Watery pasts and arid futures?

Watery pasts and arid futures?

Confronted with advance effects of climate change, Africa’s watery pasts may become a thing of the past as aridity continues to take the centre stage in our environments. Many world economies that directly rely on land and water such as pastoralism and crop agriculture are undergoing profound stress, which has led to interventions from reactive governments, individuals and indigenous communities. Their interventions have sought to introduce new means of livelihoods, land use change, resettlements, and various forms of water conservation through better storage, environmental management aimed at protection of water towers and forest cover, and new regulatory frameworks, all of which have the potential to change past means of water governance in many traditional societies.  Based on these changes, new claims of land parcels and water sources have led to conflicts and unresolved legal cases. Under this theme, therefore, we are keen to attract papers on the following topics:

  • Water governance in traditional societies

Here we would expect discussion of successful and/or unsuccessful case studies from different regions of Africa

  • Past and present water availability and access and emergence of historical settlements

Here we would expect papers addressing historical issues of water availability and access, for example as documented for historical and archaeological sites

  • Current trends in water management

Case studies of current successful and failed water management interventions by state actors, NGOs, river/lake basin authorities, city planners etc. during the colonial and post-colonial eras

  • Indicators and response to climate change in traditional societies

Different traditional societies had ways of predicting weather change and prolonged periods of droughts. Papers here would present cases studies on how these communities ‘weathered’ environmental change

  • Current and recent water crises (e.g. as in Cape Town recently),

Papers would provide reviews of such crises and how communities are (or are not) dealing with them

  • Water related conflicts and various approaches to conflict resolution
  • Collaborative projects in water management

Presentation of collaborative initiatives, especially those involving co-design and co-production of knowledge between academic and non-academic partners

Organisers: Freda Nkirote M’Mbogori (freda.nkirote@biea.ac.uk) and Paul Jeremy Lane (pjl29@hermes.cam.ac.uk)