Next Article in Journal
How Does Energy Storage Increase the Efficiency of an Electricity Market with Integrated Wind and Solar Power Generation?—A Case Study of Korea
Previous Article in Journal
Design and Development of Low P-Emission Substrate for the Protection of Urban Water Bodies Collecting Green Roof Runoff
Article Menu
Issue 10 (October) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

The Paradox of Water Abundance in Mato Grosso, Brazil

School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Drummond Library G.22, Surgeon’s Square, Drummond Street, Edinburgh EH8 9XP, UK
Land Economy, Environment and Society Research Group, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Peter Wilson Building, Nicholas Kemmer Road, Edinburgh EH9 3FH, UK
School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University, Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3WA, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1796;
Received: 19 September 2017 / Revised: 1 October 2017 / Accepted: 2 October 2017 / Published: 4 October 2017
PDF [435 KB, uploaded 18 October 2017]


While much effort has gone into studying the causes and consequences of water scarcity, the concept of water abundance has received considerably less attention in academic literature. Here, we aim to address this gap by providing a case study on the perceptions and political implications of water abundance in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. Combining a political ecology perspective on contemporary water governance (empirically based on stakeholder interviews with members of the state’s water sector) with an overview of the environmental history of this hydrosocial territory, we argue, first, that water abundance has become a foundational element of Mato Grosso’s identity, situated in the wider context of natural resource abundance more generally and second, that water abundance today is a contested concept witnessing discursive struggles around its political implications and meaning. More specifically, there is a clash between the dominant conceptualisation of water abundance as a foundation for rich economic, ecological, social, and cultural values and benefits, often espoused by members of the political and economic elite, e.g., for marketing purposes, and a more critical but less widespread conceptualisation of water abundance as a source of carelessness, lack of awareness, and poor water governance, typically put forth by more informed technical staff of the public sector and civil society activists. By providing a distinct treatment and discussion of the concept of water abundance, our research has relevance for other water-rich regions beyond the immediate regional context. View Full-Text
Keywords: water abundance; water governance; political ecology; environmental history; regional identity; environmental awareness; Mato Grosso; Brazil water abundance; water governance; political ecology; environmental history; regional identity; environmental awareness; Mato Grosso; Brazil

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Schulz, C.; Ioris, A.A.R. The Paradox of Water Abundance in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1796.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top