Water justice: Exploring the social dimensions of new irrigation technologies in northern Victoria, Australia

Collett, B and Henry, N 2014, 'Water justice: Exploring the social dimensions of new irrigation technologies in northern Victoria, Australia', Water Policy, vol. 16, pp. 155-173.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Water justice: Exploring the social dimensions of new irrigation technologies in northern Victoria, Australia
Author(s) Collett, B
Henry, N
Year 2014
Journal name Water Policy
Volume number 16
Start page 155
End page 173
Total pages 19
Publisher IWA Publishing
Abstract Water resource management is one of the most pressing human and environmental challenges of the 21st century. Technological approaches to improving the management of water feature prominently, with technology positioned as the solution to issues of competing interests and the achievement of water savings. This paper analyses the social dimensions of a regional-level irrigation technology, examining the piloting of Total Channel Control" technology in northern Victoria, Australia, as a case study. Water savings, organisational efficiency, on-demand ordering, occupational health and safety improvements, and many other benefits were anticipated to flow from this 'world first' technology. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and participant observation of an irrigation committee, this paper examines stakeholder accounts regarding piloting of the technology. We argue that in order to achieve justice and fairness in implementing regional irrigation technology, three essential criteria must be met: genuine consultation, participation and negotiation; responsive and respectful dialogue and communication; and mutual information exchange. As society shifts towards greater reliance on technological intervention to solve some of the most pressing dilemmas of the modern era, a more holistic approach focusing on the complexity of human interaction with the technology is vital.
Subject Environmental Politics
Keyword(s) Channel automation
Equity
Fairness
Irrigation modernisation
Social justice
Technology
DOI - identifier 10.2166/wp.2014.102
Copyright notice © IWA Publishing
ISSN 1366-7017
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