Title: Irrigation design in the Netherlands East Indies

Authors: Maurits W. Ertsen

Addresses: Water Resources Management Group, Department of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, P.O. Box 5048, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands

Abstract: Irrigation was a cornerstone of Dutch colonial policy in the Netherlands East Indies. Within this context, Dutch irrigation engineers developed their design approaches. This paper discusses how the design process of the Tjipoenegara irrigation system was realised within a process of negotiation. Representatives of different social groups negotiated and disputed over the required steps to take and decisions to make. The group of civil engineers was the most important group to structure and control the social construction process. It is shown how the decisions of the design engineers were continuously checked by the Department of Public Works and its representatives.

Keywords: irrigation design; Netherlands East Indies; decision making; Java; design process; social construction; design engineering; Dutch colonial policy; Dutch East Indies.

DOI: 10.1504/JDR.2007.015182

Journal of Design Research, 2007 Vol.5 No.4, pp.449 - 469

Available online: 20 Sep 2007 *

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