In this interview for NWO, the Dutch Research Council, Rutgerd Boelens talks about how the Riverhood and River Commons projects address social and environmental challenges, specifically focusing on water management, and their interconnection with issues of knowledge and power.
“‘Around the globe, water management is riddled with colonial concepts that are dominating other views,’ explains Boelens. ‘One of the most important ideas is that “Society can be engineered”. It is an implicit idea behind lots of scientific research and behind many development interventions that non-Western societies are somehow ‘less civilized’ and that progress can only be achieved there by modernizing systems and breaking with the past.’
Boelens explains that it is typical for these western mission-like projects to use terms such as ‘best practices’ and ‘good governance’. ‘As if there are universal solutions that you can simply copy from one part of the world and paste them onto another part of the world,’ he says. In water management, there are many cases where private and marketable water rights are introduced based on the idea that this is modernization. This means that water can be owned individually and bought and sold.”
See the full article here: “Knowledge that does not undermine anyone”