The Cultural Dynamics in Water Management from Ancient History to the Present Age


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Editor(s): Xiao Yun Zheng

Publication Date: 15/05/2021

Pages: 280

Binding: Paperback

ISBN13: 9781789062038

eISBN: 9781789062045

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The Cultural Dynamics in Water Management from Ancient History to the Present Age focuses on exploring the idea of water culture and how water culture has been generated from water management and social life. It discusses the structure, attribute, type, and the dynamic mechanism of water culture theoretically. It also deals with its diversity and practice in water management with cases from twelve countries, geographically covering most continents of the world.

This book is divided into five main sections which include the theoretical discussion of water culture, the historical water culture, the water culture and water management in indigenous societies, the cultural role in local water management, the water cultural practice in the present age using the case of water museum, etc. It is based on a historical and geographical approach to exploring the cultural dynamics in water management. It shows how people abide by their culture to manage water in ancient society and in indigenous, local, social, and urban society. This helps to provide an in-depth understanding of the cultural dynamics in water management to bridge the cultural idea of water management from history to the present and to the future.

This book highlights that technical and engineered ways are not enough to solve water problems and achieve water sustainable management if we neglect the cultural dynamic role. Successful water management is always based on the culture from history and this is likely to continue so as to achieve better water management.

The book examines systematically the role of ancient culture and civilization in water management. It underlines that culture has been the driving force for effective water management spanning a long historical period.  Additionally, It also investigates the mechanisms, the approach, generation, and practices that have been applied by the craftsmanship and intuition of the ancients in water management. There are case studies from China, Japan, Europe, USA and Ecuador. The underlying aim of the book is to show the importance of water culture and the need for its further strengthening.

About the Editor

List of Contributors

Section 1: The Theoretical Discussion

Chapter 1

Water culture: The theoretic structure and dynamic mechanism

Chapter 2

The cultural dynamic of water management: Practical demonstration

Section 2: The Historical Dynamic Role of the Culture

Chapter 3

Urban hydro-technologies in Crete, Greece through the Centuries

Chapter 4

Region, nation and culture on the British waterways, 1761–1894

Chapter 5

A Few water fountains in Tampere, Finland: Cultural attestation of water management

Section 3: The Water Culture in Indigenous Societies

Chapter 6

Learning from indigenous water ethics

Chapter 7

Foggara water which left an imprint in the culture of oases of the southwest region of Algeria

Chapter 8

Customs related to water and water management in the tradition of the Dai people in Vietnam

Chapter 9

The role of water culture in water management: A case study on the mid-reaches of Red River, China

Section 4: The Cultural Role in the Local Societies

Chapter 10

Agricultural water management customs in Japan: Adaptive changes, recent trends, and future issues

Chapter 11

Development of water conservancy irrigation and local social reconstruction: A case study in Putian, Fujian Province, China

Chapter 12

The role of community in behaviors towards water in the red river delta and the central highlands of Vietnam

Section 5: The Current Practice of Water Cultural Education

Chapter 13

Unveiling Venice's waterways heritage. From the digital and extended Water Museum of Venice to UNESCO's Global Network of Water Museums

Chapter 14

A museum that travels: Yaku Viajero and citizen education on Guayllabamba social basin in Quito, Ecuador (South America)


“This book contains interesting and diverse stories on water uses in the pasts: from hydro-technologies in Crete, waterways in England, fountains in Finland, and qanat systems in Iran. Water in indigenous societies is discussed through water ethics in North America, oases in Northern Africa and water customs in Vietnam and China. Water culture in local societies is explored through examples from Japan, China, and Vietnam. Water cultural education is elaborated through Venice’s waterways heritage and water museums.

Based on a wide historical and geographical coverage, this book views culture as a multifaceted factor in human society. Cultural approaches offer wider understanding of water management and remind us how the pasts reflect the struggles towards sustainable futures. Newer elements of water culture cover awareness, values, water-friendly behaviors and norms, institutions and even policy-making.”

Tapio S. Katko, Tampere University, Finland

“The cultural dynamics of water remains one of the fascinating, but consistently under-explored areas of research in contemporary water studies. This timely study, coordinated and edited by Prof. Zheng Xiao Yun, is the result of many years of networking with like-minded researchers in the fields of ancient and modern water history, anthropology, governance studies, engineering and technology.

Of particular importance is the fact that it is a collaborative project initiated in China, where the cultural appropriation of water has, historically been pivotal in the creation of the world’s oldest empire, still in existence in the 21st century.

The scholarly international contributions by leading authors in specialised fields, focusing on water culture, makes for fascinating insights into our contemporary understanding of the ontological and epistemological dynamics of human thinking on a vitally important natural resource we all too often take for granted.

For water management experts, focusing primarily on the future, this study creates an awareness of the need to cultivate a style of management that speaks to indigenous knowledge of human culture in space and time. Without that awareness, Zheng rightly points out, social behaviour will never be in correspondence with water management. Wasteful water consumption, in a time of increasing global scarcity, can only be reformatted once there is synergy in our global cultural understanding of the intrinsic value of water.”

Johann Tempelhoff, Research Niche for the Cultural Dynamics of Water, North-West University South Africa

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