Bolivian social movements have received considerable international attention for their successful antiprivatization protests in recent years. In particular, residents in the cities of Cochabamba and, later, El Alto successfully mobilized to reverse water concessions that prioritized private profit over water access. These protests represent an important first step in developing a more just means of water governance, but they did not help address many of the issues that led to privatization in the first place including increasing water scarcity due to climate change. In this article, we sketch the history of water concessions in Bolivia and the movements born out of the extreme social and economic costs of water privatization. Next, we discuss the ongoing difficulties that social movement actors face in their efforts to reclaim water rights and build municipal water structures based upon the principles of social justice and conservation. Finally, we examine the possibility of collaboration between ex – “water warriors,” largely from urban and periurban areas, and the largely rural activists focused on managing the effects of global warming.
Bolivia's Next Water War: Historicizing the Struggles over Access to Water Resources in the Twenty-First Century
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Nicole Fabricant, Kathryn Hicks; Bolivia's Next Water War: Historicizing the Struggles over Access to Water Resources in the Twenty-First Century. Radical History Review 1 May 2013; 2013 (116): 130–145. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01636545-1965757
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