Research Report

Research Report No.9 Water Resource Management and its Interaction with Political Paradigms

Two Comparative Cases in Dianchi Lake and the Three Parallel Rivers Region

Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province in southwestern China, has seen rapid growth over the last three decades, based on its proximity to Southeast and South Asia. However, this rapid growth has come at a price, with the old city torn down to make way for a modern infrastructure and with its local environment compromised.

One of the key impacts of this growth has been the continuing decline of its key water source – Dianchi Lake – which is situated just to the south of the city.

In response to the dumping of untreated industrial and household waste into the lake over many years, the local government has recently turned to the use of a humble plant, the water hyacinth, to solve its pollution woes.

Based on ethnographic field work and analysis, and taking an in-depth look at the political language used regarding the lake and its pollution, the author here assesses the government’s response to the crisis, concluding that all the solutions offered, including its use of the water hyacinth, are part of a textual governance process in which the language used and solutions proposed are being continually recycled – giving the appearance of progress, when, in fact, very little progress is being made.

Publication date : July 2013
Price : 180 Baht / 7 US$