A sociopolitical analysis of drinking water governance in French Polynesia: The case of the Tuamotu Archipelago

Klervi Fustec
Independent researcher, France; klervi.fustec@gmail.com

ABSTRACT: The assertion that only a small percentage of the French Polynesian population has access to drinking water is found in press reports and in reports by the French Senate and the French Polynesian Centre for Hygiene and Public Health, reports that were prepared in the context of implementing a new water law. In reality, however, inhabitants do have access to drinking water. How can we explain this discrepancy? This article analyses the sociopolitical dimensions of multilevel formal water governance in Tuamotu, one of the five French Polynesian archipelagos. Tuamotu's inhabitants use household rainwater harvesting cisterns for their drinking water provision. The analysis demonstrates that the current formal governance system is incapable of generating locally relevant and specific policies, and continues to struggle with inappropriate policy ideas derived from French Polynesia's experience as a French State.

KEYWORDS: Drinking water, cisterns, multilevel formal governance, French Polynesia, Tuamotu