In this article I show how ideas and practices of ‘green economy’ can reproduce and even naturalise inequality in water access for local users. Evidence to support my argument is drawn from the Waterberg region in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Following the demise of apartheid and the appeal of the green economy, the Waterberg has been ‘reinvented’ as a wildlife destination. Whereas game farms enjoy secure water supply, the rural poor relocated to the small town of Vaalwater suffer severe water shortages. The article questions the mainstream view according to which game farms have no relationship to the water problems in town. Rather, I suggest that by conceiving and managing water as a private commodity deriving from land ownership and largely unregulated by the state, green economy initiatives contribute both materially and discursively to hampering more equality in water redistribution.

agrarian political economy, inequality, private game farms, South Africa, water,
Third World Quarterly: journal of emerging areas
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Marcatelli, M. (2015). Suspended redistribution: ‘green economy’ and water inequality in the Waterberg, South Africa. Third World Quarterly: journal of emerging areas, 36(12), 2244–2258. doi:10.1080/01436597.2015.1068111