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Dreaming of pipes: Kathmandu’s long-delayed Melamchi Water Supply Project

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Rest,  Matthäus
Kostbare Kulturen, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;
Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Rest, M. (2018). Dreaming of pipes: Kathmandu’s long-delayed Melamchi Water Supply Project. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space. doi:10.1177/2399654418794015.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-0A18-9
Abstract
For a generation, people in Kathmandu have been waiting for a large drinking water diversion project to relieve them of a severe water shortage. Recounting the history of the Melamchi Water Supply Project through interviews, project documentation, and media reports, this article argues that an analysis of unfinished infrastructure has to take into account the recalcitrance of more-than-human forms, in particular matter like water and rock, as well as institutions like government ministries and international donor agencies. In the case of Melamchi, the lack of control over both matter and such institutional actors delayed the completion of the project ? as is the case with a number of large-scale hydropower projects in the country. Despite this obvious inability to complete infrastructures, elites have built the promise of a prosperous future for Nepal on its water resources and the export of electricity. By conceptualizing Melamchi as an infrastructural meshwork in Ingold?s understanding and Nepal as an unfinished hydraulic state, I aim to contribute to the growing literature complicating Wittfogel?s idea of the hydrosocial.