Oslo University Morgenstierne Lecture on Water Management in Chitral
Dr. Arnd Holdschlag, Institute of Geography, University of Hamburg, held the Morgenstierne Lecture on ”Irrigation and Water Management in the Eastern Hindu Kush (Chitral, Pakistan)” at University of Oslo on Monday 30 April 2012, 14.15–16.00. Venue: Seminar room 10, P.A. Munchs hus, Niels Henrik Abels vei 36, Blindern, Oslo.
Dr. Holdschlag’s lecture is part of the newly created Morgenstierne Lectures series. This and the following lectures concentrate on the theme of Water, Culture and Power. Arnd Holdschlag has worked extensively in the Northern Areas of Pakistan, among others on the complex water management systems of Chitral and Hunza. Some additional research interests of his are human/nature interaction, natural hazards, and complexity theory.
Abstract: The huge ice masses above the snowlines of the world’s mountains are often regarded as “water towers of humankind”. However, shrinking glaciers mean that rivers tapping them carry less water into the settlement areas of both mountain regions and their forelands, making conflicts about water distribution more likely. In the high mountain area of Chitral (Eastern Hindu Kush, Pakistan), an arid zone “between glaciers and desert”, water is one of the key resources, not only for drinking and agricultural purposes but also for the conversion of potential and kinetic energy into hydroelectric power. Irrigation systems, their organization and management, form the basis of communal life. Right from the construction of a channel to the regular conveyance of water to fields, mountain dwellers undergo many painstaking organisational processes. Sophisticated techniques and institutional patterns are often an integral part of the local culture and reflect social structures and power asymmetries. An integrative approach for the analysis of water management practices is suggested to understand better their relevance for sustainable development.