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Pump Keeps on Running : On the Emergence of Water Management Institutions Between State Decentralization

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Based on the author’s fieldwork in the semi-arid northern Kunene region of Namibia, this doctoral dissertation examines how the local Otjiherero-speaking pastoralists governed water usage after the decentralization reform of the rural water sector, focusing on the area surrounding the village of Okangwati and the community of Ombaka. It describes which of the Namibian state’s guidelines for communal water management were adopted by the local people and why; the implications of the local practices concerning water management for the people, the resource, and the water supply; whether Elinor Ostrom’s common-pool resources approach or Frances Cleaver’s socio-historical approach can better explain how institutions of water management are developed and implemented at the local level in the context of the water decentralization reform; and to what extent the design principles of Ostrom explain why the water supply in the site is maintained. It outlines the general characteristics of the area, the policies and blueprints implemented by the Namibian state at the local level for the execution of water decentralization reform, and impacts of the reform; the fieldwork process, methodology, and methods; water management in the area; the ethnographic context of the community; the history of water management in Ombaka; the introduction and practical implementation of community-based management there; why local users do not adopt verbatim the state’s blueprints for communal water management, and implications of local water management practices; and analysis in terms of the common-pool theory or social-historical approaches and the design principles. Distributed in the US by ISBS. Annotation ©2017 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

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