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Indigenous Water Management

  • By: William James Smith & Nicholas Grenier
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Indigenous water management refers to traditional approaches to accessing, collecting, treating, or distributing water that predate globalized industrial and capital- and energy-intensive methods that have spread primarily from Europe and North America. When referred to in the context of development, these methods are portrayed either as a historical accounting of natural resource management or at times as alternative, or techniques to be employed in support of, methods associated with modernity.

Due in part to their origination at a time when populations, markets, and infrastructure needs were radically different from what is commonly found in the modern era, indigenous water management methods are commonly scaled differently than those associated with modernity. While such methods may have supported a subsistence economy, they at times may not be scaled ...

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