Water History

http://link.springer.com/journal/12685

List of Papers (Total 52)

“Muddying the waters: recreational conflict and rights of use of British rivers”

Rivers have historically been spaces of recreation, in addition to work, trade, and sustenance. Today, multiple groups (anglers, canoeists, rowers, swimmers) vie for the recreational use of rivers in Britain. But, this paper argues, legal definitions of rights of use have not kept up with the growth of recreational river use. Focusing on two groups, anglers and canoeists, it ...

The Water Act, No. 54 of 1956 and the first phase of apartheid in South Africa (1948–1960)

After the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910 the government department responsible for water governance, in terms of the Irrigation and Conservation of Water Act, No. 8 of 1912 went by the name of the Department of Irrigation. In 1956, when the Water Act, No. 54 of 1956, was passed its name changed to the Department of Water Affairs. The new legislation marked the ...

Instituting water research: the Water Resources Research Act (1964) and the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute

In 1964, Congress passed the Water Resources Research Act (WRRA) and created state research institutes to pursue practical research for the nation’s growing water problems. The Idaho Water Resources Research Institute (IWRRI), initiated as part of WRRA, implemented its research program with multidisciplinary specialists across Idaho. Collaborating with public and private partners, ...

De-colonizing water. Dispossession, water insecurity, and Indigenous claims for resources, authority, and territory

Set against the background of struggles for territory, livelihood, and dignified existence in Latin America’s neoliberal conjuncture, this paper examines contemporary Andean Indigenous claims for water access and control rights based on historical arguments. In the case of the Acequia Tabacundo irrigation system in the north-Ecuadorian Highlands, the rights claims deployed in ...

The long-term evolution of urban waters and their nineteenth century transformation in European cities. A comparative environmental history

The nineteenth century was marked by a fundamental change in city-river relations. The environmental history perspective employed in this article illustrates how the complex interplay between the diverse natural and societal endowment of four European cities (Brussels, Lyon, Munich, and Vienna) shaped urban aquatic networks. Throughout the long-term co-evolution of the urbanites ...

Using and abusing a torrential urban river: the Wien River before and during industrialization

The Wien River is the largest tributary of the Viennese Danube and was a center of urban production during industrialization. It’s highly dynamic flow regime with small average discharge as well as recurrent big, fast floods posed challenges to its use. In this study we focus on the role of this urban watercourse for supplying water to crafts and industries and for wastewater ...

The rise and fall of Munich’s early modern water network: a tale of prowess and power

Until the 19th century, not just the Isar River and its natural branches but also the “Stadtbäche”, artificial canals, provided Munich with water for drinking, commerce, waste discharge, defense, ostentatious display and for other functions. In particular, the streams were the main transport route and offered hydropower for many mills and other hydropower-dependent facilities in ...

Between arguments, interests and expertise: the institutional development of the Dutch water boards, 1953-present

The Dutch water boards perform essential tasks for the Netherlands and generally effectively, yet they have often been called old-fashioned, ineffective and expensive. This paper describes and analyses the discussions on the water boards since 1953 in order to increase insight in the factors that influence institutional change in water management. In this period the water boards ...

How water and its use shaped the spatial development of Vienna

Telling an environmental history of Vienna’s urban waters, this paper advocates the compound study of the evolution of fluvial and urban form. It traces the structural permanence of diverse types of running waters in a period of massive urban transformation from early modern times to present. The focus on the material effects, side-effects and afterlives of socio-natural processes ...

Ice and water. The removal of ice on waterways in the Low Countries, 1330–1800

This paper looks into the blocking of ice on Dutch and Belgian rivers and canals during the Little Ice Age and how this has affected shipping and other economic activities. The key issue here is how contemporaries have dealt with such extreme circumstances during the fourteenth to eighteenth centuries. In order to address this issue the paper will give an overview of the severity ...

Water supply of ancient Egyptian settlements: the role of the state. Overview of a relatively equitable scheme from the Old to New Kingdom (ca. 2543–1077 BC)

The study of the textual and archaeological evidence shows that the water supply of the settlements of ancient Egypt seems to have worked on a simple and a relatively equitable scheme, at least from the Old Kingdom until the New Kingdom (ca. 2543–1077). The water supply of the inhabitants was completely managed by the state, through the local administration which was charged to ...

How geoarchaeology and landscape archaeology contribute to niche construction theory (NCT)

In this paper a review is given of examples of geoarchaeological and landscape archaeological research from four locations throughout Europe. Case-studies from the North Sea coastal zone in the Netherlands and the Eastern Mediterranean are presented to illustrate the potential contribution of geoarchaeology and landscape archaeology to niche construction theory (NCT) studies. ...

Europe’s Rhine power: connections, borders, and flows

This article explores the pivotal position of the river Rhine in the gradual development of a European electricity system. Although the general image of the Rhine is one of a inland transport corridor, it also acted as a backbone of electricity supply systems since the dawn of the 20th century. By relying on insights from both water history and history of technology, the article ...

Long term effects of climate on human adaptation in the middle Gila River Valley, Arizona, America

The Hohokam, an irrigation-based society in the American South West, used the river valleys of the Salt and Gila Rivers between 500 and 1500 AD to grow their crops. Such irrigated crops are linking human agency, water sources and the general natural environment. In order to grow crops, water available through rain and river flows needs to be diverted to land where the plants are ...

A niche construction approach on the central Netherlands covering the last 220,000 years

This paper shows what a niche construction theory (NCT) approach can contribute to the long-term social and environmental history of an area when applied to both sedentary and non-sedentary communities. To understand how communities create and respond to environmental change, hominin presence of the central Netherlands within the last 220,000 years is used as a case study. For this ...

Commodifying snow, taming the waters. Socio-ecological niche construction in an Alpine village

White belts of snow clad mountains all over the world each winter. Even if there is no snow, the tourism industry is able to produce the white finery at the push of the button, thereby consuming large amounts of water. Studying Damüls, a well-known ski resort in Austria’s westernmost province Vorarlberg, we can show that the development of a service sector within agro-pastoral ...