The governance of natural resources is intrinsically linked with the governance of people. However, in practice, social aspects are often viewed as secondary to more technical and pressing issues in the implementation of projects such as dams. The use of water for electricity production in Brazil is a cas d'excellence that exemplifies how the bypassing of socio-environmental safeguards and democratic participation of affected people leads to conflicts. These conflicts delay infrastructure works, such as the Belo Monte Dam, that are found to be crucial for the equilibrium of electricity supply. Recently, social manifestation have become the scapegoat for the sector's crisis. This article discussed the "electricity crisis" from a historical policy analysis perspective. It concludes that the present disregard for social and environmental procedures is a self-inflicted disease that only contributes to the longer-term state of conflicts in the expansion of the electricity sector in Brazil.
Electricity sector; dams; crisis; democratic governance of water