The aim of the study is to understand the roots of water conflicts in Peru, despite the fact that the country has established an ‘Integrated Water Resource Governance’ in 2010, in which the state, private sector as well as communities participate in order to manage common-pool resources(CPRs). In particular, it analyses one prominent case of water conflict in the Peruvian northern Andes, associated with large-scale mineral extraction. By doing this, the study attempts to examine the causes of mining-related water conflicts and thus uncover limitations of Integrated Water Resource Governance.
In the Peruvian Andes, local peasants(campesinos) have maintained a communal management tradition of common-pool resources(CPRs) such as land and water. This is significant not only because of the importance of those resources for their livelihoods, but also of their associated social organisations as well as identity. However, this socio-ecological relationship has undergone a dramatic transformation with the arrival of the multinational mining company and its large-scale open-pit mineral extraction in the region.
The newly established water governance has efficiency, equity and sustainability as de jure aims, but it resulted in what so-called ‘accumulation by dispossession’ indeed. As a result, local peasant communities organised massive demonstrations and demanded their commons back.
By examining the nature of water conflicts and limitations of water governance in Peru, the study attempts to get engaged in debates on ‘neoliberalising nature’ after the late twentieth century.