Development and Urbanization
Inter-scalar power relationships are critical in understanding transboundary governance of resources. The way in which resources are governed defines local people’s access to the resources, thus strongly influencing their experiences and struggles. This study brings a case study of local riverine communities from Nepal’s Koshi River. Interviews with the communities and national level politicians, current and former bureaucrats and experts working in water issues reveal that local people’s access to the river resources depends upon a multitude of factors beyond local politico-economic processes. Assurance of the local people’s easy access to the riverine resources by the resource development proponents is a myth, while they face more harm in the name of development than benefits due to the regulation of the resources. They suffer from erosion, inundation, siltation, scarcity of water for irrigation, displacement, forced migration and various livelihood difficulties. They use local innovative adaptation practices as coping strategies, which include temporary migration, living short-term in temporary structures, occupying and farming public land and doing seasonal on-farm as well as off-farm labour work. The paper argues that these local practices, however, are insufficient to address the problems of access brought about by the governance processes. Therefore, it concludes by highlighting that broader politico-economic forces and processes need more scrutiny to bring about changes in the access-situations.