Ethics and the duty of water

I’ve mentioned the interesting work that James Wescoat has been doing on the “duty of water” in a previous post. And now there is another work of his that is out on the concept. This one is in the Journal of Landscape Architecture and it combines issues of ethics with those of irrigation. Here is the abstract:

The ‘duties of water’ with respect to planting: toward an ethics of irrigated landscapes


The ethical dimensions of irrigation in landscape planning and design are examined. After introducing the historic ‘duty of water’ standard for irrigation use, four major extensions of that concept are discussed: 1) the duty to start watering (reclamation ethic); 2) the duty to reduce watering (conservation ethic); 3) the duty to stop watering (ecological ethic); and 4) the duty to continue watering (planting ethic). No one of these duties universally overrides the others. They need to be critically examined and coordinated with one another in irrigated landscapes. The final section of the paper outlines a pragmatic path toward an ethics of irrigation in landscape planning and design.

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