Cultivating the Nile

Cultivating the Nile

The Everyday Politics of Water in Egypt

The waters of the Nile are fundamental to life in Egypt. In this compelling ethnography, Jessica Barnes explores the everyday politics of water: a politics anchored in the mundane yet vital acts of blocking, releasing, channeling, and diverting water. She examines the quotidian practices of farmers, government engineers, and international donors as they interact with the waters of the Nile flowing into and through Egypt. Situating these local practices in relation to broader processes that affect Nile waters, Barnes moves back and forth from farmer to government ministry, from irrigation canal to international water conference. By showing how the waters of the Nile are constantly made and remade as a resource by people in and outside Egypt, she demonstrates the range of political dynamics, social relations, and technological interventions that must be incorporated into understandings of water and its management.
  • Contents
  • Note on Transliteration, Units, and Abbreviations
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. The End of a River
  • Chapter 2. The Nile’s Nadir: The Production of Scarcity
  • Chapter 3. Fluid Governance: Water User Associations and Practices of Participation
  • Chapter 4. Irrigating the Desert, Deserting the Irrigated: Land Reclamation at the Margins
  • Chapter 5. Flows of Drainage: The Politics of Excess
  • Chapter 6. Making Egypt’s Water
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index



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