Middle East Studies
English edition  
December  2016
280 pp.
17 illus., 5 maps 
15X23 cm
ISBN 9789774167638
For sale worldwide


Social Capital and Local Water Management in Egypt

Dalia M. Gouda

A groundbreaking study of Nile water management in Egypt

From the 1980s onward, billions of dollars were poured into irrigation improvement programs in Egypt. These aimed at improving local Nile water management through the introduction of more water-efficient technology and by placing management of the improved systems in the hands of local water user associations. The central premise of most of these programs was that the functioning of such associations could rely on the revival of traditional forms of social capital—social networks, norms, and trust—for their success. Social Capital and Local Water Management in Egypt shows how the far-reaching social changes wrought at the village level in Egypt through the twentieth century rendered such a premise implausible at best and invalid at worst. Dalia Gouda examines networks of social relationships and their impact on the exercise of social control and the formation of collective action at the local level and their change over time in four villages in the Delta and Fayoum governorates. Outlining three time frames, pre-1952, 1952–73, and 1973 to the present, and moving between multiple actors—farmers, government officials, and donor agencies—Gouda shows how institutional and technological changes during each period and the social changes that coincided with them yielded mixed successes for the water user associations in respect of water management. Social Capital and Local Water Management in Egypt is essential reading for anyone working in the field of community based natural resource management in Egypt, including policymakers and practitioners, donor agencies, and civil society organizations, as well as anthropologists and sociologists.

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Dalia M. Gouda is a development professional with twenty years' experience, of which more than ten are in Egypt's water sector. She was awarded her PhD from the University of Sheffield in 2013. Her main interests include water resources management, water users organizations, and the impact of development interventions on the socioeconomic aspects of rural communities in Egypt.

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"A much needed addition to the relatively under-researched field of interactions between environment, technology, and culture in Egypt."—François Molle, Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) and International War Management Institute (IWMI)

"This timely book is an important read for all those seeking to understand the complex mix of factors and contexts which determine why some local user associations—in this case Water User Associations in Egypt—do well, while others function poorly."—Gerhard Lichtenthaeler, GIZ Regional Programme

"Gouda does a fine job of challenging the simplistic and often unhelpful assumptions that have underpinned much contemporary 'participatory' development. Drawing on rich empirical data from the Delta and Fayoum, she deploys a sophisticated approach to social capital to show why attempts to reconstitute traditional irrigation organizations in order to improve water management will face major challenges. In the context of increasing water demand, and the uncertainly over water supplies worldwide, this book makes a timely and valuable contribution to the debate about water management across the developing world."—Stephen Connelly, University of Sheffield

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