International Commission on Irrigation & Drainage Commission Interationale des Irrigation et du Drainage

Compendium World Heritage Irrigation Structures (2014-2022)
Compendium  World Heritage  Irrigation Structures  (2014-2022)
Author: ICID
Year: 2023,
Type: Special Publication, Format: e-version
Since the dawn of human civilization water has been an enabler of societal development so much so that we started believing “Water is Life,” a common phrase in most languages. And, life is multi-dimensional involving not only a physical aspect but also economic, social, cultural, political, religious, and spiritual concepts. Early human settlements emerged around natural water availability and continued to do so for thousands of years. During civilization process the water bodies/scapes became integral parts of human communities and societies and their economic, social, cultural, political, religious, and spiritual activities. Historically, we have always assumed that water is not a limiting factor for human development, however, as our numbers grew from millions to billions, we started to see the finite dimension of water that we now term as “water scarcity” and once a life-critical natural resource becomes limiting our attention is diverted to its value, its use or misuse, its criticality to our survival and its conservation. We have started feeling constrained and questioning our early assumptions of infiniteness of water, and more importantly exploring ways to overcome this scarcity as climate change coupled with over-stretched carrying capacity of our ecosystem have exacerbated the human development situation. Fortunately, water is now being discussed in many domains which have a diverse worldview of water. Water is not owned by just one discipline of human existence, its multi-dimensionality needs to be put in a holistic perspective facilitated by a dialogue among the stakeholders having asymmetric knowledge contexts, capacities, beliefs, socio-economic backgrounds, cultural and spiritual visions.

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