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University of Arizona (2021)

Water Governance in Transboundary Arid Regions : Coordinating Across Jurisdictions and Resource Sectors

Albrecht, Tamee

Titre : Water Governance in Transboundary Arid Regions : Coordinating Across Jurisdictions and Resource Sectors

Auteur : Albrecht, Tamee

Université de soutenance : University of Arizona

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2021

Résumé partiel
Meeting multiple sectoral water demands is increasingly challenging in arid regions. Precipitation variability and increased temperatures driven by climate change are expected to contribute to longer dry seasons, more intense droughts, reduced runoff and degraded water quality. These trends threaten water availability for human consumption, irrigation and ecosystems in arid regions. Transboundary water contexts—where water resource systems cross political borders—confound these challenges and pose additional hurdles for effective water governance. In transboundary contexts, water governance can be complicated by incongruous institutional frameworks, uneven power dynamics and insufficient basin-wide coordination. This dissertation examines institutional responses to compound societal, political and climatic pressures on water resource systems. I explore water governance in multi-jurisdictional contexts in the arid Americas, with a focus on the Colorado River Basin. This dissertation asks : How can tradeoffs among multiple water uses be managed in transboundary basins ? What institutional responses across multiple levels are used in transboundary arid regions to address water governance challenges ? What are the opportunities for and limits to adapting to future change in the Colorado River Basin ? To answer these research questions, first, I critically analyze methods for assessing cross-sector resource governance via the systems-based, water-energy-food nexus approach using systematic literature review. Findings reveal a bias toward quantitative approaches and insufficient nexus-specific tools that integrate knowledge across sectors and disciplines. Four key features—innovation, collaboration, context and implementation—are derived as an analytical framework that is applied to identify examples of robust nexus approaches. These key features can guide further development of methods that align with the underlying principles of “nexus thinking” and address the social and political dimensions of water-energy-food system governance. Next, I combine comparative research at basin-wide and local scales to examine institutional responses to governance challenges in water-scarce environments. Based on comparative case studies of five transboundary water systems in locations across the arid Americas, this study describes how political and administrative borders complicate the pursuit of water security in arid regions and identifies how institutional arrangements and practices—within and across jurisdictions—are used to respond to these challenges. Findings highlight the role of national and subnational institutional capacity in supporting transboundary water security, for instance, through scientific data collection or policy implementation.

Mots clés : adaptive capacity arid regions institutions transboundary water governance water-energy-food nexus


Page publiée le 9 décembre 2021