The creation of such narratives provide important evidence of the use of discourse to alter the packaging of large-scale hydraulic projects and to veil their environmental and social impacts. Consequentially this paper makes an important contribution to wider scholarship through conclusions of how state-led water grabs can be recast and approved via discourse. Whilst private entities can act freely, national governments are often forced to utilise rhetoric to create a public acceptance of the redesign of hydrology. The contemporary growth imperative has ensured that many nations have engaged in these processes of autocratic redesign as a means to continue economic development in the centres of growth and in doing so have neglected the importance of local access and needs of the community. It is integral to understand how such projects are packaged and presented to the populace; as it is in this process that such projects are bestowed with legitimacy.
In the case of the Ebro River transfer, the developmentalist message of transfer equals growth was particularly evident, with repeated promises that the scheme would create "a better Spain, a more cohesive Spain, a Spain where Spaniards have more opportunities and will have a better future." However, such an assumption was misguided and resulted in the scheme representing not just the reallocation of water but the transfer of development and economic and political power from the donor regions to the receiving regions of Valencia, Murcia and AndalucĂa in the south -- where much of the water would have been used for irrigation. The scheme proved controversial, due to the scheme appearing to be a manifestation of Robin Hood, in reverse -- with the economic benefits of the Ebro being transferred from the stagnating north to the growing south of the country. Such a characteristic, coupled with the ecological consequences of the scheme, resulted in the formation of an opposition movement that successfully fought the plans. Thus, a disconnect between official rhetoric and the environmental and human consequences of the plan is found. This paper shall demonstrate how the presentation of such discourse was conducted as a form of knowledge-construction, allowing the government to pursue a scheme of pork-barrel politics and benefits transfer masquerading as being for the greater good of all.
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