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From Power to Legitimacy—Explaining Historical and Contemporary Water Conflict at Yesa Reservoir (Spain) and Gross Reservoir (USA) Using Path Dependency

ContributorsTurley, Lauraorcid
Published inSustainability, vol. 13, no. 16, 9305
Publication date2021
Abstract

Conflict over new dams and reservoirs is well-studied, but less is known about controversies over the reoperation of existing water infrastructure. This paper presents two cases of reoperation that have been embroiled in conflict: the Gross Reservoir Expansion Project in Colorado, United States, and the Yesa Reservoir Regrowth project in Aragon and Navarra, Spain. A historical analysis of each of the cases relies on process tracing, reaching back to their construction in the 1950s up to present day, and a cross-case comparison distills findings on the causes of historical and contemporary conflict. The paper adds empirical evidence to the phenomenon of path dependency, and argues that a transition of the dominant mechanism of institutional reproduction occurs in the cases—from power to legitimacy—which in turn informs us about the historical and present-day conflicts. We find that through the contemporary reoperation, water service providers are experiencing a legitimacy crisis related to the quickly-evolving values of water users, and their access to competing sources of knowledge and expertise.

Keywords
  • Water conflict
  • Path dependence
  • Power
  • Legitimacy
  • Gross Reservoir
  • Yesa Reservoir
Citation (ISO format)
TURLEY, Laura. From Power to Legitimacy—Explaining Historical and Contemporary Water Conflict at Yesa Reservoir (Spain) and Gross Reservoir (USA) Using Path Dependency. In: Sustainability, 2021, vol. 13, n° 16, p. 9305. doi: 10.3390/su13169305
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ISSN of the journal2071-1050
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