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From an anthropological perspective, water is not only the sine qua non of life in general, it is also seen to configure societies in particular ways, and to generate particular values. This will be substantiated in four moves. First, the hydrological cycle and other elementals of water will be discussed. Second, we shall zoom in on rivers, transforming natural resources and social communities as they bend and twist. Third, we shall discuss artificially established canals, emulating natural flows, but having their own long-term social and political implications. Fourth, we shall focus on wells, providing nodal points of social life and potential conflict. The article ends with some observations on water as a theory-machine.