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This chapter shifts the temporal focus from the long-term to concentrate on the struggle over water in the MCMA during the last two decades of the twentieth century. We examine around 2000 events of water conflict that were identified through the classification of press reports during the period 1985–92.1 These events are actions performed by individuals, families, groups, and institutions, in connection with different problems arising from the management of water resources or the provision of essential water services. Most cases recorded in the press, though, reflect the activities of domestic and small-scale users, as the intervention of large users such as industries or municipalities is normally hidden from public scrutiny and seldom reported. According to the empirical evidence, the immediate reasons moving the protagonists to act are multifarious and most events are discrete and unconnected, while the majority of the actors may be unaware of the multidimensional character of the overall process. Yet, by analogy with Clausewitz’s model of war as a totality composed by a large number of discrete engagements, ’great and small, simultaneous and consecutive’ (Clausewitz, 1989: 227), we argue that the apparently unconnected contests over water described here are part and parcel of a wider social confrontation that is autonomous from the individual will and reason of the actors.
KeywordsFederal District Water Service Civil Disobedience Water Infrastructure Municipal Authority
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