The folklore of water use among the subsistence farmers of Eastern Africa is based on the principles of neighbourhood having priority over individual needs. This is now under pressure from population growth, political leaders replacing traditional ones, the ideology of development and central governments’ combination of administrative inadequacies and political hopefulness. This has led to the decline of effective folklore control over water use. These difficulties are augmented by technical experts seeing the production of water as an automatic good without considering its place in the overall environmental situation. Folklore control may slowly reassert itself as a more efficient way of coping with water’s limited availability.
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