Defining, Researching and Struggling for Water Justice


Zwarteveen, Margreet Z., and Rutgerd Boelens. 2014. “Defining, Researching and Struggling for Water Justice: Some Conceptual Building Blocks for Research and Action.” Water International 39 (2): 143–58. doi:10.1080/02508060.2014.891168.

Authors: Margreet Z. Zwarteveen, Rutgerd Boelens


This article provides a framework for understanding water problems as problems of justice. Drawing on wider (environmental) justice approaches, informed by interdisciplinary ontologies that define water as simultaneously natural (material) and social, and based on an explicit acceptance of water problems as always contested, the article posits that water justice is embedded and specific to historical and socio-cultural contexts. Water justice includes but transcends questions of distribution to include those of cultural recognition and political participation, and is intimately linked to the integrity of ecosystems. Justice requires the creative building of bridges and alliances across differences.

Keywords: water rights, politics, distribution, recognition, participation

Topics: Class, Economies, Economic Inequality, Gender, Justice, Political Participation, Rights, Human Rights

Year: 2014

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