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The recent spate of anthropological attention to water is a timely reminder not only of its salience in cultural representations of place and identity among many indigenous and local communities (Donahue and Rose 1998), but also of its likely prominence in future 'water wars' (Raines-Ward 2002; Shiva 2002). While international boundary conflicts over water are well-documented (Blatter and Ingram 2001; Turton 2007; Wolf 1995) contestations at the subnational level, between competing local communities, on the one hand, or between the state, its local constituencies and the globalised water economy, on the other, are only now beginning to receive substantial scholarly attention. Some worthwhile studies in this field include Whiteford and Whiteford's (2005) anthology which brings together case studies from the Americas, China and South Africa to indicate the ways in which water shortages--manufactured by globalised corporate interests, provincial politics or otherwise--impact upon human health. In addition, Elhance's (1999) survey of hydro-politics in third world fiver basins highlights the notion of local struggles and the strategies involved in contests that engage large corporate and state interests. Hu's (2007) analysis of water conflict in the Huanghe River basin of China from the recent text edited by Grover, Water: A Source of Conflict or Cooperation, provides another illustration of this, while Hussainy and Kumar, in the same volume, show how conflict over water in the Australian Murray-Darling basin takes the form of disputes over the degree of state regulation and the variability of water flow. Of particular interest here is another article from the same suite: Eberhard Weber's (2007) analysis of water vulnerability in two Pacific island states--Fiji and Kiribati. Weber argues that both nations are highly susceptible to the hydrological impacts of global warming, including a decline in both water quality and quantity, and concludes that the future for both states, from the point of view of water security at least, is bleak (Weber 2007:310).

1 March
University of Sydney
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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