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Materiality of irrigation and power relations: what is revealed by the appropriation of small reservoirs projects in Turkey. The case of the village of Emiralem (Menemen).

Authors: Selin Le Visage*, University of Paris Nanterre
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Water Resources and Hydrology, Middle East
Keywords: small dams, groundwater, social geography, political geography, water studies
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In 2012, the Turkish State launched a national irrigation development programme called "1000 small reservoirs in 1000 days". This poster looks back at the dynamic processes of appropriation of these reservoirs (gölet) at the local level through the example of Emiralem, a village in the Izmir region whose agricultural economy was based on the exploitation of groundwater tables via individual private boreholes. It shows the interest of studying the materiality of irrigation in order to understand wider political issues. The appropriation of water and space, both material and idéelle (immaterial, mental), is not only claimed during direct negotiations between planners and irrigators, but also through the production of material signs, with the marking of space thanks to the capture of resources and the technical adaptation of objects. On the one hand, the ways of capturing the resource have revealed the local history of irrigation and development projects, and thus the tensions surrounding the conditions of the transfer of resource management from the hydraulic administration to irrigators. On the other hand, the study of the technical adaptations by the irrigators, in particular the different ways of articulating the use of surface water and groundwater, highlighted discrete but strong power relations at the local level.

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