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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Engineering or Domineering? The Politics of Water Control in Mutambara Irrigation Scheme, Zimbabwe
Author:Manzungu, EmmanuelISNI
Periodical:Zambezia (ISSN 0379-0622)
Notes:biblio. refs., ills.
Geographic terms:Zimbabwe
Southern Africa
Subjects:real property
urban areas
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Mutambara Irrigation Scheme
Water distribution
Social conflict
External link:https://journals.co.za/doi/abs/10.10520/AJA03790622_443
Abstract:Mutambara irrigation scheme in Chimanimani District, a gravity-fed scheme which started in 1912, is widely taken to be the oldest smallholder irrigation scheme in Zimbabwe. Since its start as a missionary-assisted local initiative, a number of changes regarding water control have taken place, resulting from physical and social factors in the scheme and its immediate surroundings, as well as from outside influences. The present article examines the role of both local and nonlocal actors in water control from the beginning of the scheme to the present. Colonial State intervention, under the guise of introducing 'technical improvements', laid the foundation for a crisis in water management. Severe inequalities in water distribution and continued physical deterioration of the scheme through lack of maintenance became even more apparent once the postcolonial State, in a spirit of democracy, withdrew. A monetary donation in the late 1980s, intended to improve the physical infrastructure, in practice provided the final push towards a full-blown crisis. The author argues that power relationships shape the outcome of irrigation projects and that improvement in their performance therefore lies not only in the technico-physical domain, but also in the sociopolitical one. Notes, ref., sum.