An azud on the Serpis River (Source: Ana María Arbeláez-Trujillo, 2022).
Azudes along the Serpis River: Cultural Heritage, Obstacles and Contested Authority


  • Ana María Arbeláez-Trujillo Wageningen University
  • Juliana Forigua-Sandoval Wageningen University




Preserving cultural heritage and achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of protecting life below water do not always go hand in hand. The case of the Serpis River sheds light on the political, cultural and legal tensions that may arise when pursuing these two policy goals. To better understand these tensions, we propose acknowledging that rivers are complex natural-cultural systems imagined and shaped through various actors’ values, interests, practices and infrastructures (Boelens et al. 2016). River restoration initiatives generate divisions between actors and institutions with different ways of defining and valuing natural and cultural heritage.

How to Cite

Arbeláez-Trujillo, A. M., & Forigua-Sandoval, J. (2023). Azudes along the Serpis River: Cultural Heritage, Obstacles and Contested Authority. Blue Papers, 2(2).





methodologies and case studies

Author Biographies

Ana María Arbeláez-Trujillo, Wageningen University

Ana María Arbeláez-Trujillo is a PhD researcher at Wageningen University. She is part of the Riverhood project funded by the European Research Council under the EU’s Horizon 2020 program. Her research combines political ecology and critical legal studies to understand how hydroelectric projects and other water infrastructures impact riverine and rural communities and how these communities mobilize plural sources of law to defend rivers and advance environmental justice. She is a lawyer from Universidad de Caldas and a specialist in environmental Law from Universidad del Rosario. She holds an MA in Public Policy from the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) and the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (IBEI).

Juliana Forigua-Sandoval, Wageningen University

Juliana Forigua-Sandoval is a PhD researcher at Wageningen University. She is part of the River Commons project funded by the Wageningen University’s INREF-Fund. Her research is about restoration strategies, temporalities and territorialization processes of fisher communities in the Magdalena River (Colombia) with a political ecology perspective. She is a philosopher from Universidad del Rosario with a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies of development from Universidad de los Andes.


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