Technology, like society, is heterogeneous. It mirrors the context in which it operates. Micro hydro development in Nepal is a rural energy strategy, which relies on technology and innovation and takes place in a specific social context. In designing this energy strategy, both technology and its social context, therefore, need to be considered seriously. In technical design processes, the interplay between the content (technology) and the context (society) needs to be considered, as the outcome will affect the people. For example, the content - micro hydro system - in the domain of the context - agriculture - provides an arena for an integrated water control system. Thus, it is possible to control water for two purposes: to produce power and to provide irrigation. The end product will be “energy” as a “consumptive” output and improved food security as a “productive” output of water. Therefore, within a sociotechnical framework, energy and irrigation become constitutive outputs of the sacrosanct “water”. Thus, the metaphor of power - the “sociotechnical code” of “content” and “context” - can be used with the term “agro-energy” in the design process of micro hydro systems. Evidence suggests that this interaction can lead to a transformed water use system for both productive and consumptive output for the benefit of rural communities.

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