New subjects in Ecuadorian water governance

Published on
May 27, 2014

The Water Justice Alliance (Justicia Hídrica) has just launched a new book, written by Jaime Hoogesteger of the Water Resources Management Group. The book is in Spanish, and entitled: Los Nuevos Sujetos del Agua: Organización social y la democratización de la gestión del agua en los Andes ecuatorianos.


The book is based on Jaime Hoogesteger’s PhD dissertation (Movements against the current. Scale and social capital in peasants' struggles for water in the Ecuadorian Highlands), which he defended in August 2013. The book 'Los Nuevos Sujetos del Agua', published in Latin America with Abyayala-Quito and IEP-Lima, examines how in the Ecuadorian Andes the peasant and indigenous water users have developed into new and important actors in water governance. The key of this has been the consolidation of water user based associations, federations and networks.

This book shows how through their organizations, water users can contribute to the democratization of water governance ‘from below’. This participation always takes place in highly disputed fields in which the ‘right’ to participate has to be gained through struggle and contestation.
Jaime Hoogesteger

The book highlights the importance that the creation of networks and alliances has for the capacity of local water users to develop political agency. Through the development of political agency from local to national level water users have been able to book important successes such as the equitable implementation of the law; the national recognition of the human right to water; the constitutional recognition that water can only be managed publicly or by communities; and the creation of several new spaces for water users’ participation. 

For more information on the publications of the alliance, see: