Water for All
chronicles how Bolivians democratized water access, focusing on the Cochabamba region, which is known for acute water scarcity and explosive water protests. Sarah T. Hines examines conflict and compromises over water from the 1870s to the 2010s, showing how communities of water users increased supply and extended distribution through collective labor and social struggle. Analyzing a wide variety of sources, from agrarian reform case records to oral history interviews, Hines investigates how water dispossession in the late nineteenth century and reclaimed water access in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries prompted, shaped, and strengthened popular and indigenous social movements. The struggle for democratic control over water culminated in the successful 2000 Water War, a decisive turning point for Bolivian politics.
This story offers lessons for contemporary resource management and grassroots movements about how humans can build equitable, democratic, and sustainable resource systems in the Andes, Latin America, and beyond.