Yes, I would say that water irrigation and allocation are always inherently political. How we use our water and the water we are allowed to use must be backed by policy and regulations. In a similar vein, the inequality people face concerning water, largely due to gender norms and prejudices, frames policy and the issues that are given the most attention. In Zwarteveen’s article, she demonstrates how women are socially disregarded as important actors in use of water and in their need for water, especially concerning female-owned farms. This provides an interesting intersection between feminism and water justice; women need to be taken seriously as food providers and business owners in this context to properly distribute water. Atwood is more critical of large institutions, and describes how ethics can be disregarded when profit is the main incentive. In the article about the affordable water device, a quote from Hillary Clinton references how crucial political recognition of women’s role in farming is, and how that interrelates with women’s education. An ongoing theme in this class has been tools we can use to prevent women from having to use illegal or inconvenient methods of gaining water, so that they can run functional businesses and mobilize themselves in society. What I gained from these three articles is that yes, politics is inherent to how water is used, and large businesses controlling resources is not always negative, but it also depends on what the focus or goal of justice is.
Irrigation water allocation is always inherently political. To distinguish what this statement means one needs to have a working understanding of the word “political”. Many different infrastructures are deemed political may they be the church, a university, a yacht club, the local radio station, a homeowners association, etc. What these entities have in common is that the decisions made within them affect a particular group of people. Collectively, among all political structures, every person on earth is governed. Decisions that are made about irrigation water allocation affect particular people that are left with or without water. For example, Zwarteveens essay brings attention to the fact that women are affected by irrigation water allocation. I view this disparity as one that is strong evidence that irrigation water allocation is always political because it bases itself on phenotypic evidence that is old as conscious experience (the first thinking XX and XY).
It is not clear that one can separate economics and policy. Together, economics and policy make up politics, they are all closely intertwined and rarely separable. Policy is always informed and/or supported by economic studies and those who have economic interests lobby politicians. Irrigation water allocation is no different. Places will prosper where there is water. Places that prosper will always create policy to protect their economies. Therefore, irrigation water allocation will always be inherently political.