table was not worth the risk of losing the main prize. The government was also understandably wary of risking its political future, by admitting where its priorities lay. Ambiguity became its refuge. For its part, the United States has long been aware of sensitivities about this issue in Canada, and has refrained from joining in the debate. It is something of a miracle that none of the export proposals to date, from inside or outside the country, has resulted in bulk water movements beyond Canada’s borders. Most of the credit must go to environmental organizations and to a vigilant public, some to the unconvincing economics of entrepreneurial proposals, but none to Canada’s senior governments. The advantage of having no precedents with bulk water export to limit Canada’s future options, however, will not last indefinitely. While one or more of the provincial governments may act first, the USA is more likely to force an accommodation from Canada in the long term. POSTSCRIPT On a more encouraging note, the Canadian Water Issues Council, a small research group associated with the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto, has offered a further means of building consensus among Canadians and their governments on how best to protect their water resources (CWIC 2008). They describe a model federal statute that would be both consistent with Canada’s trade obligations and respect the role of different levels of government. They recognize the need for keeping water within its five largest watersheds (see Figure 1), as elaborated in the federal strategy of 1999. But the results of sharing responsibility with the provinces (and territories) have been limited so far to a federal prohibition of bulk water removal from boundary waters, protecting less than 10 per cent of Canadian territory, and an uneven patchwork of provincial laws and regulations. Given the national concern over the issue of bulk water removals, and the threats posed by climate change, environmental contaminants and invasive species – all of which extend beyond provincial boundaries – the CWIC finds a clear role for the federal government to play in assuring that minimal levels of protection are provided for Canada’s water resources. The model federal act tries to reconcile national and provincial interests, providing for minimum national standards but recognizing the desirability of provincial action. It does so by allowing provincial governments to put in place legal regimes that provide protection against bulk water removals equivalent to that set out in the federal regime. It would be up to each

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province whether to protect smaller (sub)watersheds as well as the large continental watersheds. In 2010, the Government of Canada introduced Bill C-26 to broaden existing provisions against bulk water removal, including those affecting transboundary as well as boundary watersheds. For its part, the Canadian Water Issues Council is encouraged, but also convinced that the government must correct misleading language in the bill (Globe and Mail 2010) before it becomes law. Will this whole issue be resolved finally, or will it be lost again in the shuffle of government priorities? REFERENCES Bloomfield, L. and Fitzgerald, G. 1958. Boundary Water Problems of Canada and the United States. Toronto, ON: Carswell. Boyd, D. 2003. Unnatural Law: Rethinking Canadian Environmental Law and Policy. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. Canada. 1993. Office of the Prime Minister. News Release: Prime Minister announces NAFTA improvements; Canada to proceed with agreement. 2 December. Ottawa, ON. Canada. 1999. News Release: Strategy Launched to Prohibit the Bulk Removal of Canadian Water, including Water for Export. 10 February. Ottawa, ON. Canada, House of Commons. 1960. Standing Committee on Mines, Forests and Waters. Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence. 3rd Session, 24th Parliament, Ottawa, ON: 97–120. Canada, House of Commons. 1963. House of Commons Debates. 8 October 1963. Ottawa, ON: Queen’s Printer: 3,299–301. Canada, House of Commons. 1965. Standing Committee on Mines, Forests and Waters. Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence. 2nd Session, 26th Parliament, Ottawa, ON: Queen’s Printer: 265–333. Canada, House of Commons. 1988. Bill C-156, An Act for the Preservation of Canadian Water Resources. 25 August. Ottawa, ON: Queen’s Printer. Canada, House of Commons. 2002. An Act to Amend the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act. Entered into force with regulations in Parliament. 9 December. Ottawa, ON: Queen’s Printer. Canadian Electricity Association. 2008. Providing Reliable Energy at a Time of Constraints: A North American Concern. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Electricity Association. Canadian Water Issues Council (CWIC). 2008. A Model Act for Preserving Canada’s Waters. MCIS Briefings No. 11. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto. CIA. 2007. World Hydroelectric Generation. Website data. www.eia.doe.gov/ library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2044.html. Contra Costa Times. 2007. Desalination Potential (editorial), 11 June www.contracostatimes.com/portlet/article/html. Council of Great Lakes Governors. 2008. President Bush Signs Great Lakes Compact. Public Law No. 110–342. www.cglg.org/projects/water/ CompactConsent.asp.

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Day, J. and F. Quinn. 1992. Water Diversion and Export: Learning from Canadian Experience. Geography Publication Series No. 36. Waterloo, ON: University of Waterloo. Environment Canada. 1978. A Vital Resource. Federal Policy Statement on Inland Waters. Ottawa, ON: Supply & Services Canada. Environment Canada. 1987. Federal Water Policy. Ottawa, ON. Gleick, P. 2009. The World’s Water 2008–2009. Washington, DC: Island Press. Globe and Mail. 2010. Water Bill Wouldn’t Stop U.S. from Draining Canada’s Rivers, Experts Warn. Globe and Mail, June 2, Toronto. Graebner, N. (ed.) 1968. Manifest Destiny. New York: Bobbs-Merrill. Hickel, W. 2007. Time to Revisit a Water Pipeline South. Comment, Anchorage Daily News, 6 August. Hidell-Eyster International. 1999. Bottled Water Markets, and Bottled and Bulk Water Trade between the United States and Canada. A report to the International Joint Commission, 12 July (unpublished). Hingham, MA. Hundley Jr, N. 1966. Dividing the Waters. A Century of Controversy between the United States and Mexico. Berkeley: University of California Press. Innis, H. 1930. The Fur Trade in Canada. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. International Joint Commission. 2000. Protection of the Waters of the Great Lakes. Final Report to the Governments of Canada and the United States. Ottawa, ON and Washington, DC: International Joint Commission. Israelson, D. 2008. How the Oil Sands Got to the Great Lakes Basin: Pipelines, Refineries and Emissions to Air and Water. Presentation to the Program on Water Issues, Munk Centre, 8 October (unpublished). Toronto, ON: University of Toronto. McLemore, D. 2007. City Stops its Drip for Good. Dallas News (2 April), www.dallasnews.com. Murphy, D. 2003. Pact in West Will Send Farms’ Water to Cities, New York Times (17 October). Parsons, R. 1964. NAWAPA: North American Water and Power Alliance. Brochure No. 606-2934-19. Los Angeles, CA. Also reviewed in US Senate Committee on Public Works, Special Committee on Western Water Development, 88th Congress, 2nd session, October, 1964. Washington, DC. Pearse, P., E. Bertrand and J. MacLaren. 1985. Currents of Change. Final Report of the Inquiry on Federal Water Policy. Ottawa, ON: Environment Canada. Quinn, F. 1973. Area-of-Origin Protectionism in Western Waters. Social Science Series No. 6. Ottawa, ON: Environment Canada. Quinn, F. 2004. Interbasin Water Diversions in Canada. A Report to the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (unpublished). Ottawa, ON: Environment Canada. Reisman, S. 1985. Canada-US Trade at the Crossroads: Options for Growth. Canadian Business Review (Autumn): 17–29. Sasser, J. et al. 1988. Letter from 13 US senators to the President of the United States, 8 July. Washington, DC. Sault Ste Marie Star. 1988. Sault Company Gives OK to Sell Lake Superior Water to Asia. Sault Ste Marie Star (25 April). Saunders, O. and M. Wenig. 2007. Whose Water? Canadian Water Management and the Challenges of Jurisdictional Fragmentation, in K. Bakker (ed.), Eau Canada, Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press: 119–41.

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Schindler, D. and W. Donahue. 2006. An Impending Water Crisis in Canada’s Western Prairie Provinces. Proceedings, National Academy of Sciences of the USA 103/19: 7210–16. United Nations. 1997. Convention on the Law of Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses. UN document A/51/L.72. Helsinki. United States Congress, Senate. 1964. Special Subcommittee on Western Water Development, Committee on Public Works. Western Water Development, A Summary of Water Projects, Plans and Studies Relating to the Western United States. Committee Print. 88th Congress, 2nd Session. Washington, DC. United States Geological Survey. 1985. Inventory of Interbasin Transfers of Water in the Western Conterminous United States. Open-File Report 85–166 by H. Petsch, Lakewood, CO. United States Geological Survey. 1986. Inventory of Transfers of Water in the Eastern United States. Open File Report 86-148 by W. Moody and H. Jeffcoat, Tuscaloosa, AL. United States Geological Survey. 2009. Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2005. USGS Circular 1344. Washington, DC. Watson, J.W. 1963. North America, Its Countries and Regions. London: Longmans.

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11 The Water Framework Directive: Redesigning the Map of Europe? Duncan Liefferink, Mark Wiering and Pieter Leroy

INTRODUCTION If one would ask a CEO, a bird and a fish to draw a map of Europe, they would almost certainly draw one without borders. The CEO would conceive Europe as a large open area full of consumers. The bird would dream of green areas, trees and hills rather than customs formalities. The map drawn by the fish, finally, at first sight would not even resemble Europe, as it would be an intricate network of rivers, streams and lakes. In a way, the European Union (EU) served them all. Not surprisingly, the CEO was served first. The idea of a Common Market already emerged in the 1950s, but it took until the early 1990s to complete the project more or less. A number of selected birds received protection on a personal basis in the 1979 Birds Directive, but their encompassing view of Europe was acknowledged only in the Habitats Directive of 1992 and the related Natura 2000 project, which established a network of natural areas across Europe. Rivers, river basins and watersheds, finally, came to be the ordering principle in the Water Framework Directive (WFD), adopted in 2000. Within each river basin, according to the Directive, all water-related aspects have to be taken into account in an integrated manner: from water quality to building activities and from groundwater to industrial emissions. Whereas it requires only a little fantasy to conceive of alternative maps of Europe, it turned out considerably more difficult to put these visions into practice. The maintenance of Europe’s Common Market still requires daily care from a whole regiment of Brussels bureaucrats. The implementation of the Habitats Directive collided with a host of other views on the most appropriate land use, and therefore caused problems and conflicts in all Member States. This chapter discusses the impact of the WFD and its underlying philosophy of integrated water-basin management at the Member State level. The ‘watery’ redesign of Europe’s map by this particular directive is accompanied by a comprehensive reformulation of the goals and targets of

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European water policies and a far-reaching reorganisation of the institutional lay-out of the policy field (Kaika 2003; Page and Kaika 2003; Meijerink and Wiering 2009). The reformulation of the goals is mainly informed by ecological concerns, respectively by insights from ecology and adjacent disciplines. The WFD thereby confirms the increasingly high-pitched position of ecological concerns on the political agenda. The reorganisation implies the partial yet significant re-allocation of competencies between administrative levels and between policy sectors. In addition, neighbouring states are being forced to cooperate on the management of shared river basins. As a result of this reorganisation some parties are likely to gain influence to the detriment of others. On top of that, the Directive’s emphasis on stakeholder participation may affect power positions as well, and may in fact even have improved the position of the fish itself – in the form of increased involvement of citizen groups, either amateur fishing clubs or environmental NGOs, throughout Europe. In line with the general theme of this volume, this chapter analyses and evaluates the major shifts in the area of water policy in the EU due to the implementation of the WFD. The next section introduces the Directive, its requirements and its wider political and institutional implications in more detail. This is followed by an empirical account of the implementation of the WFD, focussing on five Member States. The final section returns to the Directive’s significance for the geopolitical relations in Europe in a more general sense and to its possible contribution to a ‘watery’ redesign of Europe’s map. One conclusion can be anticipated already here: the considerable gap between a fish-eye’s view and political reality. THE WATER FRAMEWORK DIRECTIVE: CHARACTERISTICS AND WIDER SIGNIFICANCE After a lengthy and circumstantial decision-making process (Kaika 2003; Kaika and Page 2003), the WFD was adopted by the EU’s Council of Ministers in 2000. Its transposition into the national law of the Member States was due in 2003. The WFD provides a common framework for water management and protection in the European Union. The Directive applies to surface water; to rivers, lakes, coastal waters and transition waters, as well as groundwater. It obliges Member States to set up integrated policy plans for river basins, covering both qualitative and quantitative aspects of water management. For the implementation of the WFD, Member States must define River Basin Districts (RBDs) and define competent authorities. As river basins often cross administrative boundaries and accommodate a wide range of societal activities, this newly set-up demarcation is a potentially controversial exercise. Furthermore, Member States have to designate their water bodies as either ‘artificial water bodies’ (AWBs) or ‘heavily modified

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water bodies’ (HMWBs) or, by default, as ‘natural water bodies’. The latter are supposed to reach a ‘good status’, whereas for AWBs and HMWBs a ‘good potential’ suffices. The designation of water bodies into these categories is a highly sensitive issue as well, as their categorisation in fact represents a level of political ambition – even when specific targets for individual substances are to be elaborated in so-called daughter directives. By focussing on organisational principles and general objectives, the WFD is, indeed, a framework directive. The overall deadline for its implementation is set for 2015. If targets for specific water bodies cannot be met by that time, however, exemptions are possible, either by postponing the deadline by six or even twelve years – in other words, until 2021 or 2027 – or by the relaxation of goals. As an overarching framework directive, the WFD intends to replace a number of pre-existing EU directives in the water domain. These include the Urban Wastewater Directive and the Bathing Water Directive, and connects to a series of others, such as the Nitrates Directive, the Directive on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control, the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive (for an overview: Van Rijswick and Van Weeren 2008; Uitenboogaart et al. 2009). This reflects not only the WFD’s ambition of more internal integration – within the water domain – but also an effort to arrive at a higher level of external integration, or at least a more explicit linkage with policy fields such as agriculture, land use planning, nature conservation and industrial pollution. In addition, the WFD is committed to transparency and accountability, as reflected in its requirements on the participation of stakeholders. Rather than by top-down regulation, the WFD has the ambition to steer European water management in a comprehensive, yet open and flexible way. In that sense, the WFD is a typical example of a new generation of EU environmental directives, reflecting a more widespread trend from essentially hierarchical government to more flexible forms of governance. Characteristic for the latter approach is an emphasis on goals to be achieved rather than on detailed measures, and on stakeholder participation, thus leading to more room for taking into account the specific context in which policies have to materialise (Knill and Lenschow 2000; Jordan et al. 2003; Page and Kaika 2003; Knill and Liefferink 2007). This is not to say that the Directive does not contain obligations. On the contrary: it requires much from the Member States, but this is on the discursive and organisational level rather than by a policy of standardisation which would have been characteristic for a top-down governmental style of policy-making. From a discursive point of view, the crucial difference between the WFD and its predecessors is its truly ecological orientation. Page and Kaika (2003), following Kallis and Nijkamp (2000) and Grimeaud (2001) characterise the WFD as representing a third phase in the development of EU water policy – and in fact of environmental policy at large, for that

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matter. In the first phase, extending roughly over the 1970s and 1980s, the primary focus was on public health. This led to a set of quality objectives for waters with specific functions for human use, such as fishing or bathing. These quality objectives were translated into a limited number of emission standards for particularly harmful substances. In the second phase, from the end of the 1980s to the end of the 1990s, the perspective widened to water pollution and its prevention in a more encompassing sense. Harm done to ecosystems moved to the centre of attention, leading to a shift from specific substances to more complex problems and mechanisms, such as eutrophication and acidification. Important pieces of legislation in this period were the Nitrates Directives, dealing with pollution from diffuse (i.e., mainly agricultural) sources, and the Urban Wastewater Directive. The WFD heralds the third phase. Here, as mentioned, water quality and water quantity issues merge into one integrated view on water management and refer to adjacent policy areas. The key to this approach was the apparently obvious ‘natural’ unit of the river basin. As Molle (2009) points out, it was not the first time in history that so-called physical givens were taken as starting points for the formulation of a new water policy, but this time it was largely advocated with scientific arguments regarding the functioning of hydro-ecosystems. These arguments not only led to a wide acceptance of the river basin as the ‘natural unit’ of whatever water policies, it also provided the rationale behind the comprehensive or integrated approach that dominates the WFD discourse. Even though the actual implementation of these discursive principles is subject to political controversies and differs across countries, as is revealed below, their effect in terms of agenda-setting – or, maybe, agenda-changing – must not be underestimated. Indeed, throughout Europe, the WFD has played an important role in bringing about an ‘ecological turn’ (Disco 2002) in the framing of a wide variety of water-related issues, ranging from flooding prevention in the north to drought in the south. The view of river basins as natural units and the consequent plea for an integrated approach is the discursive core of the WFD. In political terms, however, ecological river-basin management is by no means self-evident. As Molle (2009: 492) observes, ‘political or administrative boundaries seldom correspond to watershed lines’. The discourse of river basins, in other words, potentially implies a far-reaching re-organisation of the policies it intends to underpin. First, the WFD challenges boundaries between and within states. It thus asks for a new balance between two politicogeographical principles of internal organisation: one based upon water systems as natural units, and one based upon political or administrative units. Whatever solution is opted for – and even though the Directive grants Member States a fair degree of freedom in allocating formal competences in line with existing structures and traditions – this will have an impact on the division of tasks and competencies between different politico-administrative levels. The increasing role of the EU may further

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complicate the picture: as the Commission holds the Member States accountable for the implementation of the WFD, Member State governments might tend to strengthen their control over local authorities, whereas the latter might conceive themselves as better positioned to realise a truly integrated approach. International waters provoke a particular issue of coordination: in the case of trans-boundary watercourses, the WFD strongly urges Member States to coordinate policies. In short, the WFD tends to redraw boundaries within and between states. Second, the WFD also challenges boundaries between established policy sectors: according to the Directive’s integrative principles, policy fields that functioned separately so far are urged to find each other to cooperate, or at least not to hinder or contradict each other. Third and finally, as the WFD invites stakeholders to take part in its implementation, it tends to redraw the boundaries between those actors who used to be involved in (the ecological aspects of) water management and those who used to be not. We briefly elaborate these three cross-boundaries potentials of the WFD. As to the reshuffling of tasks and competencies of different politicoadministrative levels, the first challenge identified above, examples abound from almost all Member States (Ghiotti 2006). The authority on water is mostly ascribed on to central, regional (provincial, departmental, etc.) and local levels. In addition, several Member States have specialised agencies for water management, such as the Water Agencies (Agences de l’Eau) in France or the water boards (waterschappen) in the Netherlands. The geographical boundaries of such dedicated or ‘functional’ bodies are often congruent to watersheds, while they do not coincide with the generic administrative boundaries of provinces, counties, départements, municipalities, and so on. Even though both are specialised and dedicated to water issues, there are essential differences between the Dutch water boards and the French river basin committees. The latter resemble a pluralistic water platform or even a ‘water parliament’, where a variety of stakeholders and governmental levels (central and local authorities, users, riparian owners) negotiate their stakes in river basin issues (see also Betlem 1994). In contrast, the Dutch water boards largely resemble governmental bodies with very specific policy formulation and implementation tasks, seeking cooperation and consensus to support these tasks. As part of the legitimisation thereof, members had to be ‘representatives’ of their respective stakeholder constituency and, recently, have to be elected through a direct voting system. Apart from these similarities and dissimilarities, the tasks and competencies of these specialised bodies, whether Dutch or French, seldom fully cover the multiple requirements of the Directive. As a consequence both generic and dedicated governmental bodies have to deal with different, but often overlapping, aspects of the implementation of the WFD. Other Member States have had to set up entirely new

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administrative structures for dealing with the WFD’s river-basin approach, provoking in turn rivalries with pre-existing bodies. Second, the WFD explicitly sets out to revise the relations between policy sectors that used to function in a more or less separated way. On the one hand, referring to the aforementioned concept of internal integration, this involves different segments of the water domain itself; that is, the regulation of water quality and water quantity, the management of surfacewater and groundwater. The ecological re-framing of water quantity issues, especially, constitutes a small revolution in the water policy field. As Page and Kaika (2003: 333–4) point out, particularly southern Member States fiercely opposed this move, referring to the vital importance of water for the irrigation of agricultural land. They conceived the agricultural services of water to be politically predominant and, consequently, as leading values in whatever effort was made toward integration. In institutional terms, this internal integration requires the coordination and cooperation between agencies so far not used to doing that. This may turn out difficult, as these worlds are likely to represent divergent worldviews (e.g. between water quantity engineers and ecologists) and/or opposing interests: even when farmers and ecologists may have a convergent interest in clean water, they may do so for quite different purposes. On the other hand, sector integration has an external side, involving the links between water policy and other policy areas, such as spatial planning, regional development, nature conservation or infrastructural policy. Here, in fact, one expects the heaviest struggles, including those between Ministries of the Environment and ‘established line agencies’ in other areas, referred to by Molle (2009: 492). In most cases, highly substantive conflicts may underlie such ‘bureaucratic turf battles’ (Molle 2009: 492), for instance regarding the socioeconomic future of underdeveloped regions. Third, the WFD has a direct impact on the actors involved in water management through its stakeholder participation requirements. The Directive asks Member States to inform and consult market parties, citizens and NGOs. More indirectly, the integrated view on water management propagated by the Directive implies that a broader range of actors should get involved in a broader range of water-related issues. As a result, aspects previously in the hands of small circles of experts, such as seemingly ‘technical’ quantity issues, become increasingly subject to political and public debate. From the point of view of transparency and legitimacy, this may be valued as a positive change, but it does not necessarily make things easier in practice. The participation of stakeholders ‘on the ground’ may have a decentralising effect, whereas the potentially far-reaching consequences of the designation of waters and the need to formulate ambitious and costly policy programmes are likely to increase the central government’s tendency to keep a keen eye on the process. These may not only further the political struggles across administrative levels referred to above, but also fuel extra struggles between politicians, market parties and

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society representatives. Stakeholder and citizen participation may further complicate things when relevant competences are allocated to generic and specialised administrative bodies. The consequences of the WFD in terms of levels, sectors and actors interrelate and reinforce each other. The involvement of more sectors, for instance, almost inevitably leads to the involvement of more actors at more levels. In the same vein, a shifting division of competencies across levels, including the establishment or further empowerment of river basin authorities, has an impact on the number and the character of actors involved in water management. This increasing complexity of institutional relations induced by the WFD appears as representative for the shift from government to governance as referred to above. There can be little doubt that, taken together, these shifts amount to a fundamental re-definition of water policy in Europe. In a wider sense, one can argue that the WFD indeed constitutes a new, distinct step in European integration. As hinted at in the introduction, the establishment of the Common Market has gradually led us to view Europe as an area without economic borders, instrumented with a host of legislation eliminating barriers to trade, including the regulation of a multitude of environmental issues with an impact on the functioning of the internal market. The Habitats Directive and Natura 2000 presented an alternative Europe: without ecological borders, but as a network of green areas, with natural reserves and corridors between them. The WFD implies yet another map of Europe, again without borders, but bound together by rivers, streams and lakes. These alternative Europes are not just thought experiments: if properly implemented, the WFD – no less than the Habitats Directive/ Natura 2000 and the Common Market, for that matter – has legal, political and institutional consequences at the Member State level. The next section explores to what extent the ideas behind the WFD have actually materialised in the Member States. THE IMPACT OF THE WATER FRAMEWORK DIRECTIVE: LEVELS, SECTORS AND ACTORS The impact of the WFD is mainly illustrated here by a comparative study of its implementation in five member states: France, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and the UK. The study investigated the ways of implementation in regional settings, focussing on processes of ecological goal-setting in sub-river basins (Uitenboogaart et al. 2009). We will supplement the findings thereof by results from other research projects in the field, especially in the Netherlands and Belgium. The empirical evidence is structured, as announced above, by looking at the possible shifts in or between levels of governance, the impact on the integration of policy sectors, and the significance of the involvement of multiple

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stakeholders. But before we turn to these organisational changes, we recall the substantial raison d’être of the Directive. The ecological turn in water management The core of the WFD is to protect and enhance the status of aquatic ecosystems in close connection to their surroundings and (preferably sustainable) human utilisation. Water is considered a collective good: ‘Water is not a commercial product like any other but, rather, a heritage which must be protected’ (Preamble to Directive 2000/60/EG). Being more than a symbolic statement, it confirms that the Directive has serious, particularly ecological, ambitions. What are the consequences of this ‘ecological turn’ in water management? One of the effects of the WFD is that it pushes ecology – or, more precisely, water quality management and the ecology of aquatic systems, including the hydromorphology of water bodies – higher on the policy agenda. In the Netherlands, for example, water politics traditionally is dominated by flood risk management. Located in the delta of four major European rivers (Rhine, Meuse, Scheldt and Ems), and with more than a quarter of its surface and more than 60 per cent of its population living below sea level, it is essential to prepare for the risk of either river floods or sea floods – or both at the same time. In other words, flood policies are considered urgent matters, and this is also maintained by policy protagonists, while ecology is considered less so, and lacks strong advocates. The Dutch cultural emphasis on flooding issues is not the least in decline. Nonetheless, some Dutch water managers embraced the WFD as an opportunity to take new steps towards better water quality, in particular the ecological perspectives thereon. Not only does the WFD further secure attention on hydroecological issues, it also influences the way member states must set standards and norms. ‘In contrast to older water-related EU directives … and …, for example, German water legislation in the past, the WFD defines comprehensive and mandatory environmental objectives for all waters under the rubric of “good status” (WFD, Article 4.1)’ (Petersen et al. 2009). Only in some cases, as with chemical standards, does this entail uniform environmental standards prescribed by the EU. Instead, it mostly refers to the formulation of environmental ambitions in river basin plans by Member States themselves, through which they commit themselves to specific standards and objectives. Compared to the previous situation, goal-setting processes have become more transparent and Member States will become more accountable (Moellenkamp 2007). In conclusion: even though the WFD offers considerable freedom to choose instruments and pathways, it forces Member States to incorporate Europe’s ecological ambitions and to open up formerly more implicit ways of domestic standard-setting.

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Shifts between levels of governance As the position of ecology is politically strengthened by the WFD and as it prescribes institutional tools, notably river basin management, the Directive has consequences for governmental structures. The first issue dealt with here concerns the impact on the coordination between specialised water agencies or boards and generic administrative bodies. It is safe to state that a river basin approach generally prefers levels of government close to the river basin and dedicated to that ‘natural unit’ of concern. The second issue dealt with below is that of the trans-boundary river basin management as opposed to existing administrative and geographical borders. Multi-level governance A proper assessment of the potential organisational impact of the WFD, asks for some basic data about the level and nature of governance addressed by the Directive in different Member States (Table 1). The table is based upon five case studies, analysing the process of ecological goal setting for surface waters on a sub-river basin level (Uitenboogaart et al. 2009: 228). As Table 1 shows, the WFD triggered governmental authorities in different ways. In the Netherlands and France, the existing specialised water boards and river basin committees at the decentralised level played an important role in preparing the river basin plans. In Denmark, the more centralised Environmental Centres and the Environment Ministry prevailed in policy formulation. Since the beginning of the century, however, Denmark has carried through a considerable decentralisation. Hence, Danish municipalities are responsible for implementing programmes of measures and planning at local level. In Germany, as far as North Rhine–Westphalia is concerned, water policy formulation was dominated by the generic state (Länder) Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, Agriculture and Consumer protection (MUNLV), together with the generic layer of the Bezirksregierung at the regional level. Within our sample, England and Table 1

Main level of government involved and its specialised or generic nature on a sub-basin level of implementation of the WFD in different Member States of the EU Decentralised

Centralised

Specialised

NL: Water boards F: River basin committees

Eng & Wales: Environment Agency DK: Environmental Centres

Generic

DK: Municipalities

D/NRW (Länder) Ministry MUNLV

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Wales, with the Environment Agency in a key role, exhibit the most centralised way of implementing the WFD. To begin with, it is relevant to emphasise that in none of the countries studied did we find novelties in the vein of newly created formal bodies of government on a river basin scale. The Netherlands, for example, created ‘soft’ mechanisms of coordination at a WFD-district level, but decisive responsibilities remained with the existing specialised authorities at the regional and national levels: the water boards and the national water agency (Rijkswaterstaat), under the aegis of the Ministry of Transport and Public Works. However, in those cases where decentralised, specialised water authorities already existed, we would expect these structures to be further strengthened by the WFD. Has this been the case? In Dutch water management, the most important organisational innovation was the transfer of the policy field of groundwater from the provinces to the water boards. This can be seen as strengthening the specialised and decentralised water policy sector, in this case to the disadvantage of a generic level of government at regional scale. In France, the WFD seems to have strengthened the river basin districts and the specialised water agencies as far as policy formulation is concerned, while the policy implementation in France still heavily relies on the generic bodies of departments and municipalities. In countries that show a relatively good organisational fit to river basin management, problems often arise in the coordination and external integration. In addition, stakeholder involvement interferes here: as indicated in Table 1, the Dutch water boards play an important role in WFD implementation, but, because of the sectoral limits of their competencies, it is hard for them to address specific target groups directly, for example concerning Dutch agriculture’s fertilisation policies. It depends on other levels and adjacent domains to take more source-oriented measures crucial to water quality. In Denmark, as we discuss below, the central/national level has more possibilities to address target groups directly. Moss (2004) has labelled the problem at stake here as the dilemma of fit and interplay: the more one opts for a river basin approach, the harder it is to reach addressees outside that specialised water domain. On the other hand, a river basin authority that becomes all-inclusive will inevitably compete with generic governmental bodies. When we take a close look at the implementation of the WFD, it uncovers a classical tension between the ‘natural logic’ of river basin management and the ‘politico-administrative logic’ of classical governmental layers and their respective territories. From an administrative coordination point of view, generic bodies of government, such as the Ministry and the Bezirksregierung at district level in North Rhine–Westphalia, are best equipped to coordinate between different policy domains. This also goes for Denmark, and England and Wales, where broader sectoral agencies at a more centralised level (for example the Environmental Centres coming

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under the Environment Ministry, and the Environment Agency respectively) have a pivotal position. The specialised agencies in the Netherlands and France, in contrast, have no problems in formulating plans, but are likely to meet barriers as soon as they want to implement these, as they do not have grip on neighbouring policy domains. One may wonder if allotting a key role to either generic bodies of government or to a specialised agency has any consequence for the level of ambition in implementing the WFD. In our comparative study this turned out not to be the case (Uitenboogaart et al. 2009). Both the Netherlands and England/Wales preferred a pragmatic approach to many steps taken (legal transposition, designation of water bodies, use of exemptions, etc.), whereas Denmark took, in this stage of the process, a relatively ambitious course – for example, by designating relatively many waters as ‘natural’ rather than ‘heavily modified’ and by a relatively high degree of formalisation of standards. France also displayed considerable ambition. Both in France and in Denmark, however, much of the actual realisation of the plans is left to the municipalities. Thus, a link between a specialised river basin authority (France and the Netherlands) and the level of ambition could not be observed. An alternative explanation may be found in the link between the specific responsibilities of agencies in different phases of the policy cycle and their pragmatism: both the Dutch water boards and the British Environment Agency are involved in policy preparation and formulation as well as in implementing the measures taken. An often echoed conclusion from public administration studies seems to find confirmation here: the more an authority has an encompassing task and bears responsibility for different steps in the policy cycle – or, in other words, the more it is supposed to ‘get its hands dirty’ – the more pragmatic its approach. Trans-boundary waters Moellenkamp (2007) has a very optimistic view on the WFD effect when it comes to trans-boundary river basins. She argues that upstream– downstream relationships, seen as ‘asymmetric upstream externality problems’ have always been more difficult to solve than common poolstructured water problems. In many trans-boundary water issues, be it flooding or pollution, upstream countries are causing problems downstream, while necessary investments to be made upstream are often not economically rational for them. Furthermore, the river basin approach of the WFD creates opportunities to resolve trans-boundary problems because they are ‘more easily transformed into collective problems that need to be solved together by all countries of the basin’ (Moellenkamp 2007: 1,419). In fact, she stresses the creation of a discourse of ‘river basin solidarity’ (2007: 1,423), phrased as ‘joint responsibility’ and ‘common ground’. In this context, as Moellenkamp points out, Europe often acts as

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a scapegoat for difficult trans-boundary relations: ‘The EU Commission, rather than the downstream country, can now be “blamed” for the need for investments, such as in new treatment technologies’ (2007: 1,419). To a certain extent, these effects of the WFD can be recognised: going through similar implementation procedures, joint deadlines, joint monitoring activities, and so forth, in itself creates a frame of reference, a joint vocabulary, and a sense of working together. Paraphrasing Legitimation durch Verfahren (Luhmann 1983/1969), we find ways of ‘framing through procedures’, both to the importance of ecology and to river basin solidarity. However, Moellenkamp’s optimism is not reflected in policy practices everywhere. In a project on cross-border cooperation in river management (Verwijmeren and Wiering 2007), rather slow processes of trans-boundary cooperation were found within the framework of the WFD. Even with a specifically trans-boundary WFD district in place, and between politically and culturally comparable regions at the Dutch– German border, cooperation was not evident (Durth 1996; Bernauer 2002). At the start of the WFD process, even communication on the monitoring of Dutch and German data created difficulties, not to mention joint standard-setting or other signs of a truly integrated river management process (Verwijmeren and Wiering 2007). Finally, even the mapping of the river basin districts themselves often does not cross national borders. In the Rhine river basin, for example, some tributary rivers have been brought under trans-boundary river basin districts (e.g. the so-called Rhine East District with Dutch and German partners), while other parts have been placed in separate districts, including the river Rhine itself. In other words, the WFD map is more bound to administrative boundaries than one would expect from a river basin point of view. The integration of policy sectors Putting water quality and its ecology more prominently on the policy agenda intends to induce increased interactions with other water-related issues and regulations. This is referred to as internal (water system) integration, but this isn’t without contradictions: infrastructural provisions for flood protection, for instance, may have to compete with the need to let fish pass. These interests need to be balanced in a more holistic approach. In the Netherlands the need for internal integration coincided with a lengthy discussion on connecting a highly fragmented water legislation. The WFD legitimised and sped up further integration towards an Integrated Water Act, where all relevant water legislation is put together. Although the WFD did not initiate the discussion on integrated water management in Flanders (Belgium), it clearly legitimised and strengthened the relevant institutions already set up informally (Crabbé 2008). It is fair to state that the WFD generally strengthens the legal position of water law and water agencies by assembling and increasing their authority.

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Not only is the WFD focussed on internal structures of regulating aquatic ecosystems, but, and possibly even more important, it requires external policy integration too. Its river basin approach begs for cooperation and integration with nature conservation, spatial planning, agriculture, and so on. Regarding the inter-relations with nature conservation, there was still much to gain in the world of aquatic ecosystems. So far, the principal impact here has been in increasing informal ties: communication between governmental departments in nature conservation and in water quality respectively increased, not least because they simply needed each other for WFD-related procedural obligations, data gathering, monitoring, cost–benefit analyses, connecting different environmental regulations, and the exchange of expert knowledge. In Denmark, this was not an innovation, as a common legal framework for nature conservation and water management, the so-called Miljømålsloven, had existed since 2003 (Uitenboogaart et al. 2009: 41 and 100). As a result, municipalities must implement measures to meet goals set by the Environmental Centres for both the WFD and the European Birds and Habitats Directives. In France, with its history of river basin planning, linking nature conservation, tourism, shipping and other water-related activities seems more common too. A particular case of external integration is the impact of the WFD on the agricultural policy domain. The latter sector has a great impact on water quality and aquatic ecosystems and, therefore, is one of the most important stakeholders in water policy formulation and implementation. The Danish, due to their centralised governmental approach and the strong role for both the Ministry and the Environmental Centres, have put much emphasis on the agricultural sector and its nitrate pollution, at least in the stage of formulating river basin plans and planning measures. They argue that nitrogen in water can be reduced most cost-effectively by addressing diffuse pollution from the agricultural sector (Uitenboogaart et al. 2009: 102). In the Odense river basin plan, for instance, the lion’s share of the costs of implementation is allocated to measures dealing with agriculture. In the Netherlands, in contrast, although dealing with similar problems of intensive livestock, over-fertilisation and intensive use of pesticides, programmes of measures have been directed towards spatial, hydromorphological or technical clean-up measures. However, hardly any of them straightforwardly address agriculture as the source of pollution problems, as this is the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture rather than that of the water management agencies. This Dutch policy, largely avoiding the core of the problem, reminds one of a doughnut: substance around, but a hole in the middle. This is not unlike the situation in North Rhine–Westphalia (Kastens and Newig 2007) or France (Uitenboogaart et al. 2009). It looks as if in most countries, in view of the huge socioeconomic importance of the agricultural sector, it is politically unfeasible to actually implement the ‘polluter pays’ principle towards this sector – even though this principle is explicitly endorsed by the WFD.

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Public authorities, experts, stakeholders and citizens Article 14 of the WFD states that ‘Member States shall encourage the active involvement of all interested parties in the implementation of this Directive, in particular in the production, review and updating of the river basin plans’. Not only from this article, yet even more explicitly from the WFD’s preamble text, it is clear that this ‘active involvement’ applies to two distinguishable categories here: the public in general on the one hand, the organised interest groups such as agriculture, industry and recreation on the other. Moreover, the Guiding Documents make clear that the ambitions went much further than simple compliance with the Aarhus Convention, as they extensively refer to all kinds of rationales and motives behind participation. In brief, the participatory ideals conveyed by the WFD reflect a common trend in environmental and spatial policy towards new modes of governance (Healey 1998; Van Tatenhove and Leroy 2003). Some scholars characterise the participatory goals and provisions in the WFD as ‘ambitiously formulated’ (Enserink et al. 2007), while others are rather sceptical about their potentials and actual outcomes. Both optimism and scepticism largely relate to political participation in general. Some scholars strongly advocated and elaborated these participatory experiments into practicable approaches (Kasemir et al. 2003; Richards et al. 2004). Others, however, doubt on the juxtaposition of representative and participatory democracy, on its added value to both the quality and the legitimacy of decision-making, and on its impact on power relations (Leroy 2002; Irvin and Stansbury 2004). Some further scepticism, though, builds upon WFD specificities. Steyaert and Ollivier (2007), for instance, suggest an epistemological contradiction between the substantial principles of the WFD on the one hand, and its participatory promises on the other. In brief, they consider the substantial and cognitive aspects of the WFD to be predominantly based upon scientific knowledge and expertise, in other words on a positivist epistemology and a one-way transfer of knowledge. Hence this epistemological positioning hardly leaves any room for actual interactive knowledge production, e.g. for mutual learning, assuming a transdisciplinary epistemology. How, then, is Article 14 put into practice? It is too early to judge the actual contribution and impact of whatever participatory efforts – as the basin management plans are to be finalised when we write. And it is audacious to judge a huge variety of participatory designs, at different scales in diverging contexts. The latter applies in particular to the differences between participation at national or regional level, and that on sub-regional and local level. From the evidence reported on in a series of research projects and publications, participatory approaches at these two levels have quite distinct target groups, different designs and, very probably, different rationales and outcomes.

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Among many others, the Harmonicop project (www.harmonicop.uos.de) regarded the participation induced by the WFD mainly as a series of experiments with collaborative management, and evaluated these from a social learning perspective. The selected cases mainly unfolded at local or sub-regional level, and reflected multiple interactions between experts and public authorities, stakeholders from market and civil society, and ordinary citizens and their associations. At this level the rationales referred to are predominantly those such as open interaction, empowerment and social learning, resulting in typical participatory designs. That is, however, not to say that these efforts were not hindered by all sorts of institutional constraints (Borowski et al. 2008). At supra-regional and national level, though, participation has different patterns, with other players and other motives. As to the players: hardly any participation from the ‘public in general’ is observed at a national level. Rather, classical stakeholders from the market (agriculture, industry, tourism) and from civil society (environmental and nature conservation associations) are seen in national advisory bodies. The same applies to the major and larger basin committees. The involvement of these classical interest groups and the issues they discuss reveal other rationales: the negotiation platforms established in Denmark, in the Netherlands, in France and in Germany (where they were labelled Runde Tische) mainly deal with rather concrete measures, their feasibility and cost-effectiveness and, in particular, the allocation of these costs among different stakeholder groups. The rationale behind these platforms is primarily instrumental: getting the expertise from different parties and, above all, getting their support for the share of costs each of them has to bear (Santbergen et al. 2010). In some cases, for instance in Denmark, this essentially neocorporatist mechanism led to problems as the accumulation of stakeholder demands resulted in rapidly increasing costs. The Danish Ministry of Finance intervened and actually pushed back the stakeholders’ involvement. Santbergen et al. (2010) observe a similar risk in the Netherlands, but report this risk to be largely ruled out from the beginning, in view of the Ministry’s declaration that WFD-implementation in the Netherlands should be ‘feasible and payable’: the Dutch polder model could go on, but not at higher costs. Crabbé (2008) reports similar positions in Flanders basin committees: a strong representation of the classical stakeholders and interests groups, taking care of the respective contributions asked and given, while the citizen remained almost absent. France represents a comparable image: the already predominant position of the agricultural sector in the Agences de l’Eau rather has been confirmed than altered by the WFD. At the same time, though, different Agences de l’Eau have tried to get in touch with average citizens, mainly through information campaigns (for instance, in the Adour basin in south-western France these campaigns involved some sort of public survey). Yet these were aimed at increasing public concern about water and increasing the

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visibility of the Agences de l’Eau, rather than widening the opportunities for participation. As stated, it is too early to assess the real impact of all this participation, by whoever and for whatever reason. Such an assessment would ask for a thorough analysis of the content and processing of the river basin plans to evaluate whether and in what way the WFD participatory approaches did or did not alter pre-existing interactions and power relations, let alone to judge whether they would help to reach the WFD’s ecological goals. From a politico-geographical point of view, though, one can make one further observation that goes beyond the immediate impact of participation. Though they committed themselves to the WFD implementation, including its Article 14, the established authorities seem rather reserved, if not reluctant to make too much of this. That can, of course, be interpreted as mere reservation towards political participation in itself. The latter, even though juxtaposed to classical representative democracy, and by no way meant to substitute it, is often seen as threatening the classical – and institutionalised by constitution – power relations. In addition to these classical political arguments, however, the established authorities implicitly would avoid another risk: if river basin authorities would gather, would go too far in mobilising citizens to identify with their common river basin, would induce too much solidarity (for instance by organising participation and all that is set up with it), they might gain too much status and legitimacy, might risk becoming some sort of political constituency, and all that would be to the detriment of generic politico-territorial identities. There is plenty of evidence to endorse our hypothesis: in the Netherlands, Belgium and France the WFD has refuelled classical, yet delicate, debates on the allocation and division of tasks, for example between the provinces and the water boards. The Belgian provinces successfully opposed the newly set-up water boards to be more than just platforms of coordination. In France, the WFD has yet refuelled the struggles between the municipalities and the departments and, in particular between the departments and the Agences de l’Eau. These are not just bureaucratic clashes: they are simultaneously clashes about how to organise the state’s territory politically. Too much participation on water issues, too much fuss about water agencies, too much political interest and power might, at the end of the day, be to the detriment of the state’s central power. The latter may also explain why Member States, despite all the lip service to cross-boundary water policies, in fact do not prioritise these engagements, and restrict their activities to a few pilot projects, hardly followed up by any institutionalised cross-border organisation. CONCLUSIONS This chapter started with the image of a map of Europe drawn by a fish: it had no borders, but consisted of a network of rivers, streams and lakes. As

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this chapter argued, this map constitutes the discursive core of the EU’s Water Framework Directive. The WFD is essentially built on the view of water as a common good, held together by hydroecological ties. As such, it pushed concerns about water quality and ecology to the top of the political agenda, alongside more traditional water issues. Moreover, the WFD urges the Member States to strengthen the coordination between water policy and other areas, such as agriculture or infrastructure, with a serious impact on aquatic ecosystems. Of course this ecological turn in water management is not exclusively triggered by the WFD. In various Member States, water policy had, to a greater or lesser extent, already been organised according to a hydroecological logic. Yet it is one of the WFD’s major achievements that it affirmed, legitimised and formalised the idea of ecological river basin management and disseminated it in a comprehensive and consistent way to all corners of Europe. This chapter analysed to what extent this ecological turn, the discursive ‘undercurrent’ of the WFD, actually materialised in policy practice. Our broad, at times necessarily impressionistic, overview of the Directive’s implementation in five Member States focussed on its impact on the levels of governance, on the integration of policy sectors and on the involvement of different types of actors in policy-making and implementation. As it is an emblematic representative of a new style of governance, the WFD impinges upon all three dimensions. Yet its impact can be characterised as small steps, rather than revolutionary change. Although the factors are analytically separated in the above, we conclude on an emphasis of the interplay between the impacts on levels, sectors and actors. In the following, two examples of such interplay are highlighted. Taking river basin management as a ‘natural’ starting point for water policies might potentially lead to far-reaching transfers of tasks and competencies from generic administrative bodies (central government, provinces, municipalities, etc.) to specialised river basin agencies. Yet only gradual shifts could be observed here. This should not only be interpreted as a matter of institutional path dependence – the resistance to change or stickiness of existing institutions (Thelen and Steinmo 1992), – but also relates to the aforementioned dilemma of ‘fit and interplay’ in integrated water management (Moss 2004). Whereas specialised water agencies exhibit an excellent fit to the physical properties of a river basin, they are likely to encounter problems in achieving coordination with other policy sectors, another key requirement of the WFD. Particularly in relation to agriculture, this is anything but an easy task. Generic administrative authorities, in contrast, are better positioned to integrate different sectors, even when their boundaries do not correspond to those of river basins. Member States are still in the process of striking a workable balance in this dilemma. A similar contrast between generic institutions and specialised agencies re-appears when considering the involvement and participation of different actors. At first sight, the main dilemma in this respect entails the

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involvement of either the public in general or classical, organised interests. Whereas the former requires an open, interactive setting of social learning, the latter generally comes down to bargaining on the costs and benefits of policies. But there is more to it: examples of open participation involving a wide range of public authorities, experts, stakeholders and ordinary citizens have so far been limited mainly to local and sub-regional levels, typically staged by specialised river basin or sub-river basin agencies. The participation of organised interests, in contrast, has taken place predominantly at higher, generic levels of government, where it links up to existing, often neo-corporatist settings of negotiation between public and private actors. Neither the generic public authorities nor the private actors involved have anything to win by giving up these important platforms in favour of bottom-up participation at (sub-)river basin levels. Thus, the struggle between a rather decentralised, specialised and dedicated policy organisation versus a rather centralised, generic one comes in here too. In conclusion: the map drawn by the fish reflects the physical reality of rivers, streams and lakes in Europe. It is important that this map now, propagated by the WFD, also lives in the minds of politicians and civil servants from Brussels to the most remote corners of the EU. This effect is mainly reached by ‘soft power’: through advocating normative concepts and procedures. At that point, however, the ‘watery’ map implied by the WFD has to compete with other maps. This chapter argues that the fundamental clash between a hydroecological and a classical administrative view of organising the territory explains many of the difficulties that accompany the WFD’s implementation. This clash has consequences not only for the administrative coordination between governmental bodies and policy sectors, but also for the organisation of democratic representation, stakeholder involvement and citizen participation. Whereas the assignment of key policy competences to specialised water agencies may facilitate internal integration within the water sector, it simultaneously tends to hinder the external integration with other policy domains. What may seem to start as an exercise in re-drafting a couple of specific administrative boundaries for the purpose of a more ecological management of water rapidly gets entangled in all sorts of political, economic and social conflicts and complexities, which all turn out to be somehow connected to these boundaries. These ramifications make the WFD one of the major, and most ambitious, projects of European integration of our time. REFERENCES Bernauer, T. 2002. Explaining Success and Failure in International River Management, Aquatic Sciences – Research Across Boundaries 64/1: 1–19. Betlem, I. 1994. River Basin Administration in England and Wales, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Amsterdam: Centre for Comparative Studies

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on River Basin Administration, Delft University and Faculty of Law, University of Amsterdam. Borowski, I., J.-P. Le Bourhis, C. Pahl-Wostl and B. Barraqué. 2008. Spatial Misfit in Participatory River Basin Management: Effects on Social Learning, a Comparative Analysis of German and French Case Studies, Ecology and Society 13/1: 7 (online). Crabbé, A. 2008. Integraal waterbeleid in Vlaanderen: van fluïde naar solide (Integrated water policy in Flanders: from fluid to solid; in Dutch). Antwerp: Universiteit Antwerpen. Disco, C. 2002. Remaking Nature: The Ecological Turn in Dutch Water Management, Science, Technology & Human Values 27/2: 206. Durth, R. 1996. European experience in the solution of cross-border environmental problems, Intereconomics 31/2: 62–7. Enserink, B., M. Patel, N. Kranz and J. Maestu. 2007. Cultural Factors as Co-Determinants of Participation in River Basin Management, Ecology and Society 12/2: 24 (online). Ghiotti, S. 2006. Les territoires de l’eau: Gestion et développement en France: Paris: CNRS Éditions. Grimeaud, D. 2001. Reforming EU Water Law: Towards Sustainability? (three parts), European Environmental Law Review 10/2: 41–51; 10/3: 88–97; 10/4: 125–35. Healey, P. 1998. Collaborative Planning in a Stakeholder Society, Town Planning Review 69/1: 1–21. Irvin, R.A. and J. Stansbury. 2004. Citizen Participation in Decision Making: Is It Worth the Effort?, Public Administration Review 64/1: 55–65. Jordan, A., R. Wurzel and A. Zito (eds). 2003. New Instruments of Environmental Governance. London: Frank Cass. Kaika, M. 2003. The Water Framework Directive: A New Directive for Changing Social, Political and Economic European Framework, European Planning Studies 11/3: 299–316. Kaika, M. and B. Page. 2003. The EU Water Framework Directive: Part 1. European Policy-Making and the Changing Topography of Lobbying, European Environment 13: 314–27. Kallis, G. and P. Nijkamp. 2000. Evolution of EU Water Policy: A Critical Assessment and a Hopeful Perspective, Journal of Environmental Law and Policy 3: 301–55. Kasemir, B., J. Jäger, C.C. Jaeger and M.T. Gardner (eds). 2003. Public Participation in Sustainability Science. A Handbook. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kastens, B. and J. Newig. 2007. The Water Framework Directive and Agricultural Nitrate Pollution: Will Great Expectations in Brussels be Dashed in Lower Saxony?, European Environment 17/4: 231–46. Knill, C. and A. Lenschow (eds). 2000. Implementing EU Environmental Policy: New Directions and Old Problems. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Knill, C. and D. Liefferink. 2007. Environmental Politics in the European Union: Policy-Making, Implementation and Multi-Level Governance. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Leroy, P. 2002. Environmental Politics, Participation and Political Inequality, Naturalia. Sciences Sociales et Environnement, numéro thématique d’EUROPAEA 8/1–2: 153–67.

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Luhmann, N. 1983/1969. Legitimation durch Verfahren. Berlin: Suhrkamp. Meijerink, S. and M. Wiering. 2009. River Basin Management in Europe: The ‘Uploading and Downloading’ of a New Policy Discourse, in B. Arts, A. Lagendijk and H. van Houtum (eds), The Disoriented State: Shifts in Governmentality, Territoriality and Governance, Environment & Policy Series, Vol. 49. Dordrecht: Springer. Moellenkamp, S. 2007. The ‘WFD-Effect’ on Upstream-Downstream Relations in International River Basins? Insights from the Rhine and the Elbe basins, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions 4/3: 1,407–28. Molle, F. 2009. River-Basin Planning and Management: The Social Life of a Concept, Geoforum 40: 484–98. Moss, T. 2004. The Governance of Land Use in River Basins: Prospects for Overcoming Problems of Institutional Interplay with the EU Water Framework Directive, Land Use Policy 21/1: 85–94. Page, B. and M. Kaika. 2003. The EU Water Framework Directive: Part 2. Policy Innovation and the Shifting Choreography of Governance, European Environment 13: 328–43. Petersen, T., B. Klauer and R. Manstetten. 2009. The Environment as a Challenge for Governmental Responsibility: The Case of the European Water Framework Directive, Ecological Economics 68/7: 2,058–65. Richards, C., K. Sherlock and C. Carter. 2004. Practical Approaches to Participation, SERP Policy Brief No. 1, Series Editors: C. Carter and C.L. Spash. Aberdeen: Macaulay Institute. Santbergen, L., P. Leroy and S. Meijerink. 2010. The Art of Active Involvement: Experiences with Stakeholder Participation in the Implementation of the European Water Framework Directive at a Regional Scale in the Netherlands (unpublished paper). Steyaert, P. and G. Ollivier. 2007. The European Water Framework Directive: How Ecological Assumptions Frame Technical and Social Change, Ecology and Society 12/1: 25 (online). Thelen, K. and S. Steinmo. 1992. Historical Institutionalism in Comparative Politics, in S. Steinmo, K. Thelen and F. Longstreth (eds), Structuring Politics; Historical Institutionalism in Comparative Analysis, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 1–32. Uitenboogaart, Y, J.H.J. van Kempen, M. Wiering and H.F.M.W. van Rijswick (eds). 2009. Dealing with Complexity and Policy Discretion: The Implementation of the Water Framework Directive in Five Member States. The Hague: SDU Publishers. Van Rijswick, H.F.M.W and B.-J. van Weeren (eds). 2008. EG-recht en de praktijk van het waterbeheer (EG Regulations and Water Management Practice; in Dutch) (second, revised edition). Utrecht: STOWA. Van Tatenhove, J. and P. Leroy. 2003. Environment and Participation in a Context of Political Modernisation, Environmental Values 12: 155–74. Verwijmeren, J. and M. Wiering (eds). 2007. Many Rivers to Cross: Cross Border Co-Operation in River Management. Delft: Eburon.

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12 The Trans-boundary Rivers on the Iberian Peninsula and the Water Management Regime between Spain and Portugal Jos G. Timmerman

INTRODUCTION The Iberian peninsula located in south-west Europe is in a unique situation as it is more or less isolated from the rest of Europe by the mountainous ridge of the Pyrenees. The Pyrenees form a hydrological barrier that is only crossed by some small streams in the Ebro basin in the east and the Bidasoa basin in the west. The centre of the peninsula consists of a series of flat lands with an average height of 600 m above sea level that occupy around half of the mainland area. This land is surrounded to the north by the Cantabrian mountain range, to the east by the Iberian mountains, and to the south by the Sierra Morena. The land slopes slowly toward the Atlantic coast, which results in draining of most of the large mainland rivers through Portugal into the Atlantic (Santafé Martínez 2003). Spain and Portugal have five rivers in common: Miño/Minho, Lima, Duero/Douro, Tejo/Tajo and Guadiana, which essentially start from Spain and then enter Portugal (Figure 1). The most pressing problem for the rivers shared by Spain and Portugal is the water scarcity and allocation problem. Water allocation through the construction of dams and aqueducts or canals devoted to store and transfer water in Spain, both to generate electricity and to irrigate, are a major issue in water management disputes between the countries. Such construction will eventually reduce the volumes of water available from Spanish-born rivers by 46 per cent of the total flows for Portugal. Portugal and Spain share the same goal of development through intensification of agriculture (Mostert and Barraqué 2006). Northern Portugal, because of greater oceanic influences and higher elevations, has a temperate climate with annual precipitation of 760 mm. The north of the country is consequently not water scarce. Prevailing in the south is a Mediterranean type of climate, and rainfall totals about 510 mm a year. As a result, water shortage in Portugal is relatively low and the conflict about water allocation between Portugal and Spain is not very severe.

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Figure 1. Shared river basins in the Iberian Peninsula (www.cadc-albufeira.org).

In 1998, the ‘Convention on Cooperation for the Protection and Sustainable Use of the Waters of the Spanish–Portuguese River Basins’, the so-called Albufeira Convention, was signed. In the Convention, Spain agreed to postpone its projects to transfer water away from Portugal, although Portugal did not require their complete abandonment. The position of Portugal was ambiguous as Portugal does not want Spain to influence the water flows but at the same time Portugal developed plans for multipurpose projects that would influence the flows in the country. As a result, although the Albufeira Convention is much more based on the principles of integrated water management than previous bilateral agreements, in practice it does not exclude radical interference with hydrological conditions (Maia 2003; Mostert and Barraqué 2006). Where the Convention is an important improvement in setting the conditions for better cooperation, in practice still substantial barriers exist that prevent a joint and enhanced approach towards the management of the basins, as will be discussed in this chapter. This chapter studies the water management situation on the Iberian peninsula from a trans-boundary water management regimes perspective. To this end, the chapter will focus on the five elements constituting a transboundary regime: policy setting, legal setting, the institutional setting including the actor networks, information management, and financing systems (Raadgever et al. 2008). This will lead to conclusions on the relationship between the two countries, also in view of the changing hydrological conditions that climate change is expected to impose upon the peninsula. The chapter will introduce the general hydrological and

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related characteristics of the Iberian peninsula and will provide background information on water management regimes. The situation in the Iberian peninsula regarding the five constituting elements of regimes will be discussed and conclusions will be drawn on the relationship between the two countries in view of power relationships and cooperation, with special attention to the effects of climate change. GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE IBERIAN PENINSULA The five rivers shared by Portugal and Spain – Minho, Lima, Douro, Tagus and Guadiana – cover a total basin area of 268,500 km2. Of the total transboundary basins area, 79 per cent lies in Spain, accounting for some 45 per cent of Spain’s territory, and 21 per cent lies in the Portuguese part, covering some 65 per cent of the Portuguese territory. Spain is the upstream country in all basins with the exception of the Guadiana; this river flows from Spain and after a bordering stretch enters Portuguese territory. Then the lower and estuarine stretch again and form the border. The total natural mean annual flow of the five rivers together represents some 45 per cent (140 km3) of the freshwater generated on the peninsula. This amounts to approximately 67 per cent of the natural resources of Portugal and 39 per cent for Spain. Other freshwater resources (approximately 35 km3) are contained in the groundwater reserves of the basins, of which some 29 km3 is found on Spanish territory. The bilateral agreements, as well as Portugal and Spain’s water policy, are therefore of major importance to the countries’ water resources sharing (Maia 2000a; Maia 2003; Santafé Martínez 2003). Table 1 provides the drainage area and discharges of the five rivers. Note that the rivers on average run dry in summer. To facilitate seasonal and year-to-year water storage capacity, Portugal and Spain have constructed numerous dams. For example, there are 1,824 dams in the Guadiana river basin. This water storage is used for agricultural irrigation, which is the major water-user in Spain and Portugal (accounting Table 1 Drainage area and discharge characteristics of the five rivers shared by Spain and Portugal Area Portugal km2

Mino 850 Lima 1,180 Douro 18,600 Tagus 24,800 Guadiana 11,500 Source: UNECE 2007.

%

5 48 19 31 17

Spain km2

16,230 1,300 78,832 55,800 55,300

Discharge %

95 52 81 69 83

Total km2

Qmin. m3/s

17,080 2,480 97,432 80,600 66,800

7 0 0 0 0

Qavg. m3/s

314 68 567 316 162

Qmax. m3/s

4,681 1,380 8,835 13,103 10,072

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for over 40 per cent of total water used in Portugal and over 60 per cent in Spain). Water for agriculture is especially needed in spring and early summer. Another major user of water is tourism, where the demand for water is greatest during the summer months. Increasing hydroelectric energy production in both countries also influences the water storage and water availability (Olay et al. 2004). The central problem for Spain is that water is available in the north of the country while the highest water demand is in the south. To deal with this, Spain has developed large-scale irrigation systems including the transfer of water for irrigation between catchment areas. This is a major issue for Spanish–Portuguese transboundary water relations as Portugal is the downstream country, and 46 per cent of Portugal’s water resources originate in Spain. On the Portuguese side, irrigation and cattle farms suffer from reduced volumes coming from Spain. This is aggravated in years of drought, involving serious difficulties in the satisfaction of the minimum water necessities. A large proportion of the water management actions concerning water quantity taken in Spain consequently have direct repercussions on Portuguese water planning and management (Gooch et al. 2002). Next to water allocation and scarcity, pollution of the rivers is considered a problem. The increase of water demand and the inadequacy of water management in the agricultural, industrial and domestic sectors, together with the consequences of the climatic conditions in the river regime, contribute to a decreasing availability of water of adequate quality (Olay et al. 2004). For instance, wastewater treatment plants are old and often not well maintained, bringing about insufficient treatment and a high risk of breakdown and subsequent spills of contaminated water into the rivers. The river Louro, a Spanish tributary to the Miño, drains important agglomerations such as the industrial area of Porriños and the city of Tuy in Spain, and carries insufficiently treated industrial and municipal wastewaters to Portugal. In Portugal, there are two abandoned wolfram mines that have a local impact on the quality of the water resources of the Miño River. The Lima River is, apart from irrigation activities, mainly influenced by agricultural activities including the use of fertilizers and pesticides. There is also a risk of contamination from several abandoned ore mines. The Douro River is influenced by both agriculture and wastewater. In Portugal, there is a risk of contamination from abandoned ore mines. Untreated or insufficiently treated industrial wastewater is still of concern, and breakdowns of municipal wastewater treatment systems are the reasons for recurring significant discharges of polluted water into the river. Some Spanish tributaries of the Douro have high phosphate concentrations due to urban and industrial effluents. Two European capitals (Madrid and Lisbon) depend on the Tagus River for their water supply and in turn significantly affect the chemical and ecological status of the river. In upstream Spain, part of the river’s flow is diverted to the (national) Segura basin, supplying 1.5 million people in southern Spain with drinking water,

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providing irrigation water to the region and supporting the ecosystem in the La Mancha Nature Reserve. The river is also influenced by inflow of irrigation water from agriculture that is contaminated with fertilizers and pesticides. There is a significant risk of breakdowns of wastewater treatment systems, which result in considerable discharges of polluted water into the river. The nuclear power plant at Almarez (Spain) has a potential to contaminate the Tagus with radioactive substances. The Guadiana River, finally, is influenced by contaminated irrigation water from agriculture, there is a risk of water contamination by leakages from several abandoned ore mines and there is a high risk of breakdowns of wastewater treatment systems. Due to the implementation of the Portuguese National Water Plan and the Portuguese Water Supply and Residual Water Treatment Plan, the status of the rivers in Portuguese territory is improving (UNECE 2007). WATER MANAGEMENT REGIMES Water management is based on certain (implicit or explicit) principles, rules and decision-making procedures that enable convergence of stakeholders’ expectations. Such a set of principles, rules and procedures is called a regime (Heyns et al. 2008). Trans-boundary water regimes usually include formal rules such as international water conventions, statutes of transboundary water commissions, cooperative agreements adopted by national governments aimed at coordinating national water management activities in trans-boundary water basins, and relevant national laws and procedures. Regimes also include informal rules such as traditional ways of using natural resources (traditional ways of transport or fishing, for example) that are informally accepted in trans-boundary water basins but are not documented as formal norms in agreements or contracts (Roll et al. 2008). Prevention and resolution of (potential) conflicts between water uses in riparian countries, and avoidance of severe effects of floodings, droughts, accidents, and so on, especially in trans-boundary waters, compel countries sharing a water resource to reach agreement on common rules and procedures of cooperation to jointly manage these water resources (Nilsson 2006). This cooperation is a component of the overarching term ‘water governance’ which depicts a change in thinking about the nature of policies. A more contemporary, multiscale, polycentric governance is replacing the notion of government as the single decision-making authority. Governance takes into account that a large number of stakeholders in different institutional settings contribute to and participate in policy and management of a resource. Participation of the civil society in water management is so important, firstly, because participation may increase (public) awareness and acceptance of the problems that the policy-maker and water-manager face

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and of the measures that need to be taken to solve these problems. Secondly, participation may lead to better decisions as it enriches the decision-making process with relevant viewpoints, interests and information about the water issue that could not have been generated otherwise. It helps to rule out overlooking issues, which in turn may improve the decisions. Thirdly, participation may increase the legitimacy of decision-making, as it enables the stakeholders to engage in deliberation about the decisions that need to be taken. Fourthly, participation may increase the accountability of decision-making, as participants get an inside view in the decision-making process and they become co-responsible for the decisions made and the actions taken. Finally, participation may result in learning. Stakeholders, government and scientific experts enter into a dialogue and, by interaction and debate, they learn how to collectively manage a river basin and deal with conflicting views and interests (van de Kerkhof and Huitema 2004; Pahl-Wostl et al. 2007). Moreover, participation can support reducing corruption or defective enforcement of legal provisions (World Water Assessment Programme 2009). Governance thus differs from the old hierarchical model of government in which state authorities exert sovereign control over the people and groups making up civil society. Governance includes the increasing importance of basically non-hierarchical modes of governing, where non-state actors (formal organizations such as NGOs, private companies, consumer associations, etc.) participate in the formulation and implementation of public policy. Governance thus encompasses a broad range of processes related to the coordination and steering of a wide variety of stakeholders by formal and informal institutions. The water management regime is consequently a pivotal point in achieving a well-organized water governance system (Timmerman et al. 2008). The principles of integrated water resources management (IWRM) are the generally accepted basis for water management regimes; IWRM includes the water sectors in its approach and water sectors should adopt these principles. Water sectors rely on the availability of water resources, but should also be aware of their responsibility for them. Water management faces major challenges caused by the variability and changing nature of water supplies as a result of climate change, along with the limited nature of scientific information and technical knowledge. Reliance on conventional methods of water management, based on the statistical analysis of historical data series, is in many cases not sufficient. Under such conditions, analysis should proceed iteratively with an emphasis on uncertainties rather than on the known (Pahl-Wostl 2002; Kabat and van Schaik 2003). Adaptive management is advocated as a timely extension of IWRM to cope with these challenges. Adaptive management aims at increasing the adaptive capacity of river basins based on a profound understanding of key factors that determine a basin’s vulnerability. More attention has to be devoted to understanding and managing the transition,

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the structural change in the way a societal system operates (van der Brugge et al. 2004), toward more adaptive regimes that take into account environmental, technological, economic, institutional and cultural characteristics of river basins (Pahl-Wostl et al. 2005; Pahl-Wostl 2007). This transition implies a change toward understanding management as learning rather than control, and toward including the human dimension as integral part of the management process (Gleick 2003). Thus far, different elements of management and use of water resources have been mentioned. These elements are structured here into five central elements that describe trans-boundary regimes: policy setting, legal setting, the institutional setting including the actor networks, information management, and financing systems (Anonymous 2001b; Raadgever et al. 2008). These elements are essential building blocks in developing a water management regime that is not only able to deal with contemporary issues but is also prepared for the impacts of climate change on water resources (Timmerman et al. 2010). LEGAL SETTING European Union legislation Both Spain and Portugal have, in accordance with the European Water Framework Directive (European Commission 2000), updated their internal laws in order to prevent ecological deterioration and pollution of surface waters, and to recoup surface waters, so as to reach a good water condition. The Water Framework Directive defines the indicative parameters of hydromorphological and physical-chemical quality for the monitoring program, which will be analysed for classification of the waters (Anonymous 2001a). The Water Framework Directive declares that future river basin management in the member states of the EU should be undertaken with relevant stakeholders participating in the setting up and implementation of plans. Specifically, the guidance document on public participation under the Water Framework Directive identifies three groups: the ‘general public’, or unorganized groups of individuals in the community who nevertheless have a stake in the management of the river basin; ‘stakeholders’, consisting of representatives of groups or organizations affected by or having an effect on a management plan; and ‘competent authorities’, which have the final responsibility for deciding on and implementing the management plan (Olay et al. 2004). Bilateral conventions The border between the two countries is 1,000 km long and was established by a Treaty of Limits in 1864. The Treaty specifies that rivers crossing the

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border are of common use to both countries. The ‘Convention on the Regulation of the Hydroelectric Utilization of the International Part of the River Douro‘ (1927) was the first river agreement between the two countries and dealt with hydropower production. The Convention was extended in 1964 to also cover the tributaries of the Douro. In 1968 the Convention was extended to cover all international rivers between Portugal and Spain, and additional uses of water other than hydroelectricity were included. A bilateral Commission composed of government-appointed Portuguese and Spanish delegates was established under the 1927 Convention. This commission has consultative, deliberative, or supervisory functions, depending on the issue (Maia 2000a; Santafé Martínez 2003). The commission was active until the establishment of the Albufeira Convention. Within the scope of international and European Community environmental laws, and aiming at sustainable exploitation of water, in November 1998 a new bilateral agreement, the ‘Convention on Cooperation for the Protection and Sustainable Use of the Waters of the Spanish–Portuguese River Basins’ (Albufeira Convention) was signed by both countries. The Convention established a minimum flow at specific sections of the river during years of normal precipitation (Iberaqua 2003), and a framework for cooperation based on aims of sustainability focusing on: the systematic exchange of information about water quality and quantity, about water use, about discharges, and about plans for new infrastructure and programmes; coordination of water management and evaluation of the impact of new projects; facilitating the preparation of joint studies of trans-boundary waters; and supporting the two countries to participate in European and international programmes (Barreira 2000). Some important points of the bilateral agreement are (Matos 2004): •



The parties coordinate the promotion and protection of good surface water and groundwater conditions in the hydrographical Luso-Spanish basins, aiming at sustainable exploitation of these waters, including actions that contribute to mitigate scarcity and drought effects. To carry out this objective, a cooperation mechanism was established aiming at: a) exchange of regular and systematic information with regard to activities susceptible to trans-boundary impacts; b) individual or joint adoption of legal, administrative or technical measures necessary for the application and development of the Convention. Concerning water quality, the parties made an inventory for evaluation and classification of trans-boundary waters. This included quality status, actual and potential uses and the conservation of sites of natural interest, as well as definition of the objectives and water quality standards.

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• •

269

Coordination of the procedures for pollution prevention and control for diffuse discharges and adoption of the measures that are necessary for trans-boundary water protection in accordance with the European Community law through the setting of emission boundary-values and quality objectives. Flow rate regimes to guarantee good water conditions are defined through an additional protocol of the Convention. Exchange of the registers, database and studies concerning trans-boundary impacts. Special attention focuses on substances such as micropollutants with carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic and/or bio-accumulative properties, and substances such as cyanide, metals, arsenic, biocides, and nitrates and phosphates.

The new Convention is framed and inspired by several UN Conventions and EU Directives, and incorporates the principles and obligations defined in the EU Water Framework Directive. The latter includes joint management of the international river basins, with Member States being expected to develop a single River Basin Management Plan (Maia 2003). While the Albufeira Convention contains a provision on access to information, it is not very ambitious when it comes to public participation. However, even the inclusion of a clause on public participation is a step ahead in this region, where there is only a weak tradition of participatory measures. Perhaps more important in this respect is the Water Framework Directive, which includes a number of stipulations concerning information to the public (Langaas et al. 2002). National legislation In Spain, water administration was assigned to regional organizations in 1985. The Water Act was adapted to the European Union rules in 1999. According to these provisions, water resource planning is done through individual river basin plans for each river basin. River basin authorities are responsible for these plans. A total of 14 plans were developed and approved. Since 2001, the National Water Plan, which aims at coordinating measures of all the River Basin Plans, is effective. The plan was officially presented to Portugal, but makes no explicit reference to Portugal or to the 1998 Convention (Maia 2003). In Portugal, the national water law dated back to 1919. The water administration units do not coincide with the river catchments. The new Water Law, established in 2005, has led to the establishment of River Basin Districts. Portugal also has to comply with EU regulation, and River Basin Plans were completed in 2000 for the four main international river basins; these were officially presented to Spain. In 2001, plans were completed for the remaining 11 river basins. Management of the international rivers is the responsibility of the Portuguese Water Institute (INAG), for the national

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rivers; Regional Environment and Territorial Ordinance Boards are responsible for the other basins (Maia 2003). POLICY SETTING Trans-boundary level The Albufeira Convention lays down a framework for cooperation for the protection of the waters and for sustainable exploitation. It searches for a balance between the use and the protection of the waters within a framework of sustainable development. It also aims at coordination between both countries of the water-management activities. The sustainability criteria imply that actions to exploit the waters performed by the countries must be sustainable and have no significant impacts on the basin. To support cooperation, methods are established for exchanging information, consulting between organizations, and adopting joint activities. The exchange of information includes information not only on water quality and quantity, but also on legislation and administrative practices, in order to identify comparable situations between countries and promote the use of similar tools. The information is also conveyed to the public in general in line with the Aarhus Convention on access to environmental information and the principles of the European Union (Santafé Martínez 2003). The Albufeira Convention also contains provisions related to extreme phenomena or exceptional situations. Studies are planned to optimize the operation of the infrastructures for flood mitigation. Drought situations are difficult to distinguish from structural water scarcity and an extreme drought situation is therefore difficult to define. Currently, indicators are worked out to identify such situations. These indicators are to be incorporated in national planning instruments as situations deviating from average conditions to account for in the River Basin Plans in future, in both Spain and in Portugal. This is ever more important because drought situations become more likely to occur in the Spanish–Portuguese basins because of climate change (Santafé Martínez 2003). While there is a strong focus on consumptive water uses, nonconsumptive aspects (environment, fisheries, tourism) are largely neglected. The largest part of the budget goes to the construction of domestic water supply and water sewage treatment infrastructure. Water abstraction for irrigation is the main cause of aquifer over-exploitation. Although the authorities are well aware of the problem, they are not able to provide an effective solution, both because of a lack of political will and because of the huge economic and social interests linked to agriculture and the connected irrigation water use in the area. The water quantity problem is seen as solely an agricultural problem and is tackled, accordingly, by the

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agricultural sector, without having an integrated overview of water resources (WWF 2003a). National level In Portugal, a National Water Plan and a set of River Basin Plans were approved in 2001. These plans took into account the Water Framework Directive compliance needs. Creation of River Basin Districts and Administrations are arranged through the ‘Lei da Água’ (National Water Law), which was approved in June 2005. This law also takes into account the international character of the shared river basins. Both the European Union water policy and the Albufeira Convention are pushing towards the internal development of a national water reform policy and connected institutions that take into account the cooperation with Spain and the benefits this can provide (Aquastress 2005). Portugal has excellent legal and regulatory instruments in place but implementation is poor. The authorities responsible for licensing and monitoring activities have little human and financial resources to enforce the licensing system. The River Basin Plans stress the importance of implementing the user-pays principle; however, few resources are allocated to that measure. Water-quality problems largely originate from intensive farming, among others from illegal sewage water discharges from pig production farms and olive mills. Pollution control instruments for regulation of sewage water discharges from point sources like, for instance pig farms, exist but are not sufficiently enforced by the authorities. Legal and regulatory instruments for diffuse pollution, mainly by nitrates, are only in place for farms situated in Vulnerable Zones under the Nitrates Directive (WWF 2003a). Spain has a set of existing legal instruments (water permits, obligation to measure water consumption, emission permits, quality standards for emissions, training for staff managing pesticides), but they are very ineffective due to the laxity of their enforcement on the ground. This leads to regular law breaching and, among others, a lack of legal liability for environmental damage due to diffuse agricultural pollution. For instance, an estimated 49 per cent of the boreholes existing in the river basins are illegal. Although diffuse pollution is recognized in the River Basin Management Plan, pollution generated by agriculture is only tackled in a systematic way in Vulnerable Zones under the Nitrate Directive (WWF 2003b). The revised European Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) promotes the reduction of agricultural land. Both Spain and Portugal are looking for measures that will decrease the water demands and to rehabilitate and upgrade their irrigation infrastructure, of which some 30 per cent is over a hundred years old and experiences large water losses. A review of the agricultural sector policy is also envisaged. Despite these tendencies for

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decreasing agricultural activity, both countries foresee an increase of irrigation (Maia 2000b). INSTITUTIONAL SETTING: THE FORMAL ACTORS The European Union The European Union influences water management in the EU Member States. The Directorate-General Environment of the European Commission initiates and defines new environmental legislation and ensures that measures which have been agreed are actually implemented by the member states. Several European directives have been formulated – on specific uses of water, marine pollution, inland waters and discharges of substances – that influence water resources management. The most relevant directive for water management is the European Water Framework Directive, because of its large consequences for (inter)national water management. Trans-boundary actors To accomplish the objectives of the Albufeira Convention, a Conference of Parties has been set up. This body is in charge of political issues arising from the application and development of the Convention, with very wide powers. It is composed of representatives appointed by each government and presided over by a minister from each of the parties. Next to that, the Commission for the Implementation and Development of the Convention (CADC) is installed. This Commission is foremost a working body composed of Portuguese and Spanish delegations, each with nine nominated delegates. The president of the Portuguese delegation is a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the president of the Spanish delegation is a representative of the Ministry of Environment. The delegates are responsible for: resolution of disputes, carrying out studies; collecting, processing, exchanging and managing information; identifying conditions that set exceptional regimes (floods or droughts) in action; implementing technical and administrative procedures for cooperation under both normal and exceptional conditions; and developing such procedures, in particular through the preparation of additional regulatory instruments and proposals for amendments to the Convention. The Commission thus has a wide range of responsibilities in support of implementing the Albufeira Convention. The Commission reports to the Conference of Parties (Matos 2004).

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National, regional and local formal actors There is no single body in charge of water management in the river basins in either country. In Portugal, under the Ministry of the Environment, LandUse Planning and Regional Development, the National Water Institute INAG is in charge of planning. Regional environment authorities carry out monitoring and licensing activities. Wetlands as well as coastal and estuarine waters are under the jurisdiction of the Institute for Nature Conservation, except for the harbour area, which is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Administration. Institutional responsibility for water management is distributed between the Ministry of the Environment, Land-Use Planning and Regional Development and other relevant Ministries such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fishing, which has responsibility for water infrastructure and policy development for agriculture and river fishing; the Ministry of Economy, having responsibility for the national energy sector policy, including using national resources for hydropower, for example; and the Ministry of Health, which is responsible for public health impairments related to water resources (WWF 2003a, 2003b; Aquastress 2005). In Spain, formally, the River Basin Authorities under the Ministry of Environment are the main bodies responsible for all water management in the river basin. In practice, however, there is a competing relationship with the regional authorities for agricultural development that represent the main water users. These regional authorities are also the responsible authorities for urban wastewater treatment (WWF 2003b). Other actors are the Basin Water Councils, a specialized service of the Civil Guards (National Police) for the protection of the environment, the Directorate General of Planning and Rural Development of the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Geographical Institute, the Technological Institute of Geo-mining, the Centre for Hydrographical Studies, Water users’ associations and irrigation associations, and municipalities (Maestu et al. 2003; WWF 2003a, 2003b). Interactions and relations in formal and informal actor networks The Albufeira Convention regulates the relationship between Spain and Portugal. The Convention among others stipulates the importance of participation of the civil society in the work of the Albufeira Commission (CADC) and in the development of cooperation between Spain and Portugal. The CADC is appointed to start up so-called Participation Forums on specific topics. Since both countries have a different perception of the problems of the management of trans-boundary water resources and the level of involvement of different water users, this is not an easy task (Santafé Martínez 2003). The transparency on the level of fulfilment of this agreement is consequently poor and additional measures are needed to

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improve the information exchange. Participation of civil society in Portugal is very incipient and reduced only to sessions of public discussion of the EIAs (Environmental Impact Assessments) for major infrastructural projects and for Special Land-Use Plans related to the estuarine, storage reservoirs and protected areas. Both the Convention as well as the work of the CADC is largely unknown to the general public or even to the regional and local administration and water users, both in Portugal and Spain. The agendas and decisions of the CADC and the working groups are not available for free public consultation in any media. Such information can only be accessed after submitting a formal request to the President of one of the Delegations. Despite the provisions of the Albufeira Convention on access to information and reporting to the public, no public reports on the advancement of the matters addressed by the Convention are produced, nor on the national state of implementation of the agreed measures. Moreover, the governmental web pages barely include any reference to the Convention (Matos 2004). In spite of these limitations, a number of working groups and sub-commissions have been established by the CADC that work in the Guadiana. As a result of this initiative, several joint studies have been executed in the trans-boundary river basin. An important reason for succeeding in implementing such activities may be the fact that Spain can be considered one of the downstream countries in this basin. Despite the advances made in terms of improving the availability of information and the improved cooperation that were introduced by the Albufeira Convention, joint management is not yet achieved (WWF 2003a, WWF 2003b, Aquastress 2005). In Portugal for instance, a National Plan for the Efficient Water Use was elaborated as a voluntary instrument but it is not further developed nor enforced. The Guadiana River Basin Plan includes an information programme to stimulate water savings by the domestic and agricultural sectors and the EU Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) supports the development of voluntary codes and information programmes. A publication ‘Code for Good Agricultural Practices’ is widely distributed by the regional agricultural authorities. The information distributed is however too technical and not adequate for most farmers. Also, usually public consultation takes place too late in the decision process, near the approval of the final project or plan. This creates general discontent and diminishes the motivation among the public to act and participate, and only a few examples of successful attempts to promote active involvement exist (WWF 2003a). Public consultation opportunities in Spain are strictly limited to those that are legally established. In general, there is no consultation of draft policy documents and plans and only very final documents and plans are submitted to advisory boards and published in the Public Bulletin. Some regional authorities in Spain have established advisory services and promoted pilot projects, but their number and reach is insufficient to have an effect on water use patterns. Some advice on best

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practices exist, but is difficult to find as several administrations are involved that do not always agree with each other. If consultation processes are developed, they usually do not allot sufficient time to allow for effective consultation and are often developed over the summer holiday periods when many stakeholders are not available. Research on pollution is hardly performed and no projects are developed (WWF 2003b). INFORMATION MANAGEMENT Specification of information goals, needs and strategy The Albufeira Convention provides for the systematic exchange of information about water quality and quantity, about water use, discharges, and plans for new installations and programmes. It should also coordinate water management and evaluate the impact of new projects, as well as facilitate the preparation of joint studies of trans-boundary waters (Langaas et al. 2002). The CADC is, among others responsible for collecting, processing, exchanging and managing such information (Matos 2004). Joint information management of both countries is thus largely in the hands of the CADC. This construction entails the danger that the ‘information needs tend to be defined by experts without direct involvement of policy and decision makers from member governments, stakeholders or other interest groups’ (Nilsson 2003: 20). In the case of the Guadiana, the inclination is that the information collection is politically driven (Matos 2004), therewith possibly denying needs of other groups such as the public or maybe the scientific community. Next to that, there is little active dissemination of the available information, thus amplifying the internal orientation with little regard toward external needs. Although in theory the need for information exchange and public participation is supported, in practice this is not yet implemented. Communication of information As a key instrument for the management of international river basin districts and the implementation of the Water Framework Directive on the Iberian peninsula, the Albufeira Convention contains several provisions on access to environmental information and participation that need to be further developed, however. The Albufeira Convention among other things establishes that both parties shall give access to information on the aspects under the jurisdiction of the Commission when presented with a reasonable request (Article 6). Despite this provision, application and revision of the flow regime regulations under the Convention in the Guadiana River basin, for instance, was undertaken without a sufficient

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exchange of hydrological information and was mainly based on politically driven criteria (Matos 2004). What can be identified is that there is cooperation between actors in trans-boundary projects in the Spanish–Portuguese river basins on local and regional levels. An important barrier, however, is the fact that river water management is the responsibility of different administrative bodies on the national, regional and local levels, while coordination at the basin scale is the exclusive responsibility of the national level. A national inquiry was performed to analyze Spanish and Portuguese water stakeholders’ knowledge and views on the implications of the implementation of the Water Framework Directive and the Albufeira Convention. This inquiry showed that the means and mechanism put forward by the Convention do not correspond to the stakeholders’ expectations. On the basis of the study creation of new joint basin commissions under the framework of the Albufeira Convention were suggested, among others to account for the specificities of the basins and to improve communication. These administrative bodies would be better able to guarantee the implementation of the provisions of the Convention, with emphasis on the coordination of the exchange of information and of supporting more effective and active public participation (Matos 2004). As stated, cooperation on trans-boundary projects exists between local and regional administrations, but river basins’ management is located in different bodies of administration, while cooperation on the river basin scale is coordinated exclusively at a national level. For instance, the provision of information on the Portuguese side is centralized in the River Basin Councils, administration advisory bodies, the National Water Institute (INAG), and regional authorities. Sometimes NGOs carry out information campaigns, but these are scarce. The creation of the Commission for the Environmental Monitoring of Alqueva dam, where national and regional environmental NGOs are represented, is a positive exception in the cooperation on water management issues (WWF 2003a). The website that is set up on the Spanish side, however, contains mainly general information. Access to technical documents is especially difficult because of their controversial character (often caused by the social implications of projects). For this reason relevant background documents are often considered ‘internal’ and are practically non-accessible. Proactive information is usually only provided to some privileged interest groups (WWF 2003b). FINANCIAL SYSTEM Farmers don’t usually pay for the water they consume in Portugal. Only farmers served by collective irrigation schemes (which make up about 10 per cent of the total irrigated land) pay for the water abstracted. Water

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prices are relatively low as the prices are based on political considerations rather than on real costs. As a consequence, there are few incentives to reduce water use. Some financial and economic instruments are included in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that aim at reducing water losses, at rehabilitation of collective irrigation systems and at the development of extensive agriculture schemes that need less water. Moreover, the CAP agroenvironmental policy includes some measures to reduce widespread pollution caused by agriculture, and includes measures addressing monitoring activities. Nevertheless, due to insufficient monitoring and a general problem of enforcement of environmental law, illegal discharges are rarely punished (WWF 2003a). Economic and financial instruments such as water use charges or subsidies to reduce water consumption are sparsely available in Spain. As in Portugal, the CAP provisions aiming at reducing water use are not very effective. The effectiveness of the existing instruments is reduced as they have to compete with existing EU subsidies to promote irrigated agriculture that lead to an increase of the area of irrigated land. Next to that, water use charges are imposed per hectare and not per volume of consumption, while illegal water use is rather common and law enforcement is weak. Water use reduction is consequently little put into practice in Spain (WWF 2003b). COOPERATION AND POWER IN THE SPANISH-PORTUGUESE WATER MANAGEMENT REGIME Spain and Portugal have a tradition of cooperating in water management that dates back to the end of the nineteenth century. In general, contacts exist between the most relevant institutions, both between the administrative levels (local, regional and national) and environmental and agricultural institutions, while cooperation stretches out over the border. The level of cooperation in water management is, however, restricted in the sense that it mainly deals with water allocations and operates under a low level of mutual trust, for instance shown in the barriers as described above that are erected to prevent free exchange of information. Although not strong, the cooperation between the countries has shown improvements since the late 1990s. This cooperation needs to be strengthened to be able to face the future challenges. On the legal level, the Albufeira Convention represents a step forward in international cooperation on the Iberian peninsula and is in accordance with the main principles of the Water Framework Directive, which came into force two years after the Convention. The Convention is applicable to the international river basins Minho, Lima, Douro, Tejo and Guadiana, and it includes surface and underground waters, aquatic ecosystems and the associated terrestrial ecosystems. Although the objectives of the

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Convention are integrated with the majority of the principles established by the Water Framework Directive, including river basin management and public participation, it does not explicitly require joint management. Further, the Convention is primarily set up to regulate and control flood regimes (Matos 2004). Spain and Portugal have been in the European Community since 1986. This implies that both countries had to adopt a set of directives referring to water that have led to improvements of the water management situation. Many legal provisions for improved trans-boundary water management are consequently in place as stated above. Enforcement of these provisions, however, is weak in both countries and needs substantial improvement to meet expected future water demands as well as to meet the requirements of the Water Framework Directive. This still existing defection in implementing and enforcing legal provisions has large impacts on the availability of water of sufficient quality. Uncontrolled pollution of water sources, overpumping and depletion of groundwater, lack of planning, uncontrolled degradation of ecosystems, and endangering of water supply are the consequences of this situation (World Water Assessment Programme 2009). Moreover, the laxity in enforcement undermines the government institutions and the rule of law, it jeopardizes democratic principles such as civil rights and liberties, it deprives water users from their right to a just legal system and impartial law enforcement, and it fosters a culture of laxity and illicit behavior which upsets social and political stability (Warren 2004; Stålgren 2006). Both countries therefore need to improve implementation and enforcement, which may be a troublesome task as it touches upon practices that have been going on for a long time and performed by many people. As it may hinder reaching the objectives of the Water Framework Directive, the EU can put pressure on the countries to improve the situation. Although next to each other on the Iberian peninsula, since the Middle Ages Spain and Portugal have spent most of the time living with their backs to each other. Despite several agreements developed over the course of the twentieth century, as described above, real cooperation has taken shape very slowly, not in the least because of the influence of the EU, which promotes this cooperation. By joining the EU, both countries have started to develop more trade among each other. Nevertheless, Spain as the predominant upstream country holds substantial power with respect to controlling water resources. Also, its economic power is larger than Portugal’s. Despite the fact that Spain holds the key to much of its water resources, Portugal has been able to retain a high level of water independence, not in the least because of its relatively moderate climate. The push towards cooperation, because of both pressing water allocation and pressure from the EU, has led on the political level to the Albufeira Convention and improvements in cooperation in water management. However, it is clear that this cooperation is not yet wholehearted.

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The formal and informal institutions show a patchwork of organizations with mandates that hinder cooperation both within and between the countries. A low level of mutual trust next to that hinders improvement of the cooperation. Furthermore, involvement of the civil society, although laid down in legislation, in practice only takes place on an ad hoc basis because of a lack of leadership and existing practical barriers, like a lack of access to information. The low level of mutual trust as well as the power connected to ownership over information leads to a situation in which free access to information is legally arranged, but in practice is surrounded by barriers that hinder free flow of information, even on a very basic level. Civil society, as a consequence, has great difficulty in obtaining the necessary information, and although some NGOs manage to gather substantial information this does not lead to greater public involvement. Finally, the financial arrangements lack a regulatory aspect: for example, fees for water use often are not linked to actual use. And even when the financial arrangements are in place, enforcement is usually weak. There is consequently little financial incentive toward efficient and sustainable water use. Where EU directives push toward financial arrangements that enforce regulation, in practice this is only sparsely implemented. With climate change expected to reduce the river flows on the Iberian peninsula in summer months, water resources management will become more important. It goes without saying that this also holds true for the importance of cooperation. Where Spain in the past was able to develop its water resources management plans without consultation – on the basis of both legislation from the Water Framework Directive and the Albufeira Convention, and a growing economic interdependency between the two countries – improved cooperation is expected in future. As explained above, legislation is to a large part in place to facilitate this cooperation. Nevertheless, the political and institutional set-up, as well as the lack of active participation from civil society and of an active information exchange – greatly hinders this cooperation. Next to that, financing mechanisms do not support efficient use of water resources, while enforcement of legal provisions is weak. Where the power relations between the two countries have shifted towards interdependency, the water management regimes are not yet able to cope with current problems, let alone those that might arise if climate change interferes more heavily. Summarizing, the adaptiveness of the water management regime to current and future problems is limited. There is consequently an urgent need for Spain and Portugal to use the opportunities that are provided by the legal setting. What is needed is the political leadership in both countries to overcome the existing barriers. A first step would be to actively disseminate the available information and inform civil society about the arrangements in place. The next step is to open up negotiation processes to stakeholders, which will help both to tune water management to the need and to improve water use efficiency, because users are better informed.

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13 The Strategic and Political Use of Potential Climate Change in Conflict: The Case of Somalia Peter Haldén

INTRODUCTION It would not be an exaggeration to state that the Horn of Africa is one of the most conflict-ridden places of the earth. As the Horn is an arid region one might expect it to be hit hard by the effects of climate change. In the literature, the Horn is often mentioned as an area where existing conflicts would worsen and new ones could arise in the wake of climate change. Since the early 1990s the literature on environmental degradation and conflict in the Horn of Africa has focussed on the effects of drought on pastoralist societies and how drought could involve them in conflicts with other pastoralists or with sedentary peoples (e.g. Molvaer 1991; Meier, Bond and Bond 2007). So far we lack literature on how environmental degradation and/or climate change could affect the other major actors, structures and conflicts in the Horn. This chapter will attempt to begin to fill this gap. The purpose of this chapter is to analyse the potential political use of the potential effects of climate change such as droughts, changes in rainy seasons, changes in river discharges, water scarcity, storms at sea, or inland and sea-level rise. It concludes that the actors in Somalia’s violent politics have limited capacities to exploit climate change to increase the level of conflict. It also argues that there might be some openings where adaptation assistance could be used to stabilise the northern parts of Somalia. The argument of this chapter is based on three separate but connected steps of analysis. 1. An analysis of how events in natural systems are connected to human action. Whether natural events will be a permissive cause of violent social action depends on the dominant configuration of political institutions in a certain area. Depending on the kind of political institutions and established practices, natural events could force or – importantly – enable actors to initiate new conflicts or change existing

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ones. Although conflict is often focussed upon, we should take care not to neglect the possibility that the effects of climate change could entice or even force actors towards cooperative solutions. Identifying the instances where political actors in a certain region may find that their interests are best served by new cooperative strategies instead of conflictual ones is a task at least as important as identifying potential risks. Analysts and scholars have to bear in mind that strategic interactions are always reflexive and that the concepts and analyses used in social science to describe the world re-enter into social reality (Giddens 1990). In other words, the outlook and strategic calculations of political actors will not be unaffected by research and debate that continually focusses on the risk and probability of conflict in the areas where they are active. Hence, talking conflict is not without its risks. 2. An analysis of the connections between water scarcity and environmentally induced migration on the one hand and violent conflict on the other. This analysis illustrates and further elaborates the argument that, conversely, research that illuminates the benefits of cooperation may show political actors previously obscured options (see for example Martin 2005: 2). The two issues analysed have been cited as possible security risks in the Horn of Africa in connection with climate change. Previous research has demonstrated that the geopolitical importance of water scarcity must be seen as part of the social and political context within which it takes place (Selby 2005). In turn, ‘environmental refugees’ may be a permissive cause of conflict but in most cases the receiving state has actively used them either as pawns or scapegoats. 3. An analysis of the social and political dynamics that drive the conflicts. This analysis is focussed on how the structures that determine the scope of action enable or force actors to change their strategies due to the effects of climate change. The conclusion of this analysis is that conflicts in Somalia are unlikely to be altered by the perceived effects of climate change due to the political weakness of the antagonists. Previous research Hitherto, research and debate on climate change and security have focussed on the scale of ongoing and prognosticated changes in natural systems and with the mounting evidence of its vastness and certainty, and the extrapolated corresponding changes in the world of politics in general and security politics in particular (Bächler 1998; Brauch 2003; Barnett and Adger 2007; Campbell et al. 2007; CNA 2007; WBGU 2007). In most of these analyses climate change and its effects (e.g. sea-level rise, changes in precipitation patterns, temperature increases) have been disembedded from concrete social and political circumstances. Instead they have been treated as independent variables that bear on societies more or less

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regardless of how these societies are configured. The analysis of the perceived effects of climate change must not only be grounded in empirical knowledge of the society or region in question. We must also understand how climate change combines with sociopolitical dynamics of the area. A perspective that sees climate change and existing cultural, economic, political and social dynamics as combining to create effects falling in the purview of ‘security’ is particularly urgent when we study a region like the Horn of Africa. Most analyses of Somalia focus on the fact that the state level has failed to achieve the kind of primacy, coherence and infrastructural power that we associate with the sovereign state. The complex politics and social relations of the country cannot, however, be reduced to the ‘state failure’ perspective. Although there is no functioning state that holds sway over the entire territory of the Republic of Somalia, this does not mean the absence of important social, political or military structures: on the contrary. We face a web of businessmen (with militias), warlords, statelets, clan leaders and religious leaders, and so on, which we have to take into account. These are the actors that will interpret the effects of climate change. A note on method Analysing the effects of climate change on politics and societies takes us into the future and hence entails methodological difficulties. Some previous studies have tackled this problem by constructing scenarios combining predictions from the climate models constructed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) or by meteorological agencies with

Source: CIA Worldfactbook 2007.

Figure 1. Major cities in Somalia.

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projections into the future of current sociopolitical phenomena, processes and relations (Bächler 1998; Brauch 2003; WBGU 2007). Such constructions have to be highly elaborate if they are to be successful, and even then they have difficulties achieving the level of prediction that they lay claim to. Some scenario constructors solve this problem by making the methodological claim that a certain set of scenarios does not attempt to predict but to cover the range of possible outcomes regarding a certain question (Axelson et al. 2002). One may be sceptical of such claims; either scenarios become so general that they are difficult to falsify and instead become trivial or, conversely, if they are specific enough to be falsifiable, they offer themselves to criticism of the difficulties of prediction. THE INTERFACE BETWEEN NATURAL AND SOCIAL SYSTEMS From classical antiquity, through Montesquieu, the geopolitical theorists of the nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries (Parker 1998) to the debates on environmental security of the 1990s and 2000s (e.g. Dalby 2002), climate and physical geography have been considered a powerful, sometimes decisive, influence of human societies and their development (e.g. Jones 2003). It is common to retrospectively attribute a great influence to climate, nature and other natural conditions as providing different preconditions and sometimes boundary conditions for societal development. With global warming and concomitant climate change we face a different problem: to analyse climate as a changing impact on societies, not as a static background. Thus the problem at hand is how different societies react to the perceived effects of climate change. Like other natural events, climate change does not have effects independently from sociopolitical contexts (see Haldén 2007). Changes in climate will not in themselves cause social and political events. Instead, the perceived effects of climate change will vary with prevailing sociopolitical contexts within and between states. Therefore any analysis must be based on an understanding of these. To clarify this argument and to address the question of whether climate change will lead to new conflicts an excursion is required into thinking about the generation of action. Armed conflict is a kind of human action and hence we must address its occurrence in terms of the generation and direction of action. Human actions are events that must be expressed and understood in intersubjectively meaningful ways in order to take place at all (Gadamer 2004). Hence action is always connected to systems of beliefs and the fact that rational human action always proceeds from purposes or motives of some kind which in turn derive from social and political institutions (Scott 2003). For example, paying taxes presupposes a number of sociopolitical institutions in order to be meaningful, such as the state, and notions of citizenship and obligations. With climate change we are interested in what

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kind of actions may be generated by changes not in sociopolitical systems, but in natural systems. Here social theory faces an unusual puzzle, since it is usually concerned with how social causes generate social effects. In contrast to Deudney (1999) I argue that the connection between natural causes and social action cannot occur in an unmediated way. Instead, all occurrences in natural systems must be interpreted through a sociopolitical context in order to acquire meaning and thereby to become the focus of human action. The relationship between natural and social systems can be understood through the systems theory of Niklas Luhmann, which conceptualises the world in terms of discrete functional subsystems, such as law, politics and economics. Since each system is closed, events that occur in other systems have to be translated into the terms in which the social systems in question (e.g. politics, law) operate in order to become intelligible (Luhmann 1995, 1997). Intelligibility in turn is necessary for action to be generated. In Luhmann’s view, systems observe other systems in their environment and react to changes in them, but they do so according to their own logics. I am not suggesting analysing the human relation to climate change entirely according to Luhmann’s systems theory. However, this conceptualisation of closed systems can be used to clarify how human actors relate to nature. A political system, such as a state, observes natural systems, such as the climate system, but reacts to it according to its own logic. This conceptualisation provides us with an epistemological foundation for understanding the relationship between the social and the natural worlds. It entails that changes in natural systems have to be interpreted, in the widest sense of the word, in order for social systems to be able to act upon them. For example, a society in which the majority of people survive on subsistence farming is likely to react to a drought differently from an advanced industrial society with a well-developed division of labour, mechanised irrigation systems and market mechanisms for the procurement and distribution of foodstuffs. In other words, different sociopolitical contexts give rise to different interpretations of natural events and give rise to actions towards them. Selby (2005) is a fine example of an analysis that demonstrates how political and economic systems mediate issues of natural resources and environmental degradation. The main thrust of my argument is that climate change is not an independent variable and will not give rise to new conditions or actions in an ‘automatic’ fashion. Rather, it will play into dynamics and structures that exist in the regions and in the time when they occur. For long-range analyses and predictions structural perspectives may be the only ones open to researchers. For analyses of short- to medium-term risk and possibilities we must explore how actors are enabled as well as constrained by sociopolitical structures and by the changing climate. From such a knowledge of the terrain, we may gauge how actors could choose to navigate.

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WATER SCARCITIES, REFUGEES AND CONFLICT Preliminaries Climate change will cause four general effects: increases in mean temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns (some regions getting more rainfall, others less), increases in the intensity and frequency of storms, and sea-level rise. The majority of the climate models used by the IPCC in their latest report did not predict major negative changes in the Horn: ‘[t]he increase in rainfall in East Africa, extending into the Horn of Africa, is also robust across the ensemble of models, with 18 of 21 models projecting an increase in the core of this region, east of the Great Lakes’ (Christiansen et al. 2007: 869). This assessment seems to be too optimistic. In the autumn of 2009, the entire region was struck by devastating droughts and the risk of mass famine loomed after three consecutive crop failures (The Economist 2009). To make matters worse, parts of Southern Somalia are now threatened by flooding (OCHA 2009a). In order to inquire whether this can be used to exacerbate conflicts in Somalia we must proceed to an inquiry of social and political institutions. Water scarcity: opportunities for strategic securitisations In popular imagination and in political debate water scarcity is often presented as a potential source of conflict in the Middle East and in other arid areas. Politicians and analysts alike have conveyed the picture that water is a resource with links to conflict that range from the plausible to the almost certain (see Gleick 1995; Chou, Bezark and Wilson 1997; Drexhage et al. 2007: 20). Furthermore, such links are expected to become stronger under conditions of climate change and particularly so in already arid regions such as the Middle East and Central Asia (CNA 2007: 30). Despite its popularity, the argument that the scarcity of water resources is likely to lead to violent conflict (or has in fact already been a factor in conflicts) is beset with a number of problems. First, in contrast to shortterm studies, long-range studies of water scarcity tend to find greater likelihood of cooperation and adaptation than conflict (Matthew, Gaulin, and McDonald 2003: 866; Philips et al. 2006). Second, water scarcity, in combination with climate change or not, cannot be studied as an independent variable divorced from economic, political and social contexts. Existing economic, political and social systems are crucial in determining whether water resources will be scarce. The by now extensive literature and debate on ‘virtual water’ is an example of this insight (see Wichelns 2001; Allan 1998, 2002, 2003; Kumar and Singh 2005). Consequently, effective use and distribution play important roles in avoiding scarcity. Social and international effects of scarcity cannot be surmised only by looking at water levels (Çarkoglu and Eder 2001: 52).

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Instead, the structure of domestic politics as well as of international relations in the area account for resource use and availability. An internationalised market for agricultural products could lead to greater efficiency in water use which would be an effective institution of adaptation to climate change (Çarkoglu and Eder 2001: 65). The interpretation of a natural resource through sociopolitical systems is crucial as to whether water scarcity and concomitant social problems will develop into violent conflicts. To some extent, this is a function of existing conflicts in the area. For example, the amount of water is greater in the Euphrates–Tigris basin than in the Jordan. Despite this greater availability, international relations over water have been tenser in the former case than in the latter. In a conflict-ridden system, whether domestic or international, actors may interpret the issue of water through the lens of their conflict and make it the object of strategic action. Access to water has been used as a bargaining chip in inter-state conflicts that essentially concern other issues. Water relations between upstream Turkey and downstream Syria have been tense because they become enmeshed with the transnational Kurdish insurgency. Syria shelters PKK guerrillas in order to use them as a bargaining chip against Turkey and in return Turkey responds by withholding over access to water (Bronson 1996: 227). Water scarcity can also give rise to localised conflicts in certain places where people depend on directly accessible sources for their livelihoods and lack the political means of addressing questions of resource allocation. It must, however, be recalled that this situation is not one of an ‘unmediated’ relation between humans and a natural resource. Rather, conflicts over water are socially constructed (but therefore not less real!) situations. Social construction is visible not only on a structural–institutional level but also in relation to intentional and intersubjective action. A growing literature on security in the context of the risk society (Beck 1985) emphasises that strategic calculations are made in a reflexive manner with the intention of avoiding future risks (Rasmussen 2006). Consequently, securitisation of water scarcity could take place with reference to actual effects of scarcity or with reference to the perceived risk of future scarcities. Particularly since water scarcity has such political resonance, it is possible that political actors might ‘securitize’ (Buzan, Waever and de Wilde 1998) it – in other words, turn it into a security issue in order to be able to legitimate the taking of extraordinary ‘security’ measures. Refugees: threats, pawns or scapegoats? The idea that the effects of climate change (e.g. drought, floods, sea-level rise) could cause large migrations in turn leading to conflict has been common in the popular media as well as in various research reports during the last few years of the 2000s. Although it is sometimes presented as a

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major driver of conflict in connection with climate change (e.g. CNA 2007: 16), there are substantial problems with the underlying research. Both UN statistics and detailed studies of the connection between environmental degradation, migration and conflict throw considerable doubt on these connections. A first point is that it is difficult to ascertain whether a certain migration really is caused by environmental degradation. A second is that it is not clear if environmental disasters, like droughts, cause migrations or whether they in fact hinder them. There is some evidence to suggest the latter. A third is that refugee migration, especially of the acute kind, is often rather short-range. Of the people forced to leave their homes, internally displaced people (IDPs) far outnumber refugees, who by legal definition have to cross an international border to be accorded that status (Convention relating to the status of refugees 1950; UNHCR 1998; Mooney 2005). Of those who do leave their country of origin, the majority move to neighbouring countries. According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, IDPs outnumber refuges by 2 to 1 (Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre 2007; UNHCR 2007). Hence, there are reasons to believe that migration in connection with the effects of climate change will probably be contained within national boundaries (WBGU 2007: 127, 137). In 1994 Homer-Dixon (1994: 20–3) argued that there is ‘substantial evidence to support the hypothesis that environmental scarcity causes large population movement[s], which in turn causes group identity conflicts’. More recently, however, the literature on environmental conflicts, with or without migration, has been criticised as being theoretically rather than empirically driven (Barnett 2003: 10). There is little empirical evidence that people are forced to move due to environmental factors or that refugees lead to conflicts (Suhrke 1997: 257). Where migrations have been connected to violent conflict, the state has been an active player in the conflicts. In the Chittagong Hill Tracts (Bangladesh) in the 1980s, the Senegal River Valley (Mali and Mauritania) in 1989–90 and in Assam (India) in the 1980s the state empowered the migrants against other social groups to play into the ethnic or economic policies of the state regimes (Suhrke 1997: 264–9). We face a different situation if migrations are preceded by conflicts in the country of origin. In that case, migrants may mobilise and continue the conflict from the country to which they have fled. The above arguments on the link between environmental degradation, refugees and violent conflict as well as the link between water scarcity and violent conflict thus lend empirical support to the main propositions of the preceding section: one, that natural effects are mediated through social and political systems; two, that violent conflict in connection with processes that we can trace to events in natural systems require conscious choices by political actors. If structures are in place that enable mobilisation of climate change – either in the form of its concrete events or as a political issue – then actors could do so if it serves their purposes.

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THE STATE-FORMATION WARS OF SOMALIA Somalia is seen as the paradigmatic failed, or even collapsed, state, a label usually evoking images of a lack of order, of anarchy and of chaos. Elsewhere I have argued that this image of absence of order is misleading in the case of Somalia (Haldén 2008). The state institutions of the Republic of Somalia collapsed decisively in 1991, but the country had been displaying signs associated with state failure since the early 1980s. There is an extensive literature on the external factors contributing to the collapse of the Somali state, which cannot be revisited here. Suffice it to say that the collapse of the Soviet Union, the widespread famine and the international community’s failure to stop it (Clark 1992/93) and the mistakes that were made during the United Nations interventions (Human Rights Watch 1994; Hillen 2000) all played their part in undermining Somali politics and society. However, because of the short duration of the Somali state, we should perhaps view it as a project that failed after three decades. In its place a number of other projects for political order sprouted. Once the heavy fighting between large contingents ebbed away in the mid-1990s a system resembling a fledgling states-system was established in the territory of the Republic of Somalia. To the north-west, Somaliland has declared itself an independent state, and after some initial troubles created a stable polity (Wallis 2009). In the north-east, ‘The Puntland State of Somalia’ has been proclaimed. It is unclear whether the leadership of Puntland really intends to join their polity to a future federated Somalia or whether it actually is a more autonomous fallback option if the leading group should fail to secure a leading role in a future united Somalia. In south and central Somalia a number of polities resembling city-states have been established. In the 1990s the marginalised Rewin communities attempted but failed to establish a regional statelet (Brons 2001). It is in southern and central Somalia that most of the violence has taken place during the period after 1991. In particular this has been the case after 2006 when the Union of Islamic Courts seized power in and around Mogadishu but was ousted by Ethiopian troops. The reasons for the prolonged fighting in Somalia are too many and too complex to recount in their entirety here. However, the combination of two processes has been particularly important. First, a large number of influential actors, like the business community (naturally equipped with militias), have a strong interest in preventing the establishment of a unitary state (Menkhaus 2003: 418–19). They are interested in order, identified as relative peace and a decrease in criminality, but the state is identified with the self-interested abuse of power by the group controlling the state apparatus. In the perceptions of these actors there would be little credible guarantees that a state would not be used against them to further interests hostile to them. Hence the state itself is seen as a risk factor. It is this strategy of risk-aversion

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that makes them act as ‘spoilers’ of attempts to create a central state. Second, various groups have fought to achieve control over the territory of the Republic of Somalia and the state apparatus. From the wars between ‘warlords’ in the early 1990s to the present conflict between the Transitional Federal Government and the various Islamic opposition groups, there is a lot to suggest that the attempts to gain control over Somalia have the character of ‘state capture’. The international community and neighbouring states actually reinforce this conflict-driving logic by their insistence on the unity of Somalia (Menkhaus 2003: 408). Consequently the conflicts in Somalia are given their form by the upholding of what Robert Jackson (1990) has aptly coined a regime of ‘negative sovereignty’ by the international community. A cornerstone of this regime is that government can be recognised without regard to their actual control over their territory or their legitimacy. I find it difficult to see how the perceived effects of climate change could transform these conflict dynamics. The main drivers of conflict in central and southern Somalia are political, and since 2006 to some extent religious, and do not pertain to resources or aspects of the physical terrain. ‘Securitisation’ has been used to denote the process whereby an actor constructs a social phenomenon as a security issue (Buzan, Waever and de Wilde 1998). A successful securitisation enables the actor to approach it with means ranging from organised coercion to high-level warfare. The very basis of securitisation is that the issue is understood and accepted as a constituting and emergency situation, and possibly an existential threat (Buzan, Waever and de Wilde 1998: 23, 36). Due to its political situation it is difficult to imagine either kind of securitisation, particularly not successful ones in Somalia. No actors at present engage in traditional interstate politics and all have limited international clout and legitimacy, which makes instrumental use of climate change difficult. A similar situation prevails on the domestic scene. The physical geography of Somalia and climate change may matter less to the conflict than one would assume because the actors in Somalia are well connected to the outside world which supplies them with resources, be they arms, food or money (Black 2009). Being connected to actors beyond the local environment means that one’s dependence on local environmental factors decreases. In other words, as long as the different warring factions in Somalia have outside sponsors they will be able to go on fighting. Local civilian populations may suffer from the effects of climate change but this in itself may not change the intensity or character of the fighting. However, the comparable lack of Western-style polities should not mislead us into disregarding or even underestimating the possibilities of ‘grassroots’ mobilisation on ecological issues that might entail violent action. However, if repeated harvest failures or a serious collapse of the fisheries were to happen, even more young men would be available to recruit for the warring factions.

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One location where physical vulnerability does coincide with political importance is the coastline. Due to its very long coastline, Somalia is vulnerable to sea-level rise and violent storms. Such events will affect the people living in these areas all along the coasts of Somalia and Somaliland. There is one point in particular where these climatic events might enter into the system of political conflicts, the capital Mogadishu. If Mogadishu and its harbour were to be wrecked by a series of climate events such as sea-level rise and Katrina-like storms it would have substantial effects on the conflicts in southern and central Somalia and possibly on stateformation in Somalia. A lot of the fighting in southern Somalia, particularly since 2000, has been about control over Mogadishu, the formal capital of Somalia. Like in many other conflicts in Africa, control over the capital means controlling the flow of resources from abroad and achieving recognition from the international community as the de jure and thereby legitimate rulers of the country – which in turn means more resources (foreign aid, investment and military aid). If the capital were to be destroyed and hence rendered useless or unattractive to the conflicting parties in Somalia, this whole dynamic would change. Admittedly, this argument takes us close to the realm of speculation but it may be worthwhile to pursue it in order to illustrate the range of possibilities. With Mogadishu rendered unusable, powerholders would be more compelled to cultivate their local bases of power, perhaps strengthening tendencies towards the formation of local or regional territorial entities. A similar process might be furthered if the major actors would find their external supply of resources dwindling. To the north, a similar devastation of the port city of Berbera in Somaliland may cause more indirect changes to the political ecology of the Horn. Berbera is the lifeline not only of Somaliland, but also of Ethiopia since the independence of Eritrea cut off the country from access to the sea. Unlike the case of Mogadishu, the partial or complete destruction of Berbera and its port would probably not transform political dynamics, but rather entail a shift in already existing dynamics of power. It is unlikely that the actors in Somalia’s conflicts (for an overview see United Nations 2008) will attempt to securitise the effects of climate change for their own ends internationally, and, if such attempts were made, that they would be successful. The only internationally recognised actor in Somalia today is the Transitional Federal Government, but its international standing is weak, which means that is it unlikely to be successful in any attempts at procuring international aid. None of the parties to the conflicts in the South is in need of the political benefits that a successful securitisation could bring, for instance international acceptance of the use of force. As suggested above, however, it is not unthinkable that climate change events could be securitised and hence enable mobilisation on the part of a grassroots movement, possibly of an Islamist millenaristic character.

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Would Somaliland, the fledgling de facto state of the north, be likely to securitise climate change? It has so far pursued a consistent strategy of disengagement from the conflicts in the south. Since Somaliland is by no means an active combatant, it is difficult to see what it would stand to gain. Its only military actions so far have been in defending its territory against incursions from Puntland and it has defined itself exclusively on the basis of territoriality and has rejected the idea of any border revisions. Since it aspires to international recognition it would be very costly in terms of diplomatic goodwill (which it is tenuously beginning to secure) if it were to engage in offensive posturing or even military action beyond its borders. Hence securitisation of the issue with the intention to initiate violent conflict is difficult to imagine. What incentives do the different factions in Somalia have in cooperating in adapting to climate change? What other interests could be served by doing so? The leadership in Somaliland could have substantial interests in adopting a cooperative strategy in relation to climate change because of their desire to be recognised by the international community. Similar arguments could hold force as regards the government of Puntland. It has not declared itself openly for independence but it is a relatively cohesive force which would probably be interested in securing external funds. Offering the government of Puntland adaptation assistance in the form of technical expertise and financial means could be a way to increase its contacts with the international community. A larger international presence on the ground in Puntland could also increase the possibilities of forestalling political radicalisation and extremism. In sum, the issue of adaptation cannot be divorced from the way that the international community views and deals with Somalia. Research on the effectiveness of adaptation, as well as other issues of natural resources management, has demonstrated the importance of involving local communities. They are often the ones with best knowledge of the resources in question and, most importantly, the ones who use them. If the political elites in Somalia tend to be weak in terms of what Michael Mann (1993) calls ‘infrastructural power’, the capacity to penetrate society with decisions and regulations, what for simplicity’s sake we might call civil society organisations have demonstrated resilience, tenacity and capacity. If the international community would be serious about helping different groups of Somalis adapt to climate change, these local organisations, among which women’s organisations play an important part, cannot be overlooked (see UNHCR 2009). In other words, it would be a mistake to concentrate exclusively on (elite) groups equipped with the traditional trappings of power; in other words, violence. Most of all, if one wants results, it would be futile to focus on the notoriously weak Transitional Federal Government.

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Climate change, global connections and security A final point must be made regarding the vulnerability of the region as a whole to the effects of climate change. The vast majority of research and debate on climate change and security deals with local effects (social) of local causes (natural). While this is natural we also have to take into account the possibility that climate events taking place in one location may create effects far away. In today’s world global systems that filter the effects of climate change may be of greater importance than local ones. For example, severe climate change effects in areas such as coastal China, Europe and America would be felt all over the world economy (see Stern 2007). As with all economic shocks, small and open economies are the most vulnerable. A sector where climate change, the world economy and natural resources interact is the global market for agricultural products. If major grainproducing areas, such as the American Mid-West or Canada, are hit hard, the effects would be felt in many parts of the world grain market. The countries of the Horn are not well developed but they are connected to the world economy and to the global agricultural markets. The current food crisis is due not only to drought but also to steeply rising world prices in basic foodstuffs, which has increased the region’s dependency on foreign aid, which in turn principally depends on the economic funding made available by foreign governments. This dependence is most acute in Somalia, where the number of people dependent on the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has risen sharply from 2.5 million people (WFP 2009a) in the summer of 2009 to 3.6 million in the autumn (The Economist 2009; OCHA 2009b; Oxfam 2009). For the Horn in its entirety the WFP is providing food for 17 million people (WFP 2009b). The Horn of Africa is vulnerable to the effects of climate change, those taking place not only in the region itself but also in other regions, and on the knock-on effects of the world economy. If agricultural prices rise steeply in the future and donor governments cut down on foreign aid, either directly or through the United Nations systems, the societies of the Horn would be very severely affected. These effects would affect ‘human security’ (UNDP 1994) and human development badly, but what would the effects on the dimensions of armed conflict studied in this chapter be? A first possible consequence of a worsened economic situation and a shortfall of foreign aid is that a window of opportunity would be opened to alternative sponsors of groups and governments. Even if Western governments (who are, admittedly, not the only donors to the Horn of Africa) did decide to cut down on foreign aid, there might be alternative sources. One such source could be groups and governments interested in furthering the Islamist cause in all countries of the region. Hence Western financial withdrawal could leave the door open to actors from abroad that would want to sponsor Islamist groups whose agenda may be focussed on the region or extend beyond it. A development

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that strengthens Islamic fundamentalism, terror and/or insurgency could destabilise a country such as Ethiopia, which in turn would have effects on the balance of power in the region. It could strengthen the different Islamist groups operating in Somalia possibly helping them to take control over large parts of, at least, southern and central Somalia. That might initially stabilise the country in a certain sense but hardly in a way desirable to the West or neighbours such as Ethiopia and Kenya, and hence in the long run risk even more violence. Finally, it is worth recalling that the current piracy activities based in Somalia have their origins in fishermen acting as a seaborne militia against illegal fishing by European vessels and, more importantly, illegal offshore dumping of toxic waste and other pollutants (Menkhaus 2009; Wilson 2009). During 2008, Somalia-based piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean turned into a major global security issue as a large number of countries have sent naval forces to patrol the area. This is probably the first instance where degradation of an environmental resource, in correlation with state collapse, has produced a conflict situation prompting a military reaction from the developed countries of the world on this scale. Thus, local dynamics have reverberated into global ones. CONCLUSIONS AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS Ongoing climate effects are hitting Somalia harshly with drought, hunger and floods. From a human security perspective this is catastrophic. Regarded from the viewpoint of ‘traditional’ security, which focusses on armed conflict rather than the well-being of individual human beings, another picture emerges. As a result of the political situation in Somalia none of the actors needs to securitise climate change in order to initiate or escalate hostilities. In addition, the flow of resources such as food, petrol and armaments from abroad means that the capacities of the antagonists for armed action are not decreased through changes in local natural systems. However, it is plausible that ongoing as well as anticipated climate change could provide possibilities for diplomatic initiatives vis-à-vis the two relatively stable actors in northern Somalia: the leadership in Somaliland and that in Puntland. These two entities should be approached with offers of adaptation assistance. If this were accepted, increased cooperation over adaptation to climate change would not only alleviate human suffering but it could stabilise these two fledgling entities and increase their integration with the international community. The benefits of a greater degree of openness and presence of foreign civilian organisations, particularly in Puntland, would be a chance to forestall organised crime and political extremism. That said, future climate changes could alter Somalia’s political landscape in unexpected ways. One example is that if the flows of resources from abroad were to diminish in the wake of a global downturn, elite

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groups might be forced in the long run to develop local resource bases, which could entail a partial stabilisation of sociopolitical relations. In the meantime, however, the human toll would be considerable. A second scenario that could affect relations of power in Somalia would be the destruction of coastal cities through sea-level rise and storm surges. This would change the physical as well as strategic landscape of Somalia and change the basic conditions that affect not only the fighting but also the political aims of the antagonists. REFERENCES Allan, J.A. 1998. Virtual Water: A Strategic Resource Global Solutions to Regional Deficits, Ground Water 36/4: 545–6. Allan, J.A. 2002. The Middle East Water Question. Hydropolitics and the Global Economy. London: I.B.Tauris. Allan, J.A. 2003. Virtual Water Eliminates Water Wars? A Case Study from the Middle East, Virtual Water Trade, in A.Y. Hoekstra (ed.), Proceedings of the International Expert Meeting on Virtual Water Trade, Value of Water. Delft: IHE Research Report Series No. 12. Axelson, Mattias, Henrik Carlsen, E Anders Eriksson, Fredrik Lindgren and Martin Lundmark. 2002. Industristrategier för en osäker framtid – scenarioplanering för försvarsindustri i Sverige (Industrial Strategies for an Uncertain Future – Scenario Planning for the Defence Industry in Sweden). Stockholm: National Defence Research Agency. Bächler, G. 1998. Why Environmental Transformation Causes Violence: A Synthesis, Environmental Change and Security Project Report 4: 24–44. Barnett, J. 2003. Security and Climate Change. Global Environmental Change 13: 7–17. Barnett J. and Adger W.N. 2007. Climate Change, Human Security and Violent Conflict. Political Geography 26/6: 639–55. Beck, U. 1985. Risikogesellschaft. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Black, A. 2009. Weapons for Warlords: Arms Trafficking in the Gulf of Aden. Terrorism Monitor 7/17. http://www.jamestown.org/programs/gta/single/ ?tx_ttnews[tt_news]=35148&tx_ttnews[backPid]=412&no_cache=1 (accessed 18 June 2010). Brauch, H.-G. 2003. Security and Environmental Linkages on the Mediterranean Space: Three Phases of Research on Human and Environmental Security and Peace, in H.-G. Brauch (ed.), Security and Environment in the Mediterranean: Conceptualising Security and Environmental Conflicts. Berlin: Springer: 35–145. Brons, M. H. 2001. Society, Security, Sovereignty and the State: Somalia. From Statelessness to Statelessness? Utrecht: International Books. Bronson, R. 1996. Cycles of Conflict in the Middle East and North Africa, in M.E. Brown (ed.), The International Dimensions of Internal Conflict. CSIA Studies in International Security. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press: 203–34. Buzan, Barry, Ole Waever and Jaap de Wilde. 1998. Security: A New Framework for Analysis. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.

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14 The Highlands: A Shared Water Tower in a Changing Climate and Changing Asia Jianchu Xu

INTRODUCTION The greater Himalayan region, or the highlands of Asia, called the ‘Third Pole of the World’, which includes the inner and south Asian mountains, contains the most extensive and rugged high-altitude areas on Earth and the most extensive areas of glaciers and permafrost outside high latitudes. The highlands occupy about one-quarter of Asia’s land surface, and although they provide a home for less than a tenth of the Asian population, the region is the source of nine of the largest rivers in Asia, the basins of which are home to over 1.3 billion people. The Tibetan Plateau, located at the heart of the highlands of Asia, plays the role of an ‘Asian water tower’ as it supplies water and regulates the climate in upland and lowland areas of Asia adjacent to it. Geographically it covers the high-altitude Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau as well as the Pamir Plateau, Yun-Gui Plateau, and Loess Plateau and other mountain ranges connected to it. Surounding the plateau, the upland watersheds include the mountains of central Asia, the Himalayan Mountains, montane mainland south-east Asia, the Yun-Gui Plateau, and the Loess Plateau of China at elevations of about 2,000 m above sea level. Below these bordering mountains are the lowland plains of east China, lowland mainland southeast Asia, and the Indus–Gangetic plains of the Indian sub-continent below 1,000 m above sea level (see Figure 1). The total land area of the Tibetan Plateau, the largest area of the highlands, is around 2,500,000 km2, accounting for about 26 per cent of China’s land mass. The total area of the Tibetan Plateau and its surrounding provinces in west China is about 6,400,000 km2, accounting for two-thirds of China’s land area, 56 per cent of the runoff, and 95 per cent of the hydropower potential of China. Water resources from the Tibetan Plateau account for 49 per cent of the total discharge of the Yellow River, 25 per cent of the discharge of the Yangtze River, and 10 per cent of the discharge of the Mekong: 20.23 per cent of China’s total

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Figure 1. Tibetan Plateau, montane watersheds, and lowland plains of the Asian continent.

availability of water with a production of 22.55 × 104 km2 (Lu et al. 2004; An et al. 2007). The Asian highlands have 112,767 km2 of glaciers (Dyurgerov and Meier 2005; Xu et al. 2007), and wetlands of 107,948 km2 (Li et al. 2007). China’s glaciers cover a total area of 59,406 km2: of these, 48 per cent are located within the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), including 21 per cent of China’s total located in the upper Brahmaputra River Basin. The Tarim Basin in Xinjiang has 33.5 per cent of total China’s glaciers (Wang and Liu 2001). It has a total water storage capacity of 559 billion m3, which provides an average of 56.3 billion m3 of freshwater from glacial melt annually. The annual amount of freshwater from melting glacial waters from the TAR accounts for 60 per cent of the total for China (Shi 2001; Yao et al. 2004). The Tibetan Plateau has an important impact on climate circulation in the region and on the Asian monsoon. The area itself has several distinct

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climatic regions characterized by variations in rainfall. The eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau is relatively humid, with rainfall of 400–700 mm annually, the southern central area is semi-arid, and the western and northern parts of the Tibetan Plateau are arid with rainfall of less than 100 mm per year. The highlands are the source of the nine largest rivers in Asia. The major river basins of the region – west to south, to east and to north – are the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Irrawaddy, Salween, Mekong, Yangtze, Yellow and Tarim. Thus the highlands directly provide water-related environmental services to 1.3 billion people, including China’s economic engine in the east coastal area, mainland south-east Asia, and south Asia. There is concern that environmental degradation, climate change and widespread poverty in the headwaters of the mountain regions may lead them to being identified as areas of emerging water crises. Confronting this concern, one way forward is to move beyond realist frameworks of analysis to paradigms of ‘sharing benefits, not just sharing water’, ‘sharing risk management’ and ‘sharing costs to support ecosystem services’ at local, national and transnational level. This chapter offers ideas in support of knowledge for action and cooperation. The assumptions underlying it are as follows: that all stakeholders in the ‘Asian Water Towers’ are witnessing changes in the mountain environment; that there may have been reasons for noncooperation on some issues in the past, but there are now reasons to seek ways to cooperate considering the uncertainty of the changes in the climate and the environment. There are many possibilities for shared benefits from cooperation, water being one, but there are also benefits beyond water. CLIMATE, THE CRYOSPHERE AND WATER Climate controls river flow and glacial mass balance in the Asian water tower, and these vary considerably from west to east. The monsoon from the Bay of Bengal, further developed in the Indian subcontinent, produces heavy precipitation; and this is predominantly in the south-east of the Tibetan Plateau. The monsoon weakens from east to west of the highlands, penetrating northwards along the Brahmaputra River into the south-east Tibetan Plateau, but rarely penetrating as far as the Karakoram (Hofer and Messerli 2006; Rees and Collins 2006). The east–west variation is based on the dominance of different weather systems. In the western Tibetan Plateau air masses connected to the westerlies bring moisture during winter leading to a winter peak in precipitation. The eastern highland is influenced by the south-west monsoon with a dominant maximum during summer. The maximum rainfall in the area and globally is measured in Cherapunjee, north-east India, with annual maxima of more than 10,000 mm. In the Tien Shan, predominantly summer-fed, continental-type glaciers are situated

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within 100 km of predominantly winter-fed, more maritime ones. Although most glaciers in both classes are shrinking, there are significant differences in the rates and forms of response to warming (Bolch 2006). Water from both permanent snow and ice and seasonal snow packs is released by melting, giving a distinct seasonal rhythm to annual stream flow regimes. Glaciers undergo winter accumulation and summer ablation in the west, but predominantly synchronous summer accumulation and summer melt in the east. The main melting occurs in high summer but, when this coincides with the monsoon, it may not be as critical for water supply as when the melting occurs in the ‘shoulder seasons’ of spring and autumn. When the monsoon is weak, delayed, or fails, melt water from snow and ice may limit or avert catastrophic drought. The contribution of snow and glacial melt to the major rivers in the region ranges from less than 5 to more than 45 per cent of the average flow (see Table 1). The rivers of Nepal that originate in the highland Tibetan Plateau contribute about 40 per cent of the average annual flow of the Ganges Basin. Melting snow and ice contribute about 70 per cent of the summer flow of the main Ganges, Indus, and Kabul rivers in the ‘shoulder seasons’ before and after precipitation from the summer monsoon (Kattelmann 1987; Alford 1992; Singh and Bengtsson 2005; Barnett et al. 2005). The contribution to inner Asian rivers, such as the Tarim, is even greater, more than 40 per cent. The Indus Irrigation Scheme in Pakistan depends on approximately 50 per cent of its runoff originating from snowmelt and glacial melt from the eastern Hindu Kush, Karakoram and western Himalayas (Winiger et al. 2005). Glacial melt provides the principal Table 1

Principal rivers of highland Asia – basic statistics River

Indus Ganges Brahmaputra Irrawaddy Salween Mekong Yangtze Yellow Tarim Total

River basin

Mean discharge (m3/s)

Glacial melt in river flow (%)

Area (km2)

Population (x1,000)

3,850 15,000 19,824 13,565 1,494 15,948 35,000 1,365 146

44.8 9.1 12.3 Small 8.8 6.6 18.5 1.3 40.2

1,263,000 1,075,000 940,000 413,710 271,914 805,604 1,970,000 944,970 1,152,448

178,483 407,466 118,543 33,097 5,982 57,198 368,549 147,415 8,067 1,324,800

Population density (people per km2)

Available water per person (m3/year)

165 401 182 80 22 71 214 156 7

830 ~2,500 ~2,500 18,614 23,796 8,934 2,265 361 754

Source: adapted from Xu et al. 2007; based on Chalise and Khanal 2001; IUCN/ IWMI 2002; Merz 2004.

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water source in dry season for 23 per cent of the population living in western China (Gao and Shi 1992). The contribution to the Mekong and Salween is less than 10 per cent in the eastern highland region, the monsoon predominant sub-tropics and the tropics. RELIEF AND LOCAL CLIMATE Hydroclimatological conditions vary more sharply with elevation in the highlands and over shorter distances than they do with latitude and longitude. The average total annual precipitation on the highland Tibetan Plateau is about 8,498 × 108 m3, more than 80 per cent concentrated in elevations between 3,500 m and 5,000 m above sea level (see Table 2). Mean temperatures, for example, decline about 1oC per 160 m of elevation, compared with about 1oC per 150 km by latitude (Hartman 1994). The monsoon rainfall is mainly orographic in nature, which causes distinct variations in rainfall with elevation and distinct differences between the southern rim and the rain shadow areas of the Tibetan Plateau behind the main mountain range. Alford (1992) identified the lower and intermediate altitudes as the main sources of precipitation, suggesting that there is an increasing trend with altitude up to about 3,500 m after which preciptation again decreases. On the mesoscale, climatic effects are driven mainly by local topographic characteristics such as ridges, slopes, valleys and plateaux (Chalise 2001). According to Domroes (1978) the valley bottoms of the deep inner valleys in the highlands receive much less rainfall than the adjacent mountain slopes. This would suggest that the current rainfall measurements, which are based mainly on measurements in the valley bottom, are not representative for the area, and major underestimations result from the use of these data. The broad predictions of global climate change, especially the emphasis on shifts in mean temperature, do not take into account important regional complexities related to the effects of topography and elevation in the Table 2

Precipitation distribution with elevation on the highland Tibetan Plateau

Elevation (m above sea level)

Above 5,000 4,500–5,000 4,000–4,500 3,500–4,000 3,000–3,500 Below 3,000 Total Source: Lu et al. 2004.

Annual rainfall (108 m3)

485.9 3,790 543 2,480 294 905 8,497.9

Percentage

5.72 44.6 6.39 29.2 3.47 10.65 100.03

Energy potential (104 J)

2035.8–2274.4 12,999–14,857 1,596–1,863 6,076–7,291 576–720 1,115–1,559

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mountains. If climate change mainly involves vertical shifts in precipitation and thermal conditions, ruggedness, elevation and orientation will also modify the significance of regional climate changes. The highest mountains, or those facing or funnelling the prevailing winds, may retain a substantial, if diminished, glacial cover, whereas lower watersheds or those less favourably oriented may lose theirs. HIGH-ALTITUDE WETLAND Highland Asia has a wide variety and coverage of wetlands, and these include peatlands, lakes and river systems. They are an important feature of the Asian water tower and provide water resources, maintain hydrological cycles, and serve as carbon sinks. Ruoergain Peatland, situated at the headwaters of Yellow and Yangtze Rivers, is the largest peatland in China and stores several billion metric tonnes of carbon. Little effort has been made, however, to understand wetland ecological dynamics and their hydrological processes and carbon cycling locally and regionally. Melting glaciers increase water levels and expand the wetland in the short term, and eventually cause the loss of wetlands and small lakes in the long term. The water level of Qinghai Lake has decreased at the rate of 0.769 m per decade during the period 1961–2002. Some small lakes may eventually disappear as a result of high rates of evaporation and a decrease in rainfall, particularly on the western Tibetan Plateau. According to a Chinese government inventory of high-altitude wetlands in China, there is a total area of 92,466 km2 of wetland at altitudes above 3,000 m above sea level, and these are found mostly in the TAR, Qinghai, Xinjiang, Gansu, Sichuan, and Yunnan (Table 3). The high-altitude lakes, situated mainly at 4,000–5,000 m above sea level, cover a total area of 38,727 km2 and have a storage capacity for 73 per cent of the total for China (Lu et al. 2004). There is increasing global and regional concern about the vulnerability of high-altitude wetlands to climate change and human activities. There are not only many examples of disappearing wetlands and decreasing water levels, but also there are examples of wetlands evolving and expanding which have brought significant changes to flood buffering, groundwater recharge, and river flow. High-altitude wetlands have, therefore, become important elements in conservation and water management at regional, national and international levels. CLIMATE CHANGE Climate change is predicted to lead to major changes in the strength and timing of the Asian monsoon, inner Asian high-pressure systems, and winter westerlies, the main systems affecting the highland climate. It will

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High-altitude wetland in China (over 3,000 m above sea level)

Area Qinghai

km2

Wetland type

Tibet

Xinjiang Gansu

Freshwater lake Saltwater lake Marsh Swampy meadow and peatlands Inland salt marsh River wetland Total

5,693 2,486.75 380.50 19,424.37 8,746.29 1,807.18 5,404 275.05 16,814 19,014

Total area of highaltitude Sichuan Yunnan wetland

90 4,100 250

64.42 34.20 3,415.19 4.10

8,748.87 29,977.84 13,194.24 36,082.10

2,399

2,399

11 1,012.46 49,745.37 31,259.50 2,462.73

1,040 5,480

3,479.61 38.30

2,063.46 92,465.51

Source: Ramsar Convention Implementing Office State Forestry Administration, China 2005.

affect the interannual and seasonal flows of these rivers, so even where the total availability of water is not limited, climate change will cause other impacts such as floods and changes in the seasonality of water flows. Warming in the high plateau has been much higher than the global average warming rates, and warming of 0.25°C per decade took place between 1961 and 1990 (Table 4), suggesting that the elevated land masses of the Asian water tower are extremely sensitive to climate change. Consequent changes in glacial water flows will have impacts on the availability of water in this critical season. The rate of retreat for the Gangotri Glacier since 1980 has been more than three times the rate during the preceding 200 years (Xu et al. 2007). Most glaciers studied in Nepal are undergoing rapid retreat: the reported rate ranges from a few metres to 20 m/year (Fujita et al. 1997; Kadota et al. 1997; Fujita et al. 2001). Since the 1950s, 82.2 per cent of glaciers in west China have retreated (Liu et al. 2006). Glacial meltwater is a significant part of the flow of most of the nine great rivers (see Table Table 4 Average annual increase in temperature at different altitudes for the plateau and surrounding areas 1961–90 (°C/decade) Altitude (m)

No. of stations

Spring

Summer

3,500

34 37 26 38 30

–0.18 –0.11 –0.17 –0.01 0.12

–0.07 –0.02 0.03 0.02 0.14

Source: Liuxiaodong, Hou Ping 1998.

Autumn

0.08 0.16 0.15 0.19 0.28

Winter

0.16 0.42 0.46 0.63 0.46

Ann. av. change

0.00 0.11 0.12 0.19 0.25

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1). It is predicted that glacial meltwater will continue to increase before 2050, the increased volume may be 25–50 per cent more than that at the beginning of this century (Yan et al. 2007). In the short run, animal husbandry and agriculture could benefit from rises in temperature and increases in meltwater discharge if good water management practices and proper irrigation facilities are introduced, particularly in dryland and arid areas. In the long term, changes in the glaciers will cause major reductions in the water in these rivers. China has lost 127 km3 of water storage capacity as a result of wetland loss since the 1960s (Wang et al 2006b) (see Table 5). Complexities arise, especially from interactions among different cold climate elements – freeze-thaw and peri-glacial processes, snowfall, valley wind systems, avalanches, glacial processes, and seasonal or spatial balance between frozen and liquid precipitation, albedo and evaporation. Not only are they likely to change with general climate shifts, but also interactions among them can buffer, exaggerate or redirect the impacts of change in any one element. The most rapid and varied interactions occur through the ‘vertical cascade’ between different topoclimates – zones stacked vertically and on slopes of differing orientation – notably transport of moisture, runoff, sediment, and dissolved solids downslope. The occurrence and impacts of major hazards, such as avalanches, debris flows, landslides and flash floods, also have a bearing on downslope, down-glacier, and downstream cascades. Whereas snow avalanches and glacial lake outburst floods predominate at very high elevations (>3,000 m), landslides, debris flows and landslide dam outburst floods (or ‘bishyari’) are more common in the middle mountains (1,000–3,000 m). Riverine floods are the principal hazards in the lower valleys and plains. The causes of these floods are related to climatic conditions (Chalise and Khanal 2001; Dixit 2003; Xu and Rana 2005). Thus climate change in the highlands is predicted to have major impacts on water resources and on the ecology, human health, and economic activities not only in the highlands but also in the river basins dependent on water flows from the highlands. Given the current state of knowledge, determining the diversity of impacts is a challenge to researchers, and risk assessment is needed to guide future actions.

Table 5

Loss of glaciers and wetlands in the Chinese highlands since the 1960s

Item

Original area Area loss (x 103km2) (x 103km2)

Ice loss (km3)

Water loss (km3)

Glaciers Lakes and rivers Swamps Subtotal

64.7 45.0 48.0 157.7

587 — — 587

505 15 14 534

Source: Wang et al. 2006b.

5.3 5.0 3.5 13.8

South-east plateau North-east and southern plateau Western plateau

Maritime

Source: Shi and Liu 2000.

Continental Average

+1.2 +0.8

+0.9

+0.4

–6 –12

–15

–14

Glacial retreat (area and volume [%])

+2.7 +2.0

+2.0

+1.2

–13 –28

–32

–43

Glacial retreat Temperature (area and rise/K volume [%])

2070s

+4.0 +3.0

+3.0

+2.1

–20 –45

–48

–75

Glacial retreat Temperature (area and rise/K volume [%])

2100s

13:04

Sub-continental

Region

Temperature rise/K

2030s

Estimated glacial retreat trend in the Tibetan Plateau in the twenty-first century

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Table 6

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SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Hydroelectric potential China, India and other south-east Asian countries have increasing demands for water for hydroelectricity. The Asian plateaux and their mountain rims offer combinations of height and discharge which suggest an enormous power potential. The extent to which this power potential may be affected by climate change is not debated, despite the fact that the lifetimes of large projects are justified in terms of decades of power generation. The Indian government’s Ministry of Power has identified as many as 226 potential sites for large multipurpose dams on the rivers of north-east India, most of them in the Brahmaputra basin. Some of these are presently in various stages of planning and development (Brahmaputra Board 2000). China is home to half the world’s 40,000 large dams, including the largest, which is the Three Gorges Dam. Meanwhile, a series of eight dam projects has been under way along the upper Mekong (Lancang) River and more along the upper Yangtze (Jinsha) River in Yunnan Province. The controversial thirteen-dam cascade plan on the upper Salween (Nu Jing) is still under government review. Yunnan, together with other parts of west China is becoming the ‘powershed’ of east China. Magee (2006) argues that the Western Development campaign in China paves the way to increasingly strong inter-provincial linkage and regional integration between the water tower in the mountain region and the economic powerhouse in the coastal region. There is growing concern, however, about the possible negative impacts of proposed mega-dams in terms of their viability and sustainability vis-à-vis the delicately poised geo-environmental base, ecological balance, ethnocultural heritage, and the extreme dynamism of geophysical processes in the region. The wisdom behind constructing a series of big dams in the mountain region raises more questions than can possibly be answered satisfactorily at the present stage of knowledge and development. The stakes seem to be too high and risks too great for such gigantic ventures, which may have too many far-reaching consequences to justify making hasty decisions. Similarly, in Bhutan most of its current power production is fed into the Indian power grid and therewith provides important revenue for the government. Bhutan has a hydropower potential of 30,000 MW, with an economically feasible potential of as high as 16,000 MW in terms of current technology. Also, in Nepal this may become a substantial future source of revenue if power is sold to the adjacent states of India. Large-scale hydropower schemes that are so often found in mountainous regions are important on the national and regional scales, but also small-scale waterpowered mills and small hydropower plants are important on the local and community scale. In China, 40 per cent of the rural townships rely on small hydropower plants, while in Nepal about 800 plants of different sizes

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provide energy to about half a million people not connected to the national grid (Mountain Agenda 2001). Along the Mekong river, hydropower potential varies from 31,200 MW to at least 60,000 MW (Kajander 2001). Values given for the different countries of the Mekong basin are: Yunnan Province of China 13,000 MW (42 per cent), Laos 13,000 MW (42 per cent), Cambodia 2,200 MW (7 per cent), Vietnam 2,000 MW (6 per cent), and Thailand 1,000 MW (3 per cent) (Bakker 1999). Myanmar has no hydropower potential in this river system. Several projects are in the pipeline at different stages in different countries. The Salween River is one of the last untapped rivers, but several projects are in the pipeline in areas in both China and Myanmar. Myanmar has signed power sale agreements with Thailand for Thai state agencies to buy 1,500 MW of energy produced in the Salween river basin. In the Yangtze basin the technically feasible hydropower potential is about 197,000 MW or 52 per cent of China’s total potential (Kajander 2001). In addition, another 23 per cent of China’s hydropower potential is in the south-west rivers. The biggest project and probably the most controversial as well is the Three Gorges Project. The dam site is situated in Hubei Province on the Yangtze River and has a dam, two powerhouses, and navigation facilities (Kajander 2001). The total installed capacity is 18,200 MW. In addition to positive impacts such as hydropower generation, improved navigation, flood control, and others, there are also several negative aspects such as environmental impacts, resettlement of large numbers of people, and salinity problems in the estuary to mention a few. Land-use Table 7 summarizes the structure, function, and socioecological challenges of the Asian water tower in relation to different altitudinal and developmental zones. For the same zones Table 8 summarizes the possible impacts of climate change on ecology and different dimensions of human activity. At the beginning of the twenty-first century over 80 per cent of the population in the Asian mountain region depend either on full- or part-time farming for their livelihoods (Thulachan 2001). With population increases and economic growth, more and more people search for land for subsistence production and income generation. The pace, magnitude and spatial reach of land-cover and land-use changes in the Asian continent have increased since the mid-1950s as a result of land reclamation, for example, for rubber plantation in Yunnan previously and in northern Laos at present, the Green Revolution in India, and fibre production (e.g., cotton in Xinjiang). Deforestation occurred mainly during the ‘Great Leap Forward’ in 1958 and forest tenure transition in the early 1980s in west China, in the large tropical forests of Myanmar, and recently in mainland south-east Asia. Large forest areas have been converted into croplands,

Highland water tower

Function

Ecosystem

Livelihood/ land use

Natural hazards

Characteristics of critical zones of the Asian water tower Population density

Alpine Agropasture Glacial lake Low ecosystem outburst, floods, earthquakes 1,000– Upland Montane AgroCloudburst, Medium, 3,000 watershed forest forestry flash floods outecosystem landslides migration and mudflows, earthquakes 300–1,000 Lowland Lowland Intensive Riverine High, inrice bowl plain agriculture floods and migration and soil erosion, horticulture earthquakes Below 300 Urban and Flood Horticulture, Cyclonic Communities peri-urban plain animal storms, that husbandry, earthquakes,migrate aquaculture tsunami, frequently rise in sea levels, waste disposal

Above 3,000

Altitude (m above sea level)

Table 7

Dairy products

Payment for environmental services Information services and market chains

Rice, fish/ shrimps

Rubber, rice

Niche Previously products, opium, watershed now tea conservation

Tourism, niche products

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Salinity, Urban water poor sanitation and scarcity, overextraction of groundwater

Malnutrition, poverty, access to services Economic polarization, lack of alternative livelihoods Water conflicts

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Water pollution, eutrophication

Overgrazing and climate change Agricultural intensification and pollution

Environmental Socioeconomic Niche issues issues Opportunities products

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Wildfires and pests increase, woody vegetation increases, wildlife moves upwards to high altitudes, changes in composition of biodiversity due to different performances of species to climate change.

Woody vegetation moves upward, increase in the number of endangered alpine species, weedy species may spread over; ecosystem will deteriorate due to increasing rodent population.

Biodiversity

Cholera and diarrhoea increase; schistosomiasis will move into higher wetlands and lakes. Malaria and dengue fever become more widespread in the uplands.

Cholera and diarrhoea increase. Increase in new diseases such as avian flu due to interaction of wildlife, livestock and human beings.

Health

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Upland watersheds

Warmer winters and Early spring might more rainfall; snow cause more overavalanches, melting grazing, degradation glaciers, and of rangeland, desertifipotential glacial lake cation, snow storms, outburst floods; and invasive species. increase in water levels in highland lakes in the short run and decreases in the long run. Flash floods, landHigher carbon dioxide slides, debris flows, levels and water and landslide dam temperatures may outburst floods increase grain yields, occurring more irregular monsoon frequently; increase patterns will delay in runoff during rice planting and monsoon, low flow harvests although rice will decrease during yields may increase the dry season, during good years. increase in soil erosion and sediment transport downstream; silt in the runoff will contaminate water supplies and clog hydroelectricity plants.

High plateaux

Agriculture

Water

Possible social and economic impacts from climate change by altitudinal zone

Critical zones

Table 8

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314 A History of Water

0.4 4.2 18.5 56.2 43.4 41.5 6.3 1.5

Indus Ganges Brahmaputra Irrawaddy Salween Mekong Yangtze Yellow River

46.4 13.4 44.7 9.7 48.3 17.2 28.2 60.0

Grassland and bush

4.2 17.7 20.7 6.3 9.5 8.7 3.0 1.1

Wetlands

30.0 72.4 29.4 30.5 5.5 37.8 47.6 29.5

Cropland

24.1 22.7 3.7 3.4 0.4 2.9 7.1 7.2

Irrigated cropland

63.1 58.0 0.0 4.4 0.1 0.8 2.0 79.4

Dryland

90.1 84.5 73.3 60.9 72.3 69.2 84.9 78.0

Loss of original forest cover

The Highlands: A Shared Water Tower in a Changing Climate and Changing Asia

Source: IUCN, IWMI, Ramsar Convention Bureau and WRI 2002.

Forest

River

Heat-related illnesses as well as dengue fever, cholera, and water- and sewagerelated diseases will increase along with respiratory problems related to urban pollution and increasing migration.

Heat waves will kill more people in the lowland plains, poor sanitation together with environmental poisoning will cause an increase in health issues.

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Land-use or -cover in eight key river basins

Biome change from forest to non-forest, increase in loss of agricultural diversity and invasive species both in water bodies and the ecosystem generally. Aquatic biodiversity decreases due to salination, warmer water and water pollution.

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Table 9

Stronger cyclones, intrusion of saltwater into water supplies, decrease in groundwater, urban floods; sea levels could rise by up to 1 m.

Coastal areas

Salination of farmlands, warmer water will threaten fish farms.

Changing rainfall Rice yields will decline patterns, decrease as temperatures in freshwater supplies increase. Farms will (runoff), severe be vulnerable to droughts, decrease increasing pests and in groundwater levels. natural disasters.

Lowland plains

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particularly in the Ganges, Yangtze, Mekong, Indus, Brahmaputra and Yellow River basins (see Table 9). Good land-use practices can contribute significantly to: 1. hydrological benefits – controlling the timing and volume of water flows and the quality of water; 2. reducing sedimentation – avoiding damage to downstream reservoirs and waterways and hence their uses (hydroelectric power generation, irrigation, recreation, fisheries, domestic water supplies) arising from sedimentation; and 3. disaster risk reduction – controlling and preventing debris flow and landslides. AGRICULTURAL DEMAND AND WATER QUALITY All countries within the continent of Asia have economies based on agriculture, which depends heavily on water resources for irrigation. Extraction of water for irrigation has, unavoidably, a big impact on river flow. Falkenmark (1999) gives an example from Central Asia where intensified irrigation and increased extraction of water from the rivers have not only led to decreased flows in these rivers, but have also increased salinity in the lakes downstream. The most famous example of this is the Aral Sea, where the two tributaries, Amu Darya and Syr Darya, are used intensively for cotton, fodder and rice production. Another example comes from the Tarim Basin, on the other side of Tian Shan Mountain. Large wetland areas have been converted to agriculture here through a resettlement programme, and agricultural development in the upper basin has led to decreased flows downstream in the Tarim River Basin, threatening both the ecosystem and people. Water quality has been seriously affected by agriculture, mainly by the application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides as seen in the Yangtze, Tarim and Yellow River areas. Nitrate concentrations in surface and groundwater continue to be a matter of concern throughout the region. Agriculture is seen as a considerable source of this growing nitrate problem, which has been moving to higher elevations. In the case, also, of a middle mountain catchment in Nepal, high nitrate and phosphate loadings have been observed (Merz et al. 2004). Most lakes in China both on the plateaux and in the lowland plains have to be treated for eutrophication, for example Dianchi in Kunming and Taihu downstream from the Yangtze Delta. Agricultural mismanagement is seen also as a major cause of soil degradation. This not only includes soil erosion, but also salinization and decline in soil fertility. Cultivation of cash crops (off-season vegetables, tobacco and cut flowers in Yunnan) upstream was shown not only to increase sediment yield but also to pollute the water.

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Both water shortage and inefficient use make modern China thirsty. Table 10 shows there is a significant increase in demand for water, particularly in the industrial sector and for domestic use in East China. CONCLUSION We speak of uncertainty on a regional scale, in general, and in the highlands, in particular, in recognition of the fact that our science and information systems are no match for the complexity and diversity of regional contexts, quite apart from the lack of studies and basic data particularly about locations at high altitude. In no context is this more relevant than in predicting what climate change will involve. The physical manifestations of climate change in the mountains include locally, possibly regionally, extreme increases in temperature and in the frequency and duration of extreme events. It seems certain there will be appreciable changes in the volumes and/or timing of river flows and other sources of fresh water in critical ecological zones from highland plateaux to upland watersheds and from lowland plains down to coastal areas. There is also uncertainty about interaction of different interconnected zones and their feedback to regional and global environmental changes. Little is known about the dynamics of highland topoclimates and hydrological processes and their response to changing climatic inputs. The global circulation models used to model climates capture global warming on a broad scale, but do not have adequate predictive power even for large mountain drainage basins. To reduce uncertainty we need well-equipped baseline stations, long-term monitoring, networking, open data exchange, and cooperation between all the Asian regional countries. Highland herders and upland farmers have a long history of adapting to these uncertainties, other related and unrelated environmental changes, and ecological surprises, whether through mobility of people and land uses, or flexibility in livelihood strategies and institutional arrangements. Mountain people have lived with and survived great hazards such as flash Table 10

Water demand forecast for China (2010–50) (billion m3)

Domestic Industry Agriculture Environment Total

2010

2030

2050

West East China China Sum

West East China China Sum

West East ChinaChina Sum

11.1 78.8 89.9 23.6 101.4 9.6 146 155.6 21.5 193.5 106 341.5 447.5 117.5 307.5 10 2 12 21.5 13.5 136.7 568.3 705 184.1 615.9

Source: China Statistics Bureau 2007.

125 215 425 35 800

27 118 22.5 202.5 135 365 45.5 24.5 230 710

145 225 500 70 940

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floods, avalanches and droughts for millennia. Building the capacity to adapt and strengthen the socioecological system in the face of climate change is doubly important and is an important step toward achieving sustainable livelihoods. Supporting and being resilient and encouraging strategies to cope with surprises and long-term changes are the new adaptive mantras, unlike earlier notions of improving people’s adaptations to relatively stable and known habitats. Good science with credible, salient, legitimate knowledge can often lead to good policies in the context of climate change and mountain specificities or vice versa (Thompson and Gyawali 2007). By credible, we mean knowledge that has been derived from field observations and tested by local communities; salient information is immediately relevant and useful to policy makers; and legitimate information is unbiased in its origins and creation and both fair and reasonably comprehensive in its treatment of opposing views and interests. Policy is a formula for the use of power and application of knowledge. The question then is who has the power and who the knowledge (scientific knowledge or local knowledge, or a combination of both)? Scientific knowledge is useful but limited and full of uncertainties on a complex Himalayan scale; so then ‘nobody knows best’ becomes the model (Lebel et al. 2004). Alternative perspectives carry their own set of values and perceptions about who should be making the rules, where the best knowledge lies to guide decisions, and about what further knowledge is needed about four contrasting perspectives – state, market, civil society , and locals – and are merged together in decision-making processes. In such processes, scientists have to generate new knowledge with reduced uncertainty and facilitate the dialogue with balanced perspectives. International cooperation is essential for transfer of technology from outsiders to locals, building regional cooperation into a global programme, and developing the capacity to downscale important results to highland Asia. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT This work was funded by: Asia-Pacific Network for Global Environmental Change Research (Grant ARCP2008-15NMY-Nikitina) REFERENCES Alford, D. 1992. Hydrological Aspects of the Himalayan Region. Occasional Paper No. 18. Kathmandu: ICIMOD. An, S.Q., H.B. Li, B.H. Guan, C.F. Zhou, Z.S. Wang and Z.F. Deng. 2007. China’s Natural Wetlands: Past Problems, Current Status and Future Challenges, Ambio 36/4: 335–42.

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Shangguan, D.H., Liu, S.Y., Ding, Y.J., et al. 2009. Glacier changes during the last forty years in the Tarim Interior River basin, Northwest China. Progress in Natural Science 19: 727–32. Shi, Yafeng and Liu Shiyin. 2000. Estimation on the Response of Glaciers in China to the Global Warming in the 21st Century. Chinese Science Bulletin 45/7: 668–72. Shi, Y.F. 2001. Estimation of the Water Resources Affected by Climate Warming and Glacier Shrinkage before 2050 in West China, Journal of Glaciology and Geocryology 23/4: 333–41. Siddiqui, K.M., I. Mohammad and M. Ayaz. 1999. Forest Ecosystem Climate Change Impact Assessment and Adaptation Strategies for Pakistan, Climate Research 12: 195–203. Singh, P. and L. Bengtsson. 2005. Impact of Warmer Climate on Melt and Evaporation for the Rainfed, Snowfed and Glaciered Basins in the Himalayan Region. Journal of Hydrology 300: 140–54. Sthiannopkao, S., S. Takizawa, J. Homewong and W. Wirojanagud. 2007. Soil erosion and its Impacts on Water Treatment in the Northeastern Provinces of Thailand. Environmental International 33/5:706–11. Sweeney, B.W., T.L. Bott, J.K. Jackson, L.A. Kaplan, J.D. Newbold, L.J. Standley, W.C. Cully Hession and R.J. Horwitz. 2004. Riparian Deforestation, Stream Narrowing, and Loss of Stream Ecosystem Services, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 101/39: 14,132–7. Thompson, M. and D. Gyawali. 2007. Introduction: Uncertainty Revisited, in M. Thompson, M. Warburton and T. Hatley (eds), Uncertainty on a Himalayan Scale. Kathmandu: Himal Books. Thompson, M. and M. Warburton. 1985. Uncertainty on a Himalayan Scale, Mountain Research and Development 5/2: 115–35. Thulachan, P.M. 2001. State of Mountain Agriculture in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas: A Regional Comparative Analysis. Kathmandu: ICIMOD. Viviroli, D. and R. Weingartner. 2002. The Significance of Mountains as Sources of the World’s Freshwater, in GAIA 11/3: 182–6. Wang, H.J., Z.S. Yang, Y. Saito, J.P. Liu and X.X. Sun. 2006a. Interannual and Seasonal Variation of the Huanghe (Yellow River) Water Discharge over the Past 50 Years: Connections to Impacts from ENSO Events and Dams. Global and Planetary Change 50: 212–25. Wang, ZS., C.F. Zhou, B.H. Guan, Z.F. Deng, Y.B. Zhi and Y.H. Liu. 2006b. The Headwater Loss of the Western Plateau Exacerbates China’s Long Thirst, Ambio 35/5: 271–2. Wasson, R.J., N. Juyal, M. Jaiswal, M. McCulloch, M.M. Sarin, V. Jain, P. Srivastava and A.K. Singhavi. 2007. The Mountain-Lowland Debate: Deforestation and Sediment Transportation in the Upper Ganga Catchment, Journal of Environmental Management 88/1: 53–61. Winiger, M., M. Gumpert and H. Yamout. 2005. Karakorum-Hindukush-Western Himalaya: Assessing High-Altitude Water Resources, Hydrological Processes 19/12: 2,329–38. Xu, J.C. and M. Eriksson. 2007. Rivers of the Greater Himalayas: Changing Water Tower, Changing Rivers and Changing Society. Keynote technical paper presented at Rivers of the Greater Himalayas, the 2nd Abu Dhabi Dialogue, Bangkok, 1–3 July (unpublished).

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15 Space, Identity and Water: South Asia’s North-East and the Brahmaputra Graham Chapman

INTRODUCTION The surface of the world’s land masses is far from even – it is marked by landscapes of dread (Antarctica and the Sahara) and landscapes of plenty (rice-bowl tropical deltas and corn-rich prairies). This landscape is unequally watered, because precipitation varies so much, and because drainage basins are of such arbitrary size and shape, and redistribute water resources in their own fashion. These lands are populated by societies which speak different languages, hold to different religions, and see themselves differentiated by ethnicity and polity. The physical and social elements sometimes vary synchronously, and sometimes do not. The ‘geo’ of ‘geopolitics’ reflects these facts: that the physical and social are interrelated, and that there is no politics without geography. Geopolitics is about space and power. There are of course different ways in which space can be known, and power exercised, but there are historical trajectories that mark how, in practice, societies have come to demarcate geographical space and to classify knowledge about it. The basic questions are: • • •

What is this place? Where is this place? and How do we represent such knowledge?

The answers are multiple: a peasant might know that at this place is his garden field cut from the forest, and this place is near a particular stream and this is represented in images in his head. A state surveyor might want to know the same in a different manner: that this plot is this big (for taxation purposes) and that it is within this collector’s tax district. This then leads us to representation: in times past, space was synonymous with place and cadastral maps. Parish cadastral maps did not have to ‘fit’ maps of adjacent parishes – what mattered was that each represented the plots and

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their relationships within their own parish. Neither was there any system for providing an over-arching grid. However, after the Enlightenment, a Newtonian understanding of absolute space grew, as the Earth’s dimensions became known. Survey instruments became more sophisticated, and enabled cartographers to calculate latitude and longitude with improved accuracy. With the development of trigonometrical (triangulated) survey, it seemed possible to pursue the goal of a comprehensive and objective depiction of the land and its features, within which the cadastral surveys could finally be reconciled with each other. When the British arrived in India, the villages of the Mughal Empire had their versions of cadastral surveys, but the only attempts at making objective maps of the wider realm, based on latitude and longitude, were by European navigators and explorers. After the British take-over of India, they indulged in ever more intensive survey, starting in Bengal in the 1770s. This initiated the work that would culminate in the Atlas of India (1820s onwards), whose sheets were at a scale 4 miles to an inch (1:253,440). The first sheets, of South India, were published in the 1820s, others continuing into the late nineteenth century. Parallel to The Atlas, and at some times and at some places integral to it, was the Great Trigonometrical Survey (GTS) of the Ordnance Survey of India, which began in 1799. By 1843 a great meridional arc had been completed from the Southern tip of India to Dehra Dun in 1843, not just for survey purposes, but also as part of an ‘exact’ measurement of the size of the Earth. But the very slow and expensive process of extending trigonometric survey to the rest of India only happened haphazardly and slowly, in some areas not being completed before British withdrawal in 1947. For the purposes of government, cadastral survey and other spatial representations remained as important as before. So, what exactly was the GTS for? Kumar (1995), Edney (1997), Keay (2000) and Barrow (2003) all take a roughly similar view: that survey was politically emblematic, and that it was driven by an ideology of control. As with the anthropological surveys, a GTS would make India scientifically and objectively known, through British skills, thereby showing exactly what India was, its shape and dimensions, what resources were where, how lines of communication could be developed and irrigation canals laid, and that therefore it was British. The power to depict was the key to control. This is a deeper argument than simply saying that maps are useful: they are fundamental to the ideology and propaganda of imperialism. This is an organized and disciplined kind of geopolitics, where science defined the spaces for the highest authorities to dispense. This chapter is about ‘a part of India that never was’. It is about the Brahmaputra valley and the north-east of India. This is a region where knowledge of spaces, and knowledge of resources, did not progress neatly

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to empower a central administration. Here ignorance of what was there was part and parcel of impotence. Hardly any of it was scientifically mapped. No Atlas of India sheets were completed for Assam. It remained an accidental part of British India, which was referred to as a neglected back-water (Coupland 1943: 1: 65). Since Independence, the consternation about what this area is and its neglect have both continued. The result of this incapacity, or oversight, was an unnecessary war between independent India and China in 1962, and therefore political hostility in the bigger river basin. But its significance is growing, because the Brahmaputra has the world’s fourth largest river discharge, as big as the biggest Chinese rivers. This chapter asks how space and identity relate to each other, how that is affected by the way space is known, and how these claims impinge on the geopolitics of one of the world’s great river basins. INDIAN SPACE There are copies of early charts and maps from India, many of them religious interpretations of a locality or the world, many of them limited to a single town or fort. There is a world map from the late eighteenth century which is circular, in this case with the south at the top, and the Indian Ocean at the centre. The Indian Ocean includes a Portuguese caravelle. The map is a combination of knowledge from Ptolemy and the fifteenth-century geographer Ibn Majid. Like the Mappa Mundi of Hereford in England, it is an aggregation of known or described places. With the institutionalisation of tax regimes under the Mughals, knowledge about the provinces of their empire was increasingly systematised. But the administration was in the hands of a hierarchy of officials from provincial levels to districts, who kept the necessary local records. The monumental account of the empire under Akbar – the Ain-iAkbari – contains gazetteer information, but not until the twentieth century is that information put into a modern atlas template.1 The best ‘maps’ to have survived from the last days of the Mughal empire were not drawn by an Indian, but as late as the 1770s by a French officer serving at the court of Shuja-ud-daula, the Nawab of Oudh, at Faizabad. Colonel Jean-BaptisteJoseph Gentil’s atlas comprises two-dimensional sketch maps of the provinces, with no coordinates, and no sign of geographical continuity beyond provincial borders. These are maps of power, where the provincial power is defined to be coterminous with provincial space. By the time the Englishman Job Charnock founded Calcutta as a trading factory for the English East India Company in 1694, it was well known that the Earth was spherical, and there was some approximate understanding of its dimensions. But the ships that sailed from Europe to India and back again undertook hazardous voyages, because although with some precision they might work out their latitude, no one knew how to measure

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longitude with even approximate accuracy. Thus sea charts could not say where land-fall was to be found, and much depended on hazy deadreckoning. In 1707 an English Admiral perished with 2,000 other men when he managed to wreck a whole fleet on the Scilly Isles – at the time believing he was far further east. Ships travelling to Bermuda, a small island in the West Atlantic, were more likely to miss it than find it. By the 1770s a skilled English engineer, John Harrison, brought his life’s work to fruition by building the first chronometer that could keep time accurately, in all humidities and temperatures, as a ship sailed the oceans. Thus, at last, longitude could be calculated by observation, and with this came the possibility of drawing global charts in which the space was absolute and a priori, and the coordinates known. James Cook, a British naval captain, took one of Harrison’s first chronometers to begin the charting of the Pacific, and drew Hawaii exactly where it belonged. In Britain in 1783 the Ordnance Survey adopted the principle of triangulation for a complete survey of the country, and in India triangulation began at the beginning of the nineteenth century, culminating in the longest and most accurate arc of a meridian, stretching from the southern Cape Comorin to the Himalayas, started by the Surveyor General, Everest, in 1830. A lateral extension later reached Bengal. In Gentil’s Atlas of the Mughal Empire, there is no idea of what lies beyond Bengal. In the first edition of the world’s first encyclopaedia – Encyclopaedia Britannica, London 1771 – there is a three-line entry for Bengal, describing it as the easternmost province of the Mogul Empire. There is no entry for Assam. As late as 1840 a gazetteer was published in London which had this to say: The countries to the E. of Bengal, namely, Aracan, Assam, Birmah, Cambodia, Ciampa, Cochinchina, Laos, Malacca, Pegu, Siam and Tonquin, which some geographers have distinguished by the name of India beyond the Ganges, are no more to be considered belonging to India than the bordering countries of Persia, Tartary and Tibet. (Landmann 1840)

After the Battle of Plassey in 1757 the British took over the effective government of Bengal. For many historians, this was the true beginning of the British Empire in India. Certainly, having now become a land power in India as well as a maritime trading power, the British harnessed their new skills to provide an inventory of the new domains. Major James Rennell, later seen as a founder of modern geography, arrived in Bengal in 1764 and was given the initial task of finding a navigable route upstream from Calcutta to the Ganges, in the dry season. This meant surveying the Jalangi River, and later the Bhagirathi–Hoogly – distributary rivers running north–south from the Ganges to Calcutta. These were route maps, produced by travelling the route and taking some survey observations of latitude and longitude at arbitrary intervals, and

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interpolating in between by compass bearings and distance. Rennell was then appointed Surveyor General in 1767, and he began the task of surveying the whole of Bengal (and subsequently the rest of British India). In 1780 he published a remarkable atlas of Bengal and Bihar, that was expanded in 1781 (Rennell 1780, 1781). Its subtitle says much: A Bengal Atlas: Containing Maps of the Theatre of War and Commerce on that side of Hindoostan. The maps varied in size from 17' × 15' to 17' × 19' and covered the areas designated on an index map (Figure 1). On Plate II, showing Bengal and Bihar, to the west of the Bhagirathi–Hoogley and to the south of the Ganges, were the hills of the north-east Deccan. On his first maps these were empty blank spaces, but whose dimensions were now known. Thus at the same period that Gentil was drawing his Atlas without spaces, Rennell could write: ‘The Space within these Hills has never been explored by any European & is seldom visited by the inhabitants of the adjacent Plains.’ This is a direct consequence of the knowledge of absolute space, and the ability to calculate coordinates. The trained surveyors and adminstrators now knew, with a much better degree of accuracy than before, the spatial extent of what they did not know. The Atlas clearly shows the Brahmaputra flowing out of the north-east and going round a great western bend, then flowing in what is now known as its old course, east of the Madhopur tract. The north-east area of the map, though not marked as such, is unsurveyed and hardly known territory

Figure 1. Index map on title page of A Bengal Atlas by James Rennell.

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(by any European). On Plate VI in the Atlas in a north–south direction across the truncated Brahmaputra is written the single word ‘Assam’. It is a gate-keeper to the unknown. To the north is Bhutan, a territory named and recognised. It was also known that the mountains continued to run east from Bhutan. To the south, round which the Brahmaputra swung, were the Garo Hills, and the Khasi and Jaintia Mountains (modern Meghalaya), the wettest place on earth, the jagged country of wild tribes. (Garo, Khasi and Jaintia are names of tribes.) The cartographers of the day did not refrain from speculating about what lay upstream in Assam. The biggest question was about the origin of the Brahmaputra. In Hindu mythology, the river was descended from another great river to the other side of the Himalayas, but local people coming from Assam described it as originating in the east. The Europeans were prohibited (on pain of death) by the Tibetans from travelling in their territory. But a few succeeded, including John Speke, who later explored in Africa, and discovered the source of the Nile in 1862 (BBC History 2010). Spies and pilgrims could also provide information, and the existence of the Tsangpo at high altitude and running west–east was established. But no one knew where it went. It was speculated as being the source, variously, of the Irrawaddy, the Mekong, the Salween, even the Yangtze. Given the proximity of the headwaters of these rivers, that proximity which stimulates current Chinese thoughts about water diversion, it can be appreciated how speculation about this unknown mountainous region could be so wide-sweeping. The surveyor Rennell was firmly of the opinion that the Tsangpo (also known as Yarlung Zangbo) must run into the Brahmaputra. But in the nineteenth century, as knowledge about both the Vale of Assam and Tibet increased, the issue was still unproven; if true, however, the implications were now known to be more astounding. Dibrugarh, at the east end of the Vale, is 90 m above sea level, 1,000 km from the sea. At the same longitude but 150 km north, the Tsangpo is at 3,000 m. The implication was that potentially, somewhere in-between, was the world’s greatest waterfall. The hunt for the source of the Brahmaputra never achieved the same public fascination in Europe as the hunt for the source of the Nile. Egypt’s dependence on the Nile had never been in doubt. Further, more than one European power was eyeing territory within the basin. But in Bengal, settlement, economy and power, had all grown from the eastern Gangetic part of the delta. Further, there were no other European powers eyeing the unknown Brahmaputra – the British occupied the only possible means of access. Recognition of the Brahmaputra’s importance would come in two stages, much later in history. But of course there were explorers and geographers who were keen to solve the riddle. Attempts to follow the Brahmaputra upstream from Dibrugarh – up the Dihang (the local name of the link between the Tsangpo and Brahmaputra) – usually ended in fatal confrontation with wild tribes,

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or else disease (Dutta 2001). Attempts to follow the Tsangpo downstream led into appallingly difficult mountain country. By the 1880s the matter was settled, by observation of water discharges down the Dihang. Yet not until 1924 was the connection completely made by land survey (of a preliminary sort by a botanist, Ward (1930) – this was not a full topographical survey, as indicated by the title of his book Plant Hunting on the Edge of the World), and not until 1999 did an American expedition penetrate the last of the waterfalls.2 Truly this was the Edge of the World. INTEGRATION VERSUS INDEPENDENCE The forces of integration of any given territory include coercive, identitive and utilitarian aspects (Chapman 2009). Empires frequently have coercive origins, but need at least one of the other aspect – usually utilitarian – to perpetuate themselves. The identitive forces are those which bring a people to acknowledge each other as members of their own group. There can of course be hierarchies of groups and of identity, from family, to tribe, to region and even larger scales. At the larger scales, the commonest forces to single out are those of language and religion. The geographical space of South Asia offers opportunities for Empire building. There are great river plains, which have for thousands of years fostered one of the world’s densest agricultural populations. The legacy of this is that 10 per cent of the human race lives in the Ganges basin, and the basin currently has half of India’s overall population. In an imperial agrarian society, the power of the state is almost equated with the number of inhabitants at its disposal, so it is no surprise that all but one of India’s cycles of Empire have their foundations in the Ganges Valley, and have extended from there sometimes into Afghanistan, sometimes into the Deccan peninsula. This was the pattern for the Mauryan (circa 300–200 BC), Gupta (circa 350–500 AD), Afghan (circa 1150–1400 AD), and Mughal (circa 1500–1700 AD) empires. It was also almost the pattern for the British. They expanded fastest from Bengal up to Delhi, but they also encroached into the south from Madras. Figure 2 is a suggestive map, on which the frequencies with which a boundary has occurred in history is proportional to its thickness. Thus, Nepal has never been directly subject to the power of the plains – the mountains are logistically difficult and sparsely settled, hence simultaneously difficult to subdue and providing few temptations. The British settled for a subservient buffer state. The thick border between the Gangetic plains and the Himalayas continues east, then curves around the east side of Bengal. It cuts across the Brahmaputra and its valley, just short of where Rennell wrote ‘Assam’ north–south on his map.

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Figure 2. Frequency of boundaries in South Asia. Modified from Chapman 2009.

What is Assam? This is a question that in many ways is still undecided today. It is a question that has bedevilled the major powers that border India’s north-east. It is clear from the distribution of ethic and linguistic groups that the early settlement of the north-east was from Tibet, China and Burma. The classification of the languages the settlers spoke is controversial: some authorities put the languages in a broad Sino-Tibetan group, others in a narrower Tibeto-Burman group. The peoples of the north-east are ethnically and linguistically completely different from the Indians of the Ganges plains, where Indo-European languages dominate. In their own account, the Garos came from Tibet ‘because it became drier and less fertile’ (Rongmuti 1933: 55). The north-east of India offered

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jungles in which to hunt, and the possibility of slash-and-burn agriculture, known in India as jhum (or jhumming). Tribes sustained by combinations of these activities were not sedentary, and social organisation rarely developed beyond the village or tribal level. It is also clear that inter-village and inter-tribal warfare was common, often in pursuit of slaves, and that human heads were counted as trophies of war (MacKenzie, 1884). The mountains north, east and south of the Brahmaputra and the Vale, make up some of the wettest and most intractable jungle terrain on Earth. Here settlement densities were low, villages and tribes mobile, and subsistence relied on three things: hunting, slash-and-burn swidden cultivation, and the periodic plunder both of the plains and of adjacent tribesmen. The history of the Ahom kingdom of the Vale is a tale of constant war on the borders, punitive raids into the hills, customary tribute, and slavery. On the flat floor of the Vale of Assam between marshes and swamp lands, settlers adopted sedentary paddy cultivation, and population densities grew. In the thirteenth century a leader from the Shan tribes of modern north-east Burma descended into the Vale, and began the establishment of the Ahom dynasty, whose history is fairly well known. Hinduism made inroads, though the Ahoms themselves kept versions of their own faiths and ceremonies until the eighteenth century. During the reigns of the Ahom kings, Assamese (a Sanskritic language related to Bengali) finally became the court language (Gait 1905), instead of Ahom (a Tibeto-Burman Shan language). During the Mughal period, and particularly under Aurangzeb, the most determined attempts were made to annexe the Vale of Assam. The aim was imperial expansion, and the quest for elephants and rare plants. Flotillas of armed boats were used on the river to combine with land armies. Some achieved initial success, but none was able to impose enduring rule on Assam. Sometimes the invasions met with rapid military defeat at the hands of the Assamese; sometimes they withered as they penetrated further into this alien land: The history of the rest of Mir-Jumla’s [general sent by Aurengzeb] Campaign is not unlike that of Napoleon’s ill-fated march to the territories of the Czar. Rain, pestilence and constant night attacks of the Assamese did as much injury to the Mughal commander as snow, frost and Russian attacks on the heel did to the French monarch. (Bora 1942: 83)

The thick border of Bengal remained where it was. SPACE AS VACUUM: A FIT OF ABSENCE OF MIND The British in India (until 1857) were represented by a company, whose interests lay in trade and profit. The company was alarmed at the prospect

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of war and government, because of the costs and distractions involved. The further from the coasts, the less likely it was to develop profitable trade, and the more likely to incur the costs of government. But trade is not possible when anarchy prevails, so the phrase most often used to describe the take-over is that it occurred ‘during a fit of absence of mind’, to preserve the order that made trade possible. At the end of the eighteenth century, at the time the British were establishing themselves as the rulers of Bengal, the Ahom dynasty was collapsing with internal rebellion and tribal strife. The British got sucked in briefly, but the Governor-General in Calcutta was apprehensive about the costs and other implications, and the British abandoned it to its own fate. ‘In July 1794, Assam was deliberately relegated to anarchy and civil war’ (MacKenzie 1884: 3). But anarchy creates a vacuum. South, across the Patkai mountains, there is another vale, that of the Irrawaddy in Burma. Here the power of the King of Ava (near Mandalay) was growing as that of the Ahoms was waning. In 1816 and again in 1819 he invaded Assam, and occupied the Vale downstream to Guwahati, threatening British Bengal. The Burmese also overthrew the Maharajah of Manipur, on the Burmese–Bengal border in Arakan. In 1824 the British declared war and determined to evict the Burmese from the Vale. They started by moving up the Brahmaputra valley, but because of the swamps, jungles and fever, pauses during the long rains, and difficulties of supplies, they took more than a year to do so. A Captain Wilcox noted that he had seen in 1825 a fleet of commissariat boats, with desperately needed supplies, take 25 days to make their way only 30 miles upstream from Goalpara (Gait 1905: 351). The British also tried to reinstall the Raja of Manipur, but serious obstacles were encountered in the shape of the mountainous character of the country, the clayey nature of the soil and the unusually heavy rainfall. Large numbers of elephants, bullocks and other transport animals were lost, and in the end, the attempt was abandoned and the force broken up. (Gait 1905: 339) The British also attacked Burma by sea, up the Irrawaddy River, incidentally using steam gunboats for the first time in history (Bernstein 1960). After a hugely costly campaign, in which many more soldiers died of sickness than of enemy action, the British subdued the Burmese. By the treaty of Yandabo in 1826 the Burmese recognised British control of Assam and the independence of the Raja of Manipur. So, a quarter of a century after they had declined the opportunity to support the Ahoms, the British now found themselves in charge of a ravaged and remote territory. It was remote because of the excruciating slowness of any journey up the silt-laden braided Brahmaputra, or through the mud and marshes of the Vale.

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RESOURCES: TEA AND UTILITARIAN INTEGRATION By the nineteenth century, tea-drinking in Britain was widespread, using tea imported from China. In Assam in 1823 an enterprising British trader, Robert Bruce, reached Rangpur while it was under Burmese domination. He contacted a Singhpo chief who gave him specimens of a local tea-plant that the tribe also used. The prospect of tea plantations in British hands, and a shorter voyage to England than from China, were attractions that sparked the East India Company in Calcutta to action. The first non-Chinese tea was auctioned in London in 1839, and caused great excitement (Dutta 2001). The best tea plants grow on leached slopes with abundant rainfall, exactly as found throughout the north-east on the edges of the Vale of Assam. By the 1840s the first tea estates (‘gardens’) were established. They needed labourers, but none of the surrounding tribals were willing to abandon their free ‘savage’ lives for indentured near-slavery. As a result a contract trade developed, bringing indentured tribal people from Chotanagpur (modern Jharkhand) to the tea ‘garden’ – a grimly euphemistic expression given the horrific conditions in which the labour force was kept. They were transported in appalling conditions to be given little shelter, medical help or food. Introduced into a new climate and environment in which all the worst jungle diseases were rife, as many as a third of the workforce might die in six months. Since the labour force never reproduced itself, the trade continued. All of this was possible only because of traffic on the Brahmaputra. However, the journey up by country-boat and haulage was slow and tedious. The voyage up is tedious and dreary; the days and weeks naught else is visible but sandbanks and water bounding the very horizon, with no trace of vegetation but an endless jungle of impenetrable reeds; without the shadow of an inhabitant or signs of animal life but water fowls and alligators – occasionally relieved by groups of beautifully wooded hills, the shape and colour constantly change by position. Higher up the scenery improves; and a series of hills innumerable, retiring far away in fine perspective, till their blue conical summits are relieved by the snowy peaks of the Himalayas towering their icy pinnacles midway up to the vortex of the sky, afford one of the grandest scenes in nature. A voyage up the Brahmaputra is attended with many obstacles not to be met with upon the Ganges. In the dry season there are no beaten paths to facilitate tracking; the boatmen must either force their way through the high reeds on the crumbling perpendicular bank, or scramble along the bottom; or, what they prefer, keep upon the shoal side of the river, where the sandbank affords good footing, though with great drawback of the boat getting often aground. During the rains the navigation is very much

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impeded, the banks are overflowed and little or no tracking ground is left, so that pushing along by the slowest of all processes, the bamboo, is the only means of advancing. The prevailing wind from the East adds no little impediment to the journey. During the cold weather the Brahmaputra is clear and transparent but in the rain thick and turbid, and at the full flood covered with rafts of pine trees swept away by its mountainous torrents; or by large masses of soil, with the reads and long grass still adhering. (Cosh 1837, cited in Dutta 2001: 187)

In the early 1840s steam boats were introduced by the government, as far as Guwahati, and used whenever possible by the Assam Company to get its tea out. From the 1840s they tried to establish their own service as far as Dibrugarh, though it was not until the 1860s that this became a regular and reliable service – which slowly transformed itself into something of a luxury cruise for those Europeans paying first class. For the whole of the second half of the nineteenth century, steam boats on the river were what connected the emerging economy of the Vale with Bengal. Though counter-factual history cannot be proved, most likely Britain could never, and would never have, held and developed (to the limited extent it did) the Vale of Assam without the science of steam. The Assam and Bengal railway followed much later than the railways of Hindustan. It was built from Chittagong through Sylhet and the Cachar Hills to the Brahmaputra and thence to Tinsukia, opening in 1905. It was a very difficult and dangerous project, because of disease and tribal raids. Pathans from that other frontier, the north-west, were brought in, because they were good at blowing up rocks to make cuttings. Mr Wilde, accompanied by his wife went by the present trunk road and by rough tracks with bullock carts and elephants to Lanka, from there by narrow jungle trails to the camping site. One of the party was attacked by cholera, Mrs Wilde tried to get him back to Gauhati. His grave is conspicuous on the left of the line just before reaching Lanka [20 miles north-west of modern Lumding] from Gauhati. Mr Wilde continued in charge of Hatikhali during construction but was murdered by Pathans in 1897. He and Mr Peddie [death unexplained] lie buried deep in the jungle some miles from the present Hatikhali station … An old-timer’s story said that for every sleeper laid in the hill section and Lanka-Manipur Divisions, a man died. (Prendergast 1944: 20)

INNER LINES AND OUTER SPACE The tea-gardens pushed Europeans into tribal territory, with the consequence that tribal attacks were not uncommon, and quite often

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successful – that is, the raiders took away the heads of planters as their customary trophies. British punitive expeditions went to collect the heads back again, themselves risky and dangerous ventures. Attempts to negotiate treaties with the tribes yielded nothing much either: one British official lamented that the tribes new nothing about international law. Neither did they have leaders. At most, someone might be headman of a village or two. The surrounding space was inhabited by peoples who had no sense of identitive integration. For example, the British termed just one part of the territory ‘Nagaland’. This seems to imply some sort of coherent identity, but there are 30 or so Naga tribes, many of them speaking mutually incomprehensible languages, even in adjacent (and mobile) villages, which might also have been engaged in reciprocal head-hunting. The languages themselves are part of the Tibeto-Burman sub-group of about 80 collectively known as Kuki-Chin-Naga – but the relationships between all of these are not clearly worked out. Where did the boundaries of Assam stop? How far did British India extend? In a world of international law different states negotiated borders with each other. Looking north from Assam, the next recognisable state was Tibet – and so the border would have to be negotiated with the Government in Lhasa. This raised questions about the relationships between sovereignty and jurisdiction – because the government in India went on to claim sovereignty over territory inhabited by these independent tribes, over whom they had no practical jurisdiction and no administration. This ambiguity applied both to the northern Himalayan border with Tibet and China, and with the southern border with Burma. It is not open to us on the Abhor frontier [the Himalayan region between the Vale and Tibet] to have recourse to the policy of permanent occupation and direct management … To annex the Abhor Hills would only bring us into contact with tribes still wilder and less known, nor should we find a resting place for the foot of annexation till we planted it on the plateaus of High Asia; perhaps not even then. (MacKenzie 1884: 55)

The administrative response of the government was to define an inner line, far short of an, as yet unknown, international border, where the administration effectively ceased. The Regulation gave power to the Lieutenant-Governor to ordain which British subjects or foreign nationals could cross this line, and any conditions on the holding of land or the conduct of trade. The regulation also specifically mentioned the preservation of the elephant population. Beyond the line, there would be no interference in the way of life (and death) of the tribes. The Nagas of the unadministered areas were free to commit raids and take heads to their heart’s delight within their own habitat, and a blind eye was

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Source: Rose and Fisher 1967.

Figure 3. Tribes of the north-east.

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turned upon their frolics, provided they committed no trespass. (Rustomji 1983: 27)

In 1874 Assam was constituted as a Chief-Commissionership separate from Bengal. This was an aggrandisement of the old Ahom kingdom, because now ‘Assam’ theoretically incorporated the adjacent tribal areas. However, any acts passed by the elected legislature only applied within the inner line, and not to the Backward Tracts, as the tribal areas became known. Matters beyond the Inner Line were at the discretion of the Chief-Commissioner (later Lieutenant-Governor) who could and did make regulations without reference to the Assamese cabinet (Simon Commission report 1930). There is an echo of this state of affairs in the current constitutional ‘otherness’ of the north-east. Just as the Indian Constitution’s Article 370 prohibits nonKashmiris from buying property in Kashmir, so Article 371A privileges the property rights of indigenous tribal groups of the north-east, and legal Indian immigrants (e.g. Bengalis, usually in urban areas) often have very limited rights. FORGING IDENTITIES: ALPHABETS, RELIGIONS AND NAGAS The distinction between the Vale of Assam and the tribal hill and mountains around is immediately clear to a contemporary traveller. In the Vale signs are written in the Assamese script (a variant of Bengali), and where the Roman script is used it is mostly for English. In the Hills, it is the Roman script that dominates, used for a multitude of languages which bear no relationship to Bengali or English. These are languages which have been given a written form only since the advent of missionaries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. And the missionaries have reaped a great harvest: by the 1940s up to 30 per cent of the Nagas were Christian, and now the north-east is the main region of India in which Christians are in a clear majority. (Christianity is particularly significant also in Goa and Kerala.) The advance of Christianity, particularly after World War Two, promoted by American Baptists, and the adoption of the Roman alphabet and the Bible in only three of the many Naga languages, began to give the Nagas something they had never had before – the first glimmerings of a common identity. It was inevitable after the mayhem of World War Two, when the invading Japanese had fought with the British in the heart of Nagaland, that there would be some stock-taking at the end of it. In 1945 the British deputy Commissioner helped the establishment of a Naga Hill Districts tribal Council, which in 1946 renamed itself the Naga National Council – and which started publishing a slim newspaper called the Naga Nation. The title did not represent the past – because there had previously been no cohesive identity to the many tribes and languages – but it was another of

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the glimmering signs. Where group identity is not yet forged, intrusion from the outside can often stimulate greater solidarity. The leader of the Naga National Council, Zapu Phizo, tried before Indian Independence in 1947 to come to an understanding with India’s national leaders, including Gandhi, but none of them would concede India’s claim to inherit British Sovereignty. Shortly before India’s Independence, Phizo and the NNC proclaimed Nagaland’s independent sovereign status. For quite some time this momentous announcement amounted to very little, since there was no Indian administration to speak of in the Backward Tracts. Phizo and the NNC did however collect taxes and organise their own form of administration. In 1955 the Indian response to a ‘parallel government’ (it wasn’t, because the Indian Government did not function locally), was to use the army to put down the rebellion. The strength of opposition should not have surprised them, but action soon resulted in a full-scale war. It was to last 50 years, to tie down massive numbers of Indian troops, and, despite a current precarious ceasefire, perhaps it has not yet ended. The government adopted a forced programme of barbed-wire ‘protected’ villages – much like the British did in Malaya. But the people were not sedentary paddy farmers, they were hunters and shifting cultivators, who bitterly resented the drastic interventions in their lifestyles. Simultaneously, ‘development’ was to be accelerated: Whereas in the rest of the country there is at least a semblance of control on the expenditure of public funds, for the hills there was a blank cheque. The overriding consideration was speed, and if a contractor demanded an exorbitant amount for constructing a road or building, it was conceded; for the tribal must not on any account be allowed to get the impression that the government were stinting money where tribal interests were concerned … A vested interest was created in the promotion and acceleration of so-called ‘development project’ … And the contractor, whether tribal or plainsman, the administrator, the politician, all became increasingly involved in the ever-spreading web of graft and corruption. (Rustomji 1983: 53)

Further, the major earlier source of ‘development’, the Christian missionaries, were being pushed out. It did come as a surprise, however, and as a shock, when foreign missionaries, who were non-officials, were found being eased out of parishes in the hills that they had been serving for the better part of their lives. India, according to her constitution, was a secular state. The first, and virtually the only people who had taken pains to help the tribal people in the field of education and health services had been the missionaries. (Rustomji 1983: 62)

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It was not understood that, although Christianity was first preached to the tribal people by foreigners, it is neither foreign to India nor anti-national. (Rustomji 1983: 64) SPATIAL CONCESSIONS In 1962 Assamese was made the official language of Assam, and outrage erupted in many of the tribal areas. In 1963 Nagaland was officially separated from Assam and became a state in its own right. Neighbouring Manipur has its independence movement too. It was a Princely State under the British Raj, and the circumstances under which the Maharaja acceded to India is subject to dispute. Days before the transfer of power, the Maharaja signed an agreement putting external affairs, defence and communications in the hands of India, while he retained internal autonomy. In 1949 he signed a merger agreement with India while visiting Shillong, and probably while detained incommunicado and against his will (Baruah 2005). The agreement made Manipur a Union Territory under the aegis of the central government. As in Nagaland, so here, it was not hard for the rebels to get arms. Not only were many left over from World War Two, until 1971 East Pakistan was a ‘natural’ source, since it was in Pakistan’s interest to keep one-quarter of the Indian army busy, so far from the West Pakistan border. China also aided and abetted the rebels, providing training and arms, for a similar reason, until the mid-1980s, when it finally ceased its policy of exporting revolution. But even then, arms continued to flow from Yunnan in China, as manufacturers sought to make profits from sales to the insurgents. They came by land through Burma, and also by sea through Bangladesh. Militant groups such as ULFA covered their costs by selling weapons further – to Nepal and to central India. (Bhaumik 2007). India’s twin-track policy of massive military intervention and hasty development was pursued here too. In 1972 both Manipur and Tripura were granted full statehood, and so was Mizoram, the last of the Seven Sisters, in 1985 – a tiny state with fewer than 1 million people. OUTER SPACE AND AN OUTER LINE: WAR WITH CHINA The (British) Government of India claimed sovereignty beyond the Inner Line, to the borders with Burma (which was actually governed as part of India between its annexation and its constitutional separation in 1936) to the east and south, and the borders with Tibet in the north. The latter meant negotiating with the Tibetan government in Lhasa, and that in itself raised a whole number of other issues. The Tibetans acknowledged the nominal overlordship of the Chinese and accepted their ‘Viceroys’ in Lhasa,

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Source: Chapman 2009.

Figure 4. States of India: The Seven Sisters of the north-east.

but actually they administered their territory and people through their network of Buddhist monasteries and priests. The Chinese determined to reduce the power of the Dalai Lama, and to exercise more effective control over their province. In 1910 the Morning Post in London noted:

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A great Empire, the future military strength of which no man can foresee, has suddenly appeared on the North-East Frontier of India. The problem of the North-West Frontier thus bids fair to be duplicated in the long run, and a double pressure placed on the defensive resources of the Indian Empire … China, in a word, has come to the gates of India, and the fact has to be reckoned with. (Cited in Maxwell 1970: 42)

The British reverted to survey parties and mapping. They began to mount expeditions through the tribal areas, to map as much of the ground as they could, although they also conveniently had the excuse of punishing those involved in the murder of a British official (Noel Williamson) who had travelled beyond his designated mission. In practice, though the location of major peaks could be determined by triangulation from the Vale itself, very little of the area was well mapped. As late as 1939, H.W. Tilman observed ‘but it should be noted that though the Himalaya may be assumed to mark the Assam-Tibet frontier, the boundary has never been delimited’. The Himalaya formed a watershed between the Tsangpo and the Brahmaputra – between a river and itself. So somewhere to the east, this line could not be the border between China and India – somewhere the border would have to cross the river, somewhere on the Edge of the World. Yet in 1913 the British had hosted a conference at Simla with Tibetan and Chinese representatives. The Foreign Secretary of the Government of India was Henry McMahon, who had previously worked with Durand to complete the line on the North-Western Frontier between British India and Afghanistan. McMahon’s brief was to negotiate a convention that the Tibetans and Chinese would both sign. By 1914 this had not been achieved, and McMahon, exceeding his brief like everyone else seemed to do in the north-east, signed independently with the Tibetans, while the Chinese envoy was in the room next door. The latter knew something was signed, but not what. What was signed was an agreement on an alignment of the border, itself the product of earlier secret meetings that the Chinese had not known about (Maxwell 1970). Between Eastern Bhutan and the tracts of the Abors was a salient of territory known as the Tawang Tract, under the sway of the Buddhist monastery at Tawang. The cultural and economic ties of the Monpas and Sherdukpens who live there were more with Tibet than the plains, although they do not consider themselves Tibetan and did not like Tibetan overlordship. Quite how McMahon persuaded the Tibetans to cede this tract to British India is not known, but Maxwell (1970) suggests it may have been in exchange for British help in getting the Chinese off the Tibetans’ backs. East from there to the Tsangpo–Dihang gorge, the idea of the watershed was used, without the maps to specify it. In Bartholomew’s Atlas (1912) Tawang is quite clearly part of Bhutan, but east of there there are no borders, and the actual topography is wrong. In the Atlas of the Imperial Gazetteer of India (1909, revised 1931) there is no eastern border to

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Bhutan, the tribal tracts to the east of it seemingly belonging to Bhutan. In the map included with the Simon Commission Report of 1930 (Indian Statutory Commission 1930) Tawang is not in Bhutan, but in a part of India coloured as an ‘Excluded Area’ of a Governor’s Province; that is, one beyond the Inner Line. Indeed, in practice, the British extended authority over the Tawang tract very hesitantly. As late as 1941 if British officials went to the area and found Tibetan officials there, collecting taxes or whatever, they were instructed not to interfere. Only in 1943 did the British finally complain to Lhasa about ‘illegal activity’ in the area. But east of Tawang McMahon’s line in reality meant very little. To the east there was no attempt to provide markers on the ground or detailed maps. In scientific terms, it remained a known unknown, and thus a political issue for future resolution. As of 2010, ‘Google maps’ shows no international border along this line between China and India. When India achieved Independence in 1947, the Congress Government in Delhi accepted the ‘reality’ and legality of the McMahon Line without much questioning. Then, in 1950, the Chinese invaded Tibet. This was not the army of imperial China, but the army of Mao’s communist government, which wanted to tidy up its national inheritance. India viewed this with apprehension, and in 1951 strengthened the number of administrative posts in NEFA (the North-East Frontier Agency – now the state of Arunachal Pradesh), and moved officials into Tawang, while expelling their Tibetan opposite numbers. The government simultaneously realised that it had to enhance the administration of the other tribal areas, which were to the rear of any border to be defended. In 1954 Nehru appointed the legendary anthropologist Verrier Elwin, who had spent years with the tribes of Madhya Pradesh, as Advisor for Tribal Affairs in NEFA, in order to improve the quality of ‘contact’. In 1959 the Dalai Lama and his government threw in their lot with Tibetan rebels, proclaiming Tibetan independence. The Chinese put down the rebellion brutally, and the Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans fled into exile in India, via Tawang. The Chinese government wanted negotiations to settle the border issue between Tibet and India, but India insisted on the legality of the McMahon Line and moved troops to defend it. When in 1962 the succession of skirmishes flared up into a real war, India’s forward units were very rapidly trounced by the Chinese, and a wholesale ramshackle retreat occurred, to the plains and beyond. The road from the plains to Tawang started on the north bank of the Brahmaputra at Tezpur, upstream of Gauhati. The administration in Tezpur started a scorched earth policy, destroying the currency reserves, and evacuating the young, so they could not be indoctrinated by the Chinese. Much of NEFA was occupied by the Chinese, and Assam was left defenceless. In a broadcast to the nation, a broken and disillusioned Nehru lamented the country’s plight. To the people of Assam, the next stage in the Chinese

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advance, he tendered his profound sympathy and heart-felt condolences … The Assamese felt outraged and have never quite forgiven – or forgotten – the hopelessness of Nehru’s call. (Rustomji 1983: 137)

In Delhi it was even wondered whether Calcutta was now defenceless. But the Chinese announced a unilateral ceasefire, and withdrew, to what they considered the proper demarcation of the McMahon Line.3 They had concluded their punitive incursion and achieved their aims. The Indian administration moved back into NEFA quite quickly, and was relieved to find that the tribes people had not been indoctrinated against their return. In 1987 NEFA was given statehood as Arunachal Pradesh. There is still no negotiated settlement with China, and consequently there is still tension with China over the border. THE PARTITION OF BENGAL AND THE BRAHMAPUTRA In 1947, the very clearly distinct character and culture of Bengal, particularly Muslim East Bengal, resulted in its separation from India, when it became the eastern wing of Pakistan. Not so very far downstream from where Rennell had written ‘Assam’ of the great unknown, now there was a new international border crossing the Brahmaputra. Until 1965 this was of limited consequence, but when that year Pakistan and India went to war, all international trade on the river stopped – and has remained stopped ever since. Land transportation has also been a casualty, since the Assam railway line from Calcutta ran across what became East Pakistan. India’s north-east – Assam and the tribal states now known collectively as the Seven Sisters – remain connected by a corridor of land 26 km wide, north of the Brahmaputra, known as The Chicken’s Neck (the nickname follows obviously from the shape of modern India on the map). In the decades of insurgency since Independence, the area has stagnated economically. It is remote from Delhi, and the population comparatively so small that it cannot register much of a voice through India’s democratic systems. Though a new road and rail connection has been built across the Ganga on a controversial barrage at Farakka north of Kolkata, poor communications remain one of the stumbling blocks to incorporation and development. The north-east has been a political and military headache for Delhi, since Independence, but it is now becoming seen increasingly as a region with an increasingly desirable resource – water. Much of India is semi-arid, some of it arid. All of it is affected by huge seasonality. As a rough guide we may say that four months are wet, and eight months are dry. Thus India is beset with problems of the temporal and spatial redistribution of water, at many scales. The Tata Energy Research Institute published a map in 2000 (Figure 5), which showed rivers basins according to the rainfall divided by their population. Some basins in the south of the peninsula were shown as in

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Source: Tata Energy Research Institute.

Figure 5. Imputed water scarcity by River Basin in India.

acute water scarcity – and indeed trains have been used to deliver water to Chennai (Madras City) on many occasions. The Narmada River in western India is shown as water surplus, adjacent to water scarce Gujarat. Hence there is justification for the infamous Narmada Dams scheme, which is slowly being completed in the teeth of environmentalist opposition. Very often, the Brahmaputra basin is shown as being ‘water surplus’, though on what basis a river’s natural flow is ‘surplus’ is not always clear. Another way of looking at this, with envious eyes, is to say that little of India’s population is in the north-east, yet the Brahmaputra has 20 per cent of the freshwater flow of India. As with the Narmada, shipping water from Madhya Pradesh to Gujarat, so here water ‘could’ be shipped from the Brahmaputra to the Ganga, so that the lower Ganga has ‘spare’ water that can be sent south into the peninsula. This is the kind of thinking behind the river linkage programme of India – illustrated in Figure 6. An earlier proposal by India would have had a link canal – half a mile wide, wider than any yet built on Earth – built across Bangladeshi territory, with both end points in Indian hands. Bangladesh not unnaturally does not want this, and has proposed that a myriad of dams in the Ganges catchment can augment the low season flow,

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by capturing more of the monsoon peak. India’s latest proposal is for a link canal wholly within Indian territory, making it explicit that the engineering has to adjust to political realities, not vice versa. This canal would have to cross the Tista – one of the siltiest and flashiest rivers of the wild Himalayan front. There is already a barrage on the Tista, and an off-take canal – though neither have remotely near the capacity envisaged. The terminal point of the link canal is just upstream of Farakka. This latter barrage therefore becomes an indispensible link in the chain. However, the barrage is already heavily silted, and the Ganges upstream has already moved in a meander 10 km wide, and threatens to break through the northern afflux bund (Rudra 2006). Were this to happen, it would be a catastrophe for downstream areas in India and Bangladesh, and India would find its current links with Assam broken. It might appear that India can act as the upstream riparian with scant regard for Bangladesh. But India is also a downstream power on the Tsangpo–Brahmaputra, and China has its own debate on whether or how to develop the water resources of the river. The most ambitious project discussed to date is a proposal to divert the Tsangpo before it enters India into tunnels and canals that would link it to the Hwang He (Yellow) River to the north – this being the most gargantuan inter-basin transfer ever proposed, in theory also capable of generating much more hydroelectric power than the Three Gorges Dam. The Dalai Lama’s Tibetan governmentin-exile has alleged that, to blast through Himalayan mountain ranges, China has considered the use of atomic explosions – something utterly unacceptable to the international community concerned with nuclear proliferation (BBC 2000; the allegation was also made by a Daily Telegraph reporter, McElroy 2000). Indian and Bangladeshi reaction to the proposal is naturally negative. However, it is not immediately obvious what the consequences would be for them: most of the flow of the Brahmaputra is derived downstream of Tibet/China. However, a critical part of the low season flow does come from Tibet/China, and in that sense the project would have an impact vaguely paralleling the Farakka Barrage, where it is the low season flow that has been diverted from Bangladesh with unfortunate consequences. The scale of the project is so huge – even initial costs put it at twice the Three Gorges Dam – that for the moment many commentators assume it will not be built. But the future can often surprise the complacent. SPACES FROM SPACE: FLOODS AND SATELLITES As one might expect of a delta, Bangladesh has a long history (as Bengal in former times) of flooding, but it also has a growing population, which has doubled from 78 million in 1971 to 156 million in 2009. It is still 80 per cent rural – which means that there is more pressure on land, that people live

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Source: www.nwda.gov.in/writereaddata/sublinkimages/12.jpg and www.nwda.gov.in/writereaddata/ sublinkimages/13.jpg

Figure 6. Indian river linkage proposals.

in riskier environments, exposed on chawr (new sandbanks exposed after the monsoon peak discharge) land to flood, and on coastal islands to cyclones. There is therefore a long historical record of floods and flood damage, with some of the worst in recent history in 1987, 1988 (when a third of the country was under water), and 1998 (when the floods were marked by their prolonged duration). At the time there were many who

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Figure 7. Floods in Assam 2004.

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pointed fingers upstream, quoting the thesis of Himalayan Degradation, which held deforestation in the Himalayas, of both the Ganges and the Brahmaputra catchments, to be responsible. The international response was to help the Government of Bangladesh develop a Flood Action Plan – which started by suggesting major embankments and river training (technocratic engineering responses), but which has sort of inconclusively ended by enhancing the preparedness and resilience of the population (softer social responses). In Assam, 14 of the 50 years to 2008 are described as having terrible floods, that of 2004 (Figure 7) displacing 12.3 million people from more than 10,000 villages. In India the finger of blame is not so often pointed at the hill farmers, but there is still hope that the government can ‘do something’. What is striking in all accounts, at the time and subsequently, is that any flood which may cross the international border is in fact two floods, from a media point of view, and from the point of view of the political-administrative response. The 2000 flood in West Bengal that wiped out the assets of 20 million rural people also went into Bangladesh, and there did the same to a further 4 million. None of this was ever reported in India. Only from point of view of blame is a flood international – the downstream areas blaming the upstream for having released the water (Chapman and Rudra 2007). Surveyors in the past liked static landscapes. The extent to which rivers moved in Assam and Bengal was a source of astonishment and dismay, as, every season, maps of river courses became out of date. But new ‘survey’ methods can be based on satellite observation, and it is often possible (not always possible – because of cloud cover) to take snap-shots of floods, and map them. WATER RESOURCES: POWER In theory, the rivers draining the Himalayan front in Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan have a huge hydroelectric potential. The colossal monsoon discharge flows through mountain valleys which are deep, and which have narrow dammable gorges. India’s (and Bhutan’s) part of the Brahmaputra basin is said to have 45 per cent of the country’s total hydroelectric potential. The proponents of development see in these dams the possibilities for flood control, power, and enhanced low season flow, meaning enhanced dry-season irrigation potential. The opponents of the proposed dams see disaster and risk. Two of the three biggest earthquakes known to mankind since good instrumental records began occurred in Assam in Bengal/Assam 1897 and 1950,4 changing the configuration of the region, and causing major river shifts and enhanced silt loads. Engineers claim they know how to build dams to withstand shocks of this magnitude: but the only proof is to build one and see it survive such

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Table 1

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Indian hydroelectric potential

Basin/Rivers

Probable installed capacity (MW)

Indus basin Ganga basin Central Indian river system Western-flowing rivers of southern India Eastern-flowing rivers of southern India Brahmaputra basin Total

33,832 20,711 4,152 9,430 14,511 66,065 148,701

Source: www.nhpcindia.com/English/Scripts/Hydro_Scenario.aspx.

a shock. So far those of the western Himalayas (Tarbela, Mangla [Pakistan]; Bhakra, Pong, Tehri [India]) have survived, but they are already suffering from much higher rates of siltation than forecast, meaning that their longevity and profitability are greatly reduced. In the case of the north-east ‘on the Edge of the World’ there are also many unique biomes to be considered – no one has any real measure of the potential loss of biodiversity. THE NEW SECURITY AGENDA AND THE POSSIBILITIES OF COLLECTIVE ACTION On what issues could collective action improve the development prospects of the north-east? Let us start with security. Old security is about conventional armed forces and international alliances, guaranteeing the survival of the sovereign state. ‘New security’5 is more relevant in the north-east: the ‘new’ label applies to issues which go beyond the confines of individual states, which may cross border, which are not necessarily state-related, which may be based on networks of actors, and which may include non-state actors or phenomena. Illegal migration, insurgency, trade in narcotics and arms, floods and transport networks are simultaneously regional yet international, with a hierarchy of interested actors, from the migrants, through frontier forces, to local governments and national governments, and regional and international companies. The very porosity of borders in the region suggests that national perspectives have to be abandoned. And the porosity is in places caused by the movement of the rivers. The Ganges has migrated on the Bangladesh Indian border, so that the ‘border’, demarcated in geographical coordinates, that has to be manned by Indian forces, is now a ferry crossing and half-a-day’s march away, on the chawr lands to the north. At the moment, India and China look at their portions of the Brahmaputra basin as if these segments, disconnected from each other, are not just extensions of national territory, but national assets to be developed for the greater national territory. From one perspective, this could seem

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clearly absurd: the ‘assets’ are within one river system, and if there is to be development, it should be collectively assessed within the basin. To develop national parts for national purposes will be hugely expensive, hugely damaging to other parts, and potentially very risky. A link canal in Indian Bengal from the Brahmaputra to the Ganges at some stage will fail, wreaking havoc in India and in Bangladesh. (The 2008 failure of the Kosi embankments is a small-scale example.) Dams in Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh might reduce siltation in the delta (there is huge uncertainty in this) which would affect the response to sea-level change in Bangladesh. The diversion of the Tsangpo to the Yellow River would probably allow saline bores even further upstream in Bangladesh in the low season. From another perspective, it is not so absurd for each state to go it alone. No one has the slightest chance of getting the data to ‘know’ the whole region hydrologically or ecologically, and hence no way of having basinwide plans of optimisation and benefits sharing. Better that each riparian gets on with doing what it can in smaller projects, with local benefits, leaving subsequent piece-meal accommodation to later. To draw a historical parallel, this is exactly how the huge schemes of the Punjab and Indus valley developed – incrementally over time – from the first small barrage to basin transfer and large dams. THE APPLICATION OF THEORY This north-east is clearly a region with multitudinous political and environmental problems, perhaps best addressed by collective action at a great variety of scales, because the region is topographically and hydrologically coherent. However, it is politically incoherent, at international and national scales. In India, a Brahmaputra Board has been established, to plan for just about everything in the Indian course of the river – flood control, bank erosion, drainage, irrigation, dams and power, and navigation. Perhaps the best steps in confidence building and cooperation could be achieved by going international at this level. What would happen if the Board were expanded to include, in the first instance, Bangladesh? Of course, it is certain that the Brahmaputra–Ganges link-canal would become an issue, but it is also probable that in giving ground on that, India might find compensating gains elsewhere, in transit rights, or in controlling international migration. In other words, where simultaneous games can be played, the losses in one can be compensated for by gains in others. If we examine the tasks of the board in more detail, the scenario is less rosy. A prime condition for collective action is that at least there is a pool of common information and knowledge to which negotiators can turn. In a paper on predicting floods on the Brahmaputra, Pervez, Artan and Shrestha (2008) state bluntly: ‘due to the absence of adequate ground-

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based measurement stations for accumulating climatic and discharge records, along with the lack of inter-governmental regional cooperation, it is often not possible to carry out traditional flood forecasting and monitoring system to monitor the floods.’ Little is known, and what is known is not shared. In such a situation, if Board members play a national hand, then each ‘side’ can inflate their own costs and deflate their benefits, based on necessary but arbitrarily assumed parameters, and no conclusion is likely. CONCLUSIONS The north-east of south Asia is a large region defined by a river basin, although one with the peculiar characteristic that it has an upper basin seemingly unrelated to the lower basin; that is, unrelated but for the linking discharge in the world’s deepest and most concealed gorge. Chinese plans to divert water within Tibet have to be considered seriously, but their impact on Assam and Bengal would be most significant in the low season. India’s Seven Sisters comprise one the most diverse multicultural landscapes on Earth – diverse in language, in religion, in levels of development, and even in degrees of government legitimacy. There is no deep history that unites the region with India. By contrast, Bengal has deep history, as itself and as part of Indian empires, a uniform language and something of a uniform culture: it is only religion that, by a quirk of history, has led half of the delta to sovereign political status, as Bangladesh. Thus there are multiple players in this one river basin, of all sorts of hierarchical levels and persuasions. There are states and regions within sovereign states, and ethnic groups and tribes within those, and spreading over the borders. There are cities and city dwellers, and villages and rural dwellers. China is upstream from India, India from Bangladesh. But Bangladesh still has some positional cards to play: it blocks Indian navigation upstream to Assam, and Indian transit rights to Tripura and Manipur. India and China pride themselves on their autonomy, and are regional hegemons. Bangladesh has had to contend with multiple international agencies ‘supporting’ its development and emergent nationhood. The countries and states have to contend with the goods and the bads of the Brahmaputra, when few people, even within each polity, can agree on what are the goods, and what are the bads. Objective data sets about the basic resource are partial, scarce, unreliable, and held in secret. The costs of intervention to control the rivers are huge: the benefits long term and highly risky – perhaps even disbenefits. Since China and India are big, and are rivals, there has always been an incentive for direct or indirect support for insurgency – Nagas against India, or Tibetans against China. Theory seems to say that there is no hope for collective action: but perhaps there is one route that offers hope to

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kick-start the process – simply thinking, collectively, about the river basin as a whole. That is what this region is. NOTES 1 2 3 4 5

In this the historian Irfan Habib has achieved something akin to Clifford Darby’s work in the UK to turn the Domesday book of eleventh-century England into maps. The Chinese dispute this, claiming to have filmed the Hidden Falls from a helicopter ten years earlier. This refers to India’s north-east. In the sector west of Nepal the Chinese did not withdraw from Aksai Chin. The 2004 earthquake in Aceh, Indonesia, that caused the Boxing Day tsunami was simply further south down the same line of tectonic plate collision. The United Nations Development Programme in 1997 outlined the seven areas of new security: economic, nutritional, health, environment, personal, community and political. Ultimately much of this has to do with basic human rights and the security of individuals rather than states.

REFERENCES Barrow, I. J. 2003. Making History, Drawing Territory: Mapping British India, c.1756–1905. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Bartholomew, J.G. (ed.). 1912. The Citizen’s Atlas of the World. Edinburgh: The Edinburgh Geographical Institute. Baruah, S. 2005. Durable Disorder: Understanding the Politics of Northeast India. Delhi: Oxford University Press. BBC History. 2010. www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/speke_john_hanning. shtml (accessed October 2009). BBC News. 2000. news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/726412.stm (accessed October 2009). Bernstein, H.T. 1960. Steamboats on the Ganges. Orient Longman: Calcutta. Bhaumik, S. 2007. Insurgencies in India's Northeast: Conflict, Co-option and Change. Working papers, No. 10. East–West centre: Washington DC. Bora, D. 1942. A Short Sketch of the Northeast Frontier Policy of the Great Mughals, Journal of Assam Research Society 9/3–4: 78–84. Chapman, G.P. 2009. The Geopolitics of South Asia (third edition). London: Ashgate. Chapman, G.P. and K. Rudra. 2007. Water as Foe, Water as Friend: Lessons from Bengal’s Millennium Flood, Journal of South Asian Development 2/1: 19–49. Cosh, J.M. 1837. Topography of Assam. G.H. Huttmann, Military Orphan Press: Calcutta. Cotton, A. 1867. On a Communication between India and China by the Line of the Burhampooter and Yang-tsze, Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London 37: 231–9. Coupland, R. 1943. Report on the Constitutional Problem in India, London, Pt I The Indian Problem 1833–1935. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Dutta, A.K. 2001. The Brahmaputra. New Delhi: National Book Trust.

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Edney, M.H. 1997. Mapping and Empire: The Geographical Construction of British India, 1765–1843. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Gait, E. 1905, 1926. A History of Assam. Calcutta: Thacker Spink and Co. Goswami, D.C. 2008. Managing the Wealth and Woes of the River Brahmaputra, Ishani 2/4. www.indianfolklore.org/journals/index.php/ishani/article/view/407/ 351 (accessed April 2009). Hazarika, S. 2004. Land, Conflict, Identity in India’s Northeast: Negotiating the Future. Futures 36: 771–80. Imperial Gazetteer of India, The (1909, revised 1931) Atlas IGI Vol. 26. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Indian Statutory Commission. 1930. Report (known as The Simon Commission Report). London: HMSO. Keay, J. 2000. The Great Arc: The Dramatic Tale of How India Was Mapped and Everest Was Named. New York: HarperCollins. Kumar, D. 1995. Science and the Raj, 1857–1905. New York: Oxford University Press. Landmann, G. 1840. A Universal Gazetteer or Geographical Dictionary Founded on the Works of Brookes and Walker. London. Mackenzie, A. 1884. History of the Relations of the Government with the Hill Tribes of the North-East Frontier of Bengal. Calcutta: Home Department Press. Maxwell, N. 1970. India’s China War. London: Cape. McElroy, D. 2000. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/1371345/ China-planning-nuclear-blasts-to-build-giant-hydro-project.html. Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region & North Eastern Council. 2008. Northeastern Region Vision 2020 (available as pdf at http://mdoner.gov.in/ writereaddata/newsimages/final6963338914.pdf). Pervez, S., Artan, G. and Shrestha, M. 2008. Stream Flow Simulation from Remotely Sensed data: Brahmaputra River, paper presented to American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting, 2008. Prendergast, W.H. 1944. A Sleepy Tea and Jute Railway, The Journal of the Assam Research Society 11/1–2: 11–31. Rennell, J. 1780, 1781. A Bengal Atlas: Containing Maps of the Theatre of War and Commerce on That Side of Hindoostan Compiled from the Original Surveys and Published by Order of the Honourable the Court of Directors for the Affairs of the East India Company Bbb. London: James Rennell. 7p., 8 folded leaves of plates: maps; 28cm. Rongmuti, D.S. 1933. A Traditional Account of the Garos, The Journal of the Assam Research Society 1/2: 54–60. Rose, L.E. and Fisher, M.W. 1967. The North-East Frontier Agency of India, Office of External Research, Department of State Publication 8288, Near and Middle Eastern Series 76. Washington, DC: Department of State. Rudra, K. 2006. Shifting of the Ganga and Land Erosion in West Bengal: A Socio-ecological Viewpoint. Centre for Development and Environment Policy, Occasional Paper 8. Indian Institute of Management: Calcutta. Rustomji, N. 1983. Imperilled Frontiers: India’s North-Eastern Borderlands. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Tilman, H.W. 1939. Peaks of the Assam Himalaya, The Geographical Journal 94/5: 402–4. Ward, F.K. 1930. Plant Hunting on the Edge of the World. London: Victor Gollancz.

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16 From Damming Rivers to Linking Waters: Is this the Beginning of the End of Supply-Side Hydrology in India? Rohan D’Souza

INTRODUCTION Increasingly, in the twilight years of the British Empire’s presence in India, Bengal’s rivers were declared to be an indisputable ‘water problem’. For many in the colonial government, the delta’s fluvial arms were too temperamental and snaked their way across the capacious flood plains only to ‘wastefully’ empty ‘millions of tons’ of their watery burden into the Bay of Bengal. Usually a swollen rage during the monsoon and an irrelevant trickle in winter, such hydrographic quirks, it was authoritatively held, regularly depressed and enfeebled the Bengal peasant. Some time in December of 1945, R.G. Casey, then governor of Bengal, in a radio broadcast argued for a definitive response to this perplexing hydrology: the water problem of Bengal necessitate[s] our so handling [of] the great rivers that their flow is equalised and controlled as between summer and winter in order that they may provide an adequate and balanced output … . This would avoid the disastrous flooding in the monsoon and would cure the dry or stagnant state of many of our rivers in the winter. (Casey 1945)

The governor’s emphatic suggestions for getting a ‘balanced output’ from the Bengal rivers was not exceptional for its time. Pursuing total river control through multipurpose river valley development (MPRVD), more so in the 1940s, enjoyed a near overwhelming acceptance across the ideological spectrum (D’Souza 2008). Spurred on by the ‘triumph’ of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) model, large-scale hydraulic manipulation, especially in soon to be decolonising countries, increasingly fired social, economic and engineering imaginations.1 Placed in a contemporary context, however, the governor’s broadcast stands out for another significance. Notably, the challenge of equalising, controlling and balancing river flows, which captures in a single frame, as I

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will argue in this paper, the apogee and limits of the supply-side hydraulic paradigm. As an ideological and material force, supply-side hydrology was choppily assembled through the course of the nineteenth century in India before maturing and achieving dominance in the early decades of the twentieth.2 Simply put, in the words of some of its enthusiasts, it refers to a strategy wherein the need for ‘an additional quantity of water’ is met by increasing ‘the available supply of water through new development projects’ (Biswas and Embed: 351). This disarmingly matter-of-fact definition, however, is underpinned by a strong belief that water-use is neither shaped in a historical/cultural context nor does it possess ecological qualities. The conceptual understanding of water, in such an ideological framing, is thereby simplified as being one of a pure unmediated volume, which then as mere quantity can, through technological fixes, be niftily hefted across ecological zones or piped across distances. Small wonder that hydraulic manipulation in the modern era has been often, if not always, described as narratives about the human quest to dominate flows or voiced in the metaphor of getting deserts to bloom. The supply-side hydraulic paradigm, by deeply drawing upon the modern legacy of emptying water of its cultural and ecological qualities, has tended to develop in four specific directions: 1. technical expertise as civil engineers (Cosgrove and Petts 1990; Shallat 1994); 2. perfecting skills as quantitative hydrologists (Biswas 1970); 3. carrying out high-modernist social planning agendas (Scott 2006); and 4. assembling giant centralised national water bureaucracies (Molle et al 2009). Crafted and deployed in concert, these knowledges helped harness water through a range of modern hydraulic infrastructures such as barrages, weirs, large dams, groundwater mining technologies, storage reservoirs and canalisation. Despite the triumphant conquest of flows, supply-side interventions have been dogged by innumerable complications, sharply expressed in the form of disagreements, disputes and outright conflict. In a recent compilation on water conflicts in India – interestingly titled a ‘“Million Revolts” in the making’ – it was noted with considerable alarm that clashes over water were ‘percolating’ to every level of society and were now erupting as a relentless series of interconnected confrontations over issues of allocation, equity, quality, access, ecological impacts, trans-border and inter-states quarrels and various micro-level antagonisms (Gujja et al. 2006: 570). Added to which has been the considerable political and social attrition generated around large dams, MPRVD schemes and alarms against interbasin water transfers (IBWT). Forced to grapple with both the growing scale and exasperating nature of many of these challenges, water planners, in recent years, have begun to press for a number of new arrangements. These

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‘solutions’ have been primarily aimed at advocating managerial and technical interventions, with an emphasis on evolving ‘resilient’ bargaining and efficiency-sharing frameworks. In the case of inter-basin water-sharing disputes, for example, there has been a reinforcing of attempts to further empower institutional mechanisms such as water tribunals, independent commissions and river basin authorities, even though many such efforts have not necessarily yielded desired outcomes (Richards and Nirvikar 2002; Hill 2008). On the other hand, for the many often intractable dilemmas of access, rights and distribution brought on by surface or canal irrigation schemes, an entirely new wave of what has been termed demand-based strategies have been advocated. Such management interventions include a number of measures aimed at cutting state subsidies on canal maintenance and operation costs, getting irrigators to accept ‘full cost-recovery’ principles and forming cultivators into irrigation associations to run the network through various types of public–private partnership models (Sivakoti et al. 2005). Lastly, on the political and social challenges that have engulfed large dam construction there has been a gradual, though uneven, momentum toward developing relatively more informed responses to ascertain project-related ecological consequences through environmental impact assessment (EIA) exercises and even the far more intractable challenges of community displacement has been sought to be moderated by compensation and rehabilitation packages.3 In all, supply-side hydrology enthusiasts have sought to tweak and recalibrate many aspects of their water-management paradigm, without fundamentally upsetting the basic assumptions or the status quo on manipulating and moving water as unmediated volumes. While this seemingly reflexive turn toward demand-side management and the adoption of different sensibilities toward technology marks a shift from previous perceptions about water management, the supply-side paradigm has, however, been unable to convincingly resolve several of its severe contradictions. In particular, its crises as a paradigm, in post-colonial India, have been made most pronounced in the realm of flood control. The recurrence of inundation and even the heightening of flood losses have all but outwitted the many sustained efforts of water managers, engineering establishments and hydrocracies. In great measure these crises have been aggravated, as I will argue, not only by the fact that floods as a phenomenon have been conceptualised in a flawed manner within the supply-side hydraulic paradigm, but by the fact that the latter can no longer credibly sustain its familiar arguments for comprehensively ‘controlling’ the latter through embankments, MPRVD, large dams or IBWT. Put differently, supply-side hydrology in its failure to engage with water as a historical quantity and flows as possessing ecological qualities has reached a conceptual dead end. Thus, the repeated inability to either contain or attenuate floods and flood damage has decisively dented the hubristic view

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that nature as unmediated volumes can be bent, controlled, regulated, manipulated or dominated by a collection of hydraulic artefacts assembled in reinforced concrete and steel. To explain this call for a new hydraulic imagination in dealing with the challenge of floods in India one would first, however, need to recover a sense of history and ecology. THE IMPORTANCE OF HISTORY: RECASTING THE IDEA OF FLOODS AND DRAINAGE Recent scholarship on South Asian environmental history has begun to suggest that much of the Indian subcontinent’s flood and deltaic plains were organised by communities as flood-dependent agrarian regimes rather than being treated as flood-vulnerable landscapes (Mishra 2000; D’Souza 2006a; Weil 2006; P. Singh 2008). In fact, as early as the late 1930s, the celebrated British engineer William Willcocks delivered a series of essays in which he claimed to have uncovered a long history of ‘inundation irrigation’ in the Bengal delta. According to him, the muddy crest waters of the annual inundations were leached by cultivators through an intricate system of channels. These silt-laden waters of the swollen rivers, furthermore, carried fish eggs. While the eggs spawned into fish, who then proceeded to voraciously devour mosquito larvae, the organic silt helped nourish and fertilise soils. Besides, the continuous deposition of sediment in time built up the delta and raised the land above the level of the river beds (Addams Williams 1931; Willcocks 1984). By the middle of the nineteenth century, however, colonial rule in a bid to consolidate its administrative and economic imperatives in the region began to implement comprehensive strategies for flood control. Efforts were mainly directed at constructing systematic embankment lines that were intended to hem in and contain the rivers within the latter’s main channels, and central to these technical arrangements was the desire to secure land as a revenue-paying commodity (D’Souza 2006a: 97–125). In addition, they also constructed a large number of roads, railway lines and bridges, which ended up interrupting drainage flows (Iqbal 2007). While in Bengal and Bihar, for example, most of the natural drainage lines dropped from north to south, the roads and railways tracks were constructed across them, running east to west (P. Singh 2003). Colonial administrators and engineers have, in fact, left a sizable number of observations on how intricately organised village-level drainage systems were. The Epidemic Commission of 1864, to quote an example, while investigating the causes of malaria in Bengal recorded that: The drainage of all villages … in lower Bengal is effected by the water first running into the nearest paddy-fields lying in the direction of their slope, thence it collects in the bheels [lakes, ponds] from which it rushes through

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khals [channels] into larger streams. Which again communicate with navigable rivers. (Noted in the Report of the Drainage Committee 1907: 20–1)

A somewhat similar description on drainage is also available for villages in the command area of the Sone canal in South Bihar: the village aharas [tanks] … are made so as to intercept the greatest portion of it [drainage] near the south and west boundaries of the villages; the tal or reservoir being above the ahara, and the putsar (irrigated rice land) below it … The water thus flows from and to ahara to ahara and from putsar to ahara or tal, till excess water is absorbed, or finds its way into the drainage nullas [drains] of the district. (Report of the Committee 1888: 18)

Clearly, from even these two brief observations, one can get a sense of how intricate and yet fragile connections were established and sustained between flows and a plethora of water bodies. By the beginning of the twentieth century, however, such natural drainage networks survived only in pockets, as vast parts of eastern India had been transformed into a ‘succession of water logged morasses’ in which ‘dismal swamps breeding malaria’ were debilitating populations and eroding soil fertility. In time, drainage congestion increased the virulence of flood pulses that were aggravated, in great measure, by the rapidly deteriorating embankment system as well. Thus, by reading against the grain of the historical record on drainage and flood events in nineteenth-century India, one could, in contrast, question the now conventional understanding that all floods were simply ‘natural calamities’ brought on by river overflow. Rather, as suggested above, much of what are considered to be irremediably flood-prone regions in India are actually greatly altered landscapes with drainage, in particular, being considerably distorted by the layering of innumerable physical obstructions: imperatives for transport and for securing the primacy of land as a source of revenue. In effect, one could argue that by the early decades of the twentieth century several areas in deltaic India were now open to a substantial degree of ‘un-natural flooding’; that is, overflows and currents that were generated by disturbed and altered flows. However, just as embankments were beginning to be doubted for their efficacy by the mid-1930s, the idea that a more comprehensive form of river control could be achieved through MPRVD started gaining ground in colonial India. This involved the systematic damming of rivers through a series of reservoirs that were imbricated along the main stem and tributaries. The belief was that flows could now be stored and therefore released or manipulated and moderated according to human will. The quest for the total control of nature, not surprisingly, found a ready

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audience among engineers, planners and governments (D’Souza 2006a: 182–214; Klingensmith 2007). In 1943, the Damodar river in eastern India – with a channel that had earlier been greatly embanked – had so violently flooded its surrounding plains that the event is often considered to have been crucial in spurring the colonial administration to initiate plans for constructing MRPVDs, as the only viable ‘solution’ to the region’s flood problem. Typically, in the mood of the times, in the neighbouring district of Orissa, A.N. Khosla (then Chief Engineer of the CWINC, 1945–53) grandly declared that the Hirakud dam, across the Mahanadi river, would ‘banish forever’ floods in the Orissa delta.4 The Hirakud dam, in fact, even though begun in the cusp period – announcing the end of colonial rule and India’s emergence as an independent country – acquired the distinction of being the first floodcontrol reservoir for the period. The systematic planning for flood management, immediately following India’s independence in 1947, was initiated with the launching of the National Programme of Flood Management on September 1954. The 1954 flood control policy (FCP) was, in fact, among the first in terms of an official government initiative on the subject.5 The FCP essentially reiterated, with renewed emphasis, the colonial response to recurring inundation, involving, in the main, treating floods as calamitous events which needed to be controlled through an overt reliance on structural engineering methods. Accordingly, for short-term measures, embankments were to be built to hem in rivers,6 while for the long term the government intended to contain flood flows in storage reservoirs of large dams or with MPRVD programmes.7 Dinesh Mishra observes that such was the optimism for controlling floods by these structural measures that the then Minister for Planning, Irrigation, and Power, Gulzari Lal Nanda believed that ‘floods could be effectively controlled in 14 to 15 years to come starting from 1954’ (Mishra 2008: 37). The flood-prone area in India, from being calculated as capable of affecting 19 million hectares in 1953, is now considered to be anywhere between 40 and 60 million hectares. That is, approximately between onesixth to one-eighth of the total land area is classified as being flood vulnerable.8 The average area annually affected by floods has similarly registered an increase from being calculated at 2,290,000 ha in 1953 to now standing at 7,650,000 ha in 1997 (Ahuja 1997). In effect, there did not follow any significant decrease in the level of flood vulnerability nor an attenuation in the financial damage caused by the annual rampaging of flood torrents: this despite the fact that structural methods had been sought to be complemented by a range of what came to be termed as non-structural methods as well. Hence, besides storage reservoirs, flood embankments, drainage channels, anti-erosion works, channel improvements, detention basins, the non-structural measures comprised flood forecasting, flood plain zoning, flood proofing and disaster preparedness.9 The impossibility

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of comprehensively addressing the challenge of flood and flood vulnerability within the technical armature of supply-side hydrology was in fact crucial to spurring the conceptual elaboration for IBWT in India, popularly referred to as the inter-linking river scheme (ILR). In essence, the origins for the idea of the ILR appears to have drawn deeply from Governor R.G. Casey’s earlier formula to harness Bengal’s river potential by balancing, equalising and controlling flows. According to one account, the context for the ILR was first set by a seemingly innocuous observation in the Planning Commission’s Ninth Five-Year Plan document, which noted that the average Indian’s access to water was highly variable, with an availability of close to 18,470 m3 in the Brahmaputra basin but, in contrast, a mere 383 m3 in the peninsula rivers. When the problem was presented as a ‘hydraulic anomaly’, it quickly provoked several politicians from south India to approach the Supreme court in 2000, seeking prompt action from the government (A.K. Singh 2003: 1). The Apex court in October–November of 2002 further directed the Indian government not only to carry out plans to link rivers but to do so within ten years. Subsequent to the court rulings, the ILR quickly achieved political traction and was presented as a technical problem that needed to be resolved as an issue of hydraulic justice. Put differently, nature’s natural imbalance, it was held, could be righted through water transfers, diversions and storage reservoirs. The claim for the ILR, moreover, was soon given its own history by treating it as part of an unrealised technical quest, voiced as early as the nineteenth century. In the late 1850s, Colonel Arthur Cotton, a colonial engineer, had drawn up a plan to connect the Indian subcontinent through a grid of navigation and irrigation canals. A peninsula system, for him, could link Karachi in the north-west to Madras in the south via Kanpur, Calcutta and Cuttack, with additional lines to Poona and the west coast (Headrick 1988: 20). In the 19