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Published December 1, 2020 | Version v1
Journal article Open

The Jesuit-Guarani towns in the Rio de la Plata basin. Putting in value water-related practices (in Spanish)

  • 1. North-eastern National University, Resistencia, Chaco, Argentina
  • 2. North-eastern National University, Resistencia, Chaco, Argentina,

Description

This paper presents a general approach to rainwater as a water resource. The use of

rainwater, a common practice in many civilizations of the past throughout the planet,

is regaining prominence in both developed and developing countries. In the latter

and especially in some rural areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America, rainwater may

provide more abundant and better-quality water than distant and polluted surface or

groundwater sources. In developed countries, the use of rainwater diminishes pressures

on public networks, satisfying certain uses without having to resort to very expensive

and environmentally problematic infrastructures. However, rainwater suffers from a

major problem which is the uncertainty of supply, especially in the absence of wellsized

catchment surfaces and storage tanks for areas of scarce and erratic rainfall. In

hydrosocial terms, the use of rainwater can empower commuThe objective of this article

is highlighting the importance of the hydrosocial strategies and practices implemented

in the 30 missionary towns founded between the XVII and XVIII centuries in the Vice

Royalty of the Rio de la Plata by the Society of Jesus, a Catholic religious order, among the

region’s Tupi-Guarani indigenous communities. It aims to contribute towards rescuing

and valuing the historical practices of collection and use of river and rainwater by Jesuit-

Guarani communities, practices that remain alive in the region’s cultural geography

and social memory. The work is grounded on the analysis and interpretation of cultural

responses to water-related issues, the historical precedents of such strategies, practices

and knowledge, and the recognition of their value through historiographical research.

It seeks to provide elements for the study of hydro-social cultures reflecting on past

processes and the production of knowledges associated to water cultures in the Guarani

region of South America.

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