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date: 19 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The use and transformation of water is intimately connected to wealth, poverty, and social change. Does the extension of irrigation, for example, allow escape from poverty or does it cause dispossession and deprivation? Can the transformation of water be shaped to increase opportunities for breaking free from deprivation and exclusion? Do infrastructure projects like big dams inevitably uproot and impoverish millions? This chapter employs ideas of income poverty and relational poverty to examine how uses of water are implicated in the making and the breaking of poverty. It considers three pathways of escape—the provision of irrigation, access to safe drinking water, and access to adequate domestic water—and examines two pathways causing descent into poverty. The evaluation suggests that escape can be facilitated and descent discouraged through initiatives to contest water injustice, to advance access to domestic productive water, and to develop anti-deprivation practices for irrigation and infrastructure.

Keywords: water, poverty, water injustice, relational poverty, pathways of escape, irrigation, safe drinking water, domestic water, productive water

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