The Network


WATERLAT-GOBACIT is an inter- and transdisciplinary network for teaching, research and practical action on the politics and management of water and water-based services. It has a strong presence in Latin America and the Caribbean, but it is global in scope. The network brings together the cultural, ecological, economic-financial, health, managerial-operational, policy-institutional, and political dimensions of water issues. It has clear objectives and research priorities oriented at tackling water injustice, inequality, and defencelessness.

The network organizes an annual meeting featuring conferences, round tables, paper sessions, workshops, public hearings, and related activities. We also organize sessions in international events and ad hoc public meetings on a range of topics relevant to our objectives and priorities (see our Public Meetings page).

We have 10 Thematic Areas, covering a range of topics that reflect the interests and fields of activity of our members and students. The results of our collective work is reflected in our Projects and Publications pages. Visit also our Public Engagement page, which includes links to our video channel in YouTube and our picture galleries in Flickr.

The origin of the Network goes back to the early 1990s when a group of Latin American scholars and students based at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), Mexico, and at the Institute of Research Gino Germani, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, participated in joint research projects, teaching exchanges, and collaboration with practitioners in national and international institutions dedicated to water management, such as the Mexican Institute for Water Technology (IMTA). The work of these scholars was later consolidated and expanded by establishing a close interaction with colleagues at the University of Oxford that included the development of the international research project PRINWASS (2001-2004), which examined critically the privatization of water and sanitation services in 9 countries of Africa, Europe and Latin America.

The collaboration established through the PRINWASS Project and other activities led to the creation of the research network GOBACIT, with members in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2009 we were granted funding from the Leverhulme Trust for a three-year project (2009-2011) to consolidate and expand the network in Latin America and the Caribbean. During this period we established WATERLAT, the Latin American and Caribbean branch of GOBACIT. The activities and outcomes of this period are reflected in the different sections of the website. Since 2012, our core activities became self-funded, but we have received generous support from public universities and institutions for the organization of our meetings. We gratefully recognize this in our Supporters page.

Today our network has over 350 members, of which about a third are students, mostly PhD and Master students but also undergraduate students. However, our members are not only scholars and students based in academic institutions as we also have water experts and practitioners working in government departments, water utilities, Non Governmental Organizations, etc., as well as representatives from social movements, water users groups, workers unions, and other relevant social actors.

Although for a number of operational reasons we maintained GOBACIT and WATERLAT separated since 2009, we decided to reintegrate the two networks in 2014 with the name WATERLAT-GOBACIT Network.