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Destitution through “Development”: A Case Study of the Laka Laka Project in Cochabamba, Bolivia

  • Agricultural Science
  • Ecology
  • Economics
  • Geography


This study examined environmental and socioeconomic outcomes of a water project in rural Bolivia, and sought insights on how and why its planning was so flawed. The project destroyed an ancient, sustainable irrigation system, and replaced it with one that provides insufficient and diminishing quantities of water to many fewer people, appears to be causing land degradation and groundwater depletion, and has fueled conflicts. The study shows that even relatively small, NGO-led projects can generate significant negative impacts, and raises questions about the pressures on development agencies to charge ahead with projects, despite obvious potential for such impacts.

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