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A conflict over water in water abundant regions: The case of Lake Naivasha in Kenya and Lake Wamala in Uganda

  • Water is used in a way as if it were available infinitely. Droughts, increased rainfall or flooding already lead to water shortages and, thus, deprive entire population groups of the basis of their livelihoods. There is a growing fear that conflicts over water will increase, especially in arid climate zones, because life without water - whether for humans, animals or plants - is not possible. More than 60 % of the African population depend on land and water resources for their livelihoods through pastoralism, fishing and farming. The water levels of rivers and lakes are decreasing. Hence, the rural population which is dependent on land and water move towards water-rich and humid areas. This internal migration increases the pressure on available water resources. Driven by the desire to strengthen the economic development, African governments align their political agendas with the promotion of macro international and national economic projects. This doctoral thesis examines the complex interrelationships between water shortages, governance, vulnerability, adaptive capacity and violent and non-violent conflicts at Lake Naivasha in Kenya and Lake Wamala in Uganda. In order to satisfy the overall complexity, this doctoral thesis combines various theoretical and empirical aspects in which a variety of methods are applied to different geographical regions, across disciplines, and cultural and political boundaries. The investigation reveals that Lake Naivasha is more affected by violent conflicts than Lake Wamala. Reasons for this include population growth, historically grown ethnic conflicts, corruption and the preferential treatment of national and international economic actors. The most common conflict response tools are raiding and the blockage of water access. However, deathly encounters, destruction of property and cattle slaughtering are increasingly used to gain access to water and land. The insufficient implementation of the political system and the governments’ prioritization to foster economic development results, on the one hand, in the commercialization of water resources and increases, on the other hand, non-violent conflict between national and sub-national political actors. While corruption, economic favours and patronage defuse this conflict, resource access becomes more difficult for the local population. Resulting thereof, a final hypothesis is developed which states that the localization of the political conflict aggravates the water situation for the local population and, thereby, favours violent conflicts over water access and water use in water-rich areas.

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Author:Julia Renner
Referee:Siegmar Schmidt, Janpeter Schilling
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of completion:2021/01/08
Date of publication:2021/01/21
Publishing institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Universitätsbibliothek
Granting institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Fachbereich 6
Date of final exam:2020/12/16
Release Date:2021/01/21
Tag:Lake Naivasha; Lake Wamala; Resource Governance; Vulnerability; Water Management
First page:289 Seiten
Institutes:Fachbereich 6
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht: § 53 UrhG