The gift of water. Social redistribution of water among neighbours in Khartoum

Sebastian Zug
Department of Geosciences, Fribourg University, Fribourg, Switzerland; sebastian.zug@gmx.net

Olivier Graefe
Department of Geosciences, Fribourg University, Fribourg, Switzerland; olivier.graefe@unifr.ch

ABSTRACT: Water gifts are a common strategy to satisfy water needs in the absence of sufficiently performing water networks in Khartoum, but a widely ignored topic in urban political ecology of water. This article questions the exclusive focus of political ecologists on the capitalist waterscape of the city and argues for supplementing the perspective with an in-depth analysis of the neighbourly waterscape, where water gifts are carried out. Through the analysis of interconnected waterscapes on different scales a more holistic understanding of the social construction of water supply in the city can be achieved.The emergence of the gift of water in a city depends on heterogeneity of neighbours’ water access, the cost of the water to be gift, the relationship between donor and recipient, as well as the local social and moral framework. This article uses the example of Khartoum to explore and conceptualize the gift of water in the framework of political ecology.

KEYWORDS: Water gifts, water solidarity, neighbourly waterscape, scale, political ecology of water, moral geography, Khartoum, Sudan