Dr Vanessa Lamb1, Dr Sarah Rogers1
1University Of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia
Central China’s Danjiangkou Reservoir provides an important environmental service: clean drinking water for Beijing, Tianjin, and other northern cities supplied by the Middle Route of the South-North Water Transfer Project. To achieve high quality water, an alliance of state and non-state actors is intervening to strictly manage the Reservoir’s “buffer zone” (the extent of the Reservoir’s water-level fluctuations). In this buffer zone a collection of governance tools has been mobilised to protect and enhance the Reservoir’s water quality. In this paper we examine how these tools come together to fix place (through elevation mapping and physical infrastructure), fix plants (by replacing smallholder crops with “ecological” reeds, fruit trees, and willows typically managed by agribusinesses), and fix pollution (through detailed zoning and displacement, as well as environmental infrastructure to stop pollution flows). We argue that this attempt to render the Danjiangkou landscape technical is incomplete and contested, and yet has the effect of fixing profit and marginalising smallholders, by positioning agribusiness as best able to prevent flows of pollution.
Dr Sarah Rogers is a Lecturer in the Asia Institute, University of Melbourne. She is a human geographer who studies hydropolitics, agrarian change, and poverty alleviation in China.
Dr Vanessa Lamb is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Geography, University of Melbourne. She is a human geographer researching human-environment interactions, international water politics, and political ecology of Southeast Asia.