Flood politics. Contested images of water security in river regulation projects
07 / 2002 - 12 / 2005
Floods instil ?primordial fears? in people, as they can bring death and destruction. But floods also make rulers greedy and engineers eager, as harnessing the water bring opportunity for food security, hydropower and technical feats. Such considerations can make flood regulation schemes absolute piorities to flood-prone countries. Destructive floods provide a brief window of opportunity to take measures that have been lying in waiting for, sometimes, decades. Once elevated to the national interest, protection of people and assets, or of economic development goals can provide an ongoing legitimation to silence critics and push through preferred policy alternatives. Therefore, it is advantageous to frame flood issues, and as a consequence flood regulation schems, as national security issues. The success of such securitisation strategies however turns out to have a limited validity, a brief sell-by date. Without fail, flood schemes become subject to politicisation, as public accountability, resistance, new legislation and countervailing alternatives are put into place. Problematique: 'How are images (?representations?) of 'security' and 'risk' contested in (de)legitimising flood management projects, and how do they affect the political and river management regime context?'