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Lund University (2019)

Differentiated vulnerabilities and capacities for adaptation : A case study on household adaptation to water shortage in Gaborone

Schlamovitz, Josefine Lund

Titre : Differentiated vulnerabilities and capacities for adaptation : A case study on household adaptation to water shortage in Gaborone

Auteur : Schlamovitz, Josefine Lund

Université de soutenance : Lund University

Grade : H2 - Master’s Degree (Two Years) 2019

Résumé
Provision of freshwater to urban residents remains a significant global challenge. A challenge whose impendent success in many regions is further threatened by climate change and urbanization projections, subsequently increasing the pressure on urban water supply. Employing an intersectional lens, this case study explores household implications of and responses to water shortage in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, with special attention to residents’ differentiated adaptive capacities and vulnerabilities. Informed by 58 interviews with residents and key informants, the research illustrates the intricacies of household adaptation to water shortage. The study finds that households from all socio-economic backgrounds face numerous implications vis-à-vis water shortage among others : disruption of lives and livelihoods, direct and indirect health challenges as well as social exclusion and embarrassment. To reduce exposure and impact, households engage in various coping and adaptive strategies most notably : water conservation efforts, storage, investment in structural equipment and finding alternative sources. The choice of which to engage in is however dependent on a household’s adaptive capacity and vulnerability – properties that this research finds are not uniformly distributed between the participants or within their associated social groups. Utilizing intersectionality as a heuristic device when analyzing the narratives of the participants allows for an exploration of the underlying reasons for the participants’ differentiated vulnerabilities and capacities for adaptation. It is argued that the intersection and interplay of identity markers such as gender, nationality, age and socio-economic background coupled with the contextual factors of health, caregiving, unemployment and land and housing tenure influence the adaptive capacity and vulnerability of the participants. Concludingly, the study posits intersectionality as a helpful framework, as it enables a multidimensional analysis identifying asymmetrical power relations at various levels that either enable or delimit individual agency in adaptation to water shortage.

Mots Clés  : Adaptive Capacity, Botswana, Climate Change Adaptation, Gaborone, Intersectionality, Vulnerability, Water Shortage.

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Page publiée le 5 juin 2020