Human Ecology pp 297-315 | Cite as

After the Cochabamba Water War of 2000: A Common Pool Resource Institution in the Urban Andes



The Cochabamba Water War of 2000 was actually a series of protests against the privatization of water resources and their management in the department of Cochabamba, Bolivia. After two months, the protesters were able to secure the nullification of the privatization deal and a return to public control. The protests have come to be considered a moral triumph of impoverished Bolivians over a transnational consortium of private corporations (Assies 2003; Olivera 2003). It has been suggested that the protests began when peasants and urban migrants rose up to defend Common Pool Resources (CPR) and institutions (Perreault 2006; Bakker 2007). This argument has focused on rural communities, as we know little about how common pool water resource institutions function in urban Cochabamba, where water is extremely scarce in the southern region occupied by urban migrants - a condition that may make urban common pool water institutions unsustainable. I here examine three questions: (1) How does a common pool water resource function in urban Cochabamba? (2) Are its rules sustainable during periods of severe water scarcity? (3) Are the underlying institutions (including those for collective choice rules and operational rules) also sustainable during periods of severe water scarcity?


Community Member Water Scarcity Operational Rule Common Pool Resource Collective Choice 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Arizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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