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The politics of water: a review of hydropolitical frameworks and their application in China

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Academic literature on the politics of water encompasses hydrosocial relations at different scales, the role of technology in hydropolitics, and the various rationalities and discourses behind the governance of water. In this advanced review, we outline the key hydropolitical frameworks, tracing the development of scholarship that examines the relations between power, water, society, and technology. We then synthesize the literature on hydropolitics in China, which boasts both the world's largest dam (by installed capacity) and the world's largest interbasin transfer project. We consider the extent to which different frameworks have been productively applied in a Chinese context, not just to understand big infrastructure, but to question of water pollution, agricultural water use, and water scarcity. In doing so, we find that critical scholarship on hydropolitics in China has a number of significant gaps. These gaps constrain our understanding of the inherent political nature of the many acute water challenges China currently faces and challenges that have impacts well beyond its borders. WIREs Water 2017, 4:e1239. doi: 10.1002/wat2.1239 This article is categorized under: Engineering Water > Planning Water Human Water > Rights to Water Human Water > Water Governance

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Human Water > Water Governance
Human Water > Rights to Water
Engineering Water > Planning Water

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