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Why do many water management projects, begun with the best of intentions, still fail? How is it that large infrastructural water works often encounter opposition? Is it perhaps, among other things, the lack of attention for the cultural context? These and other intriguing questions are dealt with in Water: A Way of Life. The authors, having 20 years of experience on water and sanitation in an international context, have investigated the relationship between water and culture world-wide in order to find new keys to successful and sustainable water management.
Water: A Way of Life is based on extensive research and is intended to form a cultural road towards new sustainable water management practices. "Water: a way of life" takes the reader on a water journey through time and across the world's continents. Along the way it explains the past and present ways in which different cultures around the world, both traditional and modern, view and manage water in response to the distinct environment they inhabit. As beliefs and values are at the heart of any culture, it also highlights the views of the main world religions on water and its use. A better understanding of cultural water beliefs and practices may lead to new concepts for future sustainable water management – from flood management to water supply, sanitation and irrigation management.
Water: A Way of Life will be useful to water professionals exporting knowledge and technologies to foreign countries where the challenge is to create sustainable solutions for water management by taking into account local, cultural factors. It is also intended to encourage world leaders, politicians and decision-makers responsible for water management to use their power, knowledge and influence to really make a change for the benefit of the people they represent. In this way, water can become a source of cooperation rather than a source of conflict.
The authors trust that Water: A Way of Life, about water and culture, intended for a truly international audience, will be a source of inspiration.
1. Introduction to water & culture
2. Water: a source of life
3. Water: a source of inspiration
4. Water: a source of power
5. Water: a source of cooperation or conflict?
6. Water: a source of sustainability
Lida Schelwald-van der Kley has worked as an international environmental consultant for both private companies and government organizations for over 20 years. Since 1994 Lida is managing director of her own consultancy company, Envision-S. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of a Dutch Water Board. Lida is author of several international publications on successful communication between industrial companies and their stakeholders.
Linda Reijerkerk has been working since 1985 in a variety of countries as a cultural anthropologist and international water management consultant with a clear focus on processes and institutional development and management. As Linda noticed an increase in water conflicts, she specialised as a mediator in 1997. She is now Director of the Centre for Conflict Resolution in the Netherlands, specialised in mediation and negotiation training. She is author of several publications on mediation, conflict resolution and culture.