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Restructuring and rescaling water governance in mining contexts: The co-production of waterscapes in Peru

Jessica Budds
Department of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Reading, UK; j.r.budds@reading.ac.uk
Leonith Hinojosa
Geography Department, The Open University, UK; l.hinojosa-valencia@open.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: The governance of water resources is prominent in both water policy agendas and academic scholarship. Political ecologists have made important advances in reconceptualising the relationship between water and society. Yet while they have stressed both the scalar dimensions and the politicised nature of water governance, analyses of its scalar politics are relatively nascent. In this paper, we consider how the increased demand for water resources by the growing mining industry in Peru reconfigures and rescales water governance. In Peru, the mining industry'€™s thirst for water draws in and reshapes social relations, technologies, institutions, and discourses that operate over varying spatial and temporal scales. We develop the concept of waterscape to examine these multiple ways in which water is co-produced through mining, often beyond the watershed scale. We argue that an examination of waterscapes avoids the limitations of thinking about water in purely material terms, structuring analysis of water issues according to traditional spatial scales and institutional hierarchies, and taking these scales and structures for granted.