Everyday Water Politics and the Struggle for Alternatives in Cochabamba, Bolivia

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* Article: What does it mean to win? Everyday Water Politics and the Struggle for Alternatives in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Patrick Bresnihan

URL = https://www.academia.edu/17214588/What_does_it_mean_to_win_Everyday_Water_Politics_and_the_Struggle_for_Alternatives_in_Cochabamba_Bolivia

Submitted version to Cortesi, L. & Joy, K. J. (Eds.). Split Waters: Examining Conflicts Related to Water and Their Narration. Forum for Policy Dialogue, India (forthcoming 2016).


"In 2000, a broad alliance of irrigators, campesinos, factory workers, street vendors, urban water committees, neighborhood organizations, students, and middleclass professionals, forced the Bolivian government to cancel the contract it had signed with a consortium of private companies and return the municipal water system of Cochabamba to public control. The story of the citizens of Cochabamba standing up to and defeating the combined forces of an international consortium, the IMF and an entrenched political elite is a modern day story of David versus Goliath (Assies 2003). It is no surprise, therefore, that it is has become one of the touchstones in the ongoing struggle over ownership and control of water resources and infrastructures around the world. But fifteen years have passed since then. What has happened in that time? What does it mean to ‘win’? And what, if anything, does this tell us about the challenges of organizing more just, democratic and ecologically sensitive water systems? "