Evolutionary Technologies in Knowledge-Based Management of Water Resources: Perspectives from South Asian Case Studies

  • Angela Barbanente
  • Dino Borri
  • Laura GrassiniEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Geography book series (BRIEFSGEOGRAPHY)


Water management technologies and approaches in South Asia can be considered the result of two opposite forces: on the one hand, the modernist push for technological advance and reductionist thinking supported by local bureaucracies and international competition; on the other, local attempts to develop adaptive approaches and technologies, increasingly supported by NGOs and more recent international aid policies. Despite the disproportionate power between the two, evolutionary patterns of technologies are not the result of linear domination forces. On the contrary, local technologies and knowledge seem to evolve through complex interplay between local and global pressures as a result of cognitive and practical interactions. In the attempt to deal with these issues, our paper analyses some case studies from India. Our particular concern is with the evolutionary patterns of water management approaches and technologies with reference to the changing local–global interaction dynamics. In this context, we discuss the innovation potential of actual interaction spaces and the role local and global actor networks play in shaping mechanisms of cognitive interaction and technological innovation.


Local–global interplay Technological evolution Innovation Cognitive interaction Indigenous knowledge Water management Developing countries 



The empirical material on which the paper is based has been developed as part of the PhD research of Laura Grassini in Urban and Regional Planning at the University La Sapienza, Rome, with funding from the same University. A first draft of this paper was presented at a special session on ``Changing Perspectives on Technology in Environmental Transformation and Management” of the conference ``Asian Horizons: Cities, States and Societies”, held in Singapore with funding support from the National University of Singapore. Special thanks are due to David Higgitt for the organization of that session and the opportunity for in-depth discussion.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Architecture and Urban PlanningPolytechnic of BariBariItaly

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