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Accueil du site → Doctorat → États-Unis → 2019 → The social impact of technology and mega-infrastructures to mitigate drought : a case study of changes in social capital associated with the São Francisco Inter-Basin Water Transfer in the semiarid region of Brazil

University of Delaware (2019)

The social impact of technology and mega-infrastructures to mitigate drought : a case study of changes in social capital associated with the São Francisco Inter-Basin Water Transfer in the semiarid region of Brazil

Lopes Ribeiro, Flavio

Titre : The social impact of technology and mega-infrastructures to mitigate drought : a case study of changes in social capital associated with the São Francisco Inter-Basin Water Transfer in the semiarid region of Brazil

Auteur : Lopes Ribeiro, Flavio

Université de soutenance  : University of Delaware

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy in Disaster Science and Management 2019

Résumé partiel
Droughts affect more people in Brazil than any other hazard. To mitigate the impacts of drought on the most vulnerable population of the country, the federal government invested $2,5 billion in the São Francisco Inter-Basin Water Transfer (SFIWT). Inter-basin water transfer is a common strategy to increase water availability in arid and semiarid regions of the world. It consists on transporting water from a river basin with water availability to another with water shortage. While these mega-infrastructures can increase the amount of freshwater in dry areas, they can also cause unforeseen social, economic, and environmental changes, sometimes with catastrophic results. Nevertheless, the social impact of inter-basin water transfers is still an understudied area. To fill this gap, this research uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods to measure the impact of the SFIWT in the social capital of the driest region of Brazil, known as the Cariri. Social capital was selected for presenting the potential to reveal changes in the social dynamics and, at the same time, in the local capacity to cope with droughts. Evidence from different disasters has shown that social capital is a vital part of community efforts to mitigate, prepare, respond, and recover from disasters. In the Cariri, a contextual analysis revealed that social capital played an important role in accessing and controlling local natural resources, including water from the SFIWT. The control over local natural resources was historically gained through social capital and nowadays is maintained by social and political relationship to increase profits and political influence.

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