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Study on water syndicates existing in Bulgaria before 1945


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Main topic



Currently highest priority is given to the establishment of water user associations, partly in an attempt to tie into the water syndicates tradition from before 1945.
Research questions were:

  1. Is it possible to tie into the tradition of water syndicates from before 1945 in order to successfully establish water user associations in present times?
  2. Does the local population remember the rules-in-use and action patterns that originated in the water syndicates - i.e. did this knowledge outlast the socialist period?
We introduce possible reasons for what we call "breach of tradition": the migration from villages to cities, the suppression of presocialist so-called capitalist behaviour, and the length of the socialist period. We also draw conclusions on the impact of the limited tradition transfer on water user associations establishment.




  • Dr. Insa Theesfeld (senior researcher Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe)

Funding body



Dr. Insa Theesfeld

Contact details

Dr. Insa Theesfeld

Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe

Theodor-Lieser-Strasse 2

06120 Halle (Saale)

Links to project

  Publication:  Theesfeld, I., Boevsky, I., 2005. Reviving Pre-Socialist Cooperative Traditions: The Case of Water Syndicates in Bulgaria, Sociologia Ruralis. 45 (3) 171-86.