En La Tierra de Sol y Cobre: A Political Ecology of Water Governance and the Extractive Industries in Northern Chile

Partridge, Megan Anne [Browse]
Senior thesis
130 pages


Wood, Eric [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering [Browse]
Class year
Summary note
The Chilean model of water governance, as instituted under the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet in the Water Code of 1981, favors a neoliberal agenda of economic growth that has been the focus of intense debate in both domestic and international arenas. This thesis proposes that the unique configuration of institutional arrangements, environmental change, and socioeconomic forces that has emerged under this framework has privileged the expansion of the water-intensive mining industry in Northern Chile at the expense of marginalized economic sectors, notably rural indigenous communities. Using a unique analytical approach that merges developmental economics, comparative law, and environmental studies to evaluate the social equity implications of the Water Code in the harsh desert landscape of the Atacama, this thesis finds that the Chilean model has enabled the inequitable distribution of water holdings, leaving indigenous peoples at a severe disadvantage.

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