The Application of Social Theories to Water Conflict: the Cases of Gujarat and McCloud




Davidson, Alexandra

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Conflicts over water resources are increasing domestically and internationally, and in a rapidly developing world there is little evidence this trend will reverse itself. The field of conflict resolution over natural resources as more than a subset of conflict over development is also growing. Two conflicts were chosen for study: the community of McCloud, California’s indecision over whether to allow a water bottling plant to be sited in their community, and the opposition that developed over the State of Gujarat’s plans to build a series of dams and irrigation infrastructure in the Narmada River Valley, India. It was hypothesized that an understanding of both conflicts would be increased by parsing the parties at conflict into one of the three approaches to natural resources promulgated in Jennifer Clapp and Peter Dauvergne’s Paths to a Green World. (MIT Press, 2005) It was furthermore hypothesized that were a conflict resolution specialist at work with parties in conflict over a natural resource able to place the parties into the three categories promulgated, that they would gain insight valuable to their work and be better able to help the parties resolve their conflict. Analyzing literature from books, academic articles, newspapers, other print media, and websites was the main research methodology employed. The research demonstrated that in the two conflicts addressed, the three categories of approach towards environmental change could be applied successfully to the parties in conflict. The research further suggests that the intersections between the three approaches may be where the greatest potential for conflict resolution lies.



Water, McCloud, California, Narmada River, Conflict, Environmental conflict, Distributive conflict