Water: adaptive management for a wicked problem
Fri Jun 26 2015, 9:00am–10:30am, Room 15
TYPE OF SESSION
Full Presentation Panel
Waterbodies.org is an attempt to create a framework for curated crowd sourcing to raise the issue of collective consciousness about water as a life force and a reflection about the state of humanity.
Waterbodies.org is an extension of Victoria’s “Water Bowls” artwork installation “to a network of others working in the same realm.” Her concept approaches from the micro-macro point of view by employing the idea of the fourth state of water – “neither liquid, ice or vapor but ‘in an between molecular state’ - as an overarching framework and uses ports as human network nodes. She joined forces with Claudia to develop a network of artists, environmentalists, architects and scientists addressing issues and solutions related to water. Claudia’s research and experiments are in creating digital environments that derive from multiple interacting elements relating to each other through generative processes and becoming complex adaptive systems. Focusing on the complexity of water and the characteristics involved in the social networks around water, Claudia’s hope is to expand Victoria’s view so that in time waterbodies.org can translate data into knowledge, generate new knowledge relationships via data visualization, and bring human and water resources together across institutional, geographic, cultural, artistic, technological, and scientific boundaries.
Examining the role of antecedent values in the practice of adaptive management
It is argued that most environmental problems are of the “wicked” variety; that they are recursive in such a way that any solution will ultimately compound the problem to a degree. As such, when addressing environmental problems, we must avoid our traditional means-ends approach and foster a more adaptive process. That is, we must place more emphasis on the process over the problem, which could ultimately lead to a greater understanding of how we can arrive at, and ultimately fix, those things at the center of our environmental ailments. This conceptual reorientation is embodied in the practice of adaptive management, which calls for our social and political forces to be more responsive to deliberation and experimentation in policy implementation.
Unfortunately though, it seems that the application of adaptive management runs contrary to the way that both our political and social forces operate; that calls for resolution often drown-out those for experimentation and social learning. Motivated by research performed for a recently awarded INSPIRE grant centered on rethinking the remediation of contaminated groundwater sites [http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1344238], this paper seeks to address the ostensible failings of adaptive management in policy formation. I will suggest that central to the difficulties behind the application of adaptive management is the misguided assumption that policy formation can be accomplished without an appeal to antecedent values. Without this appeal, we lose an understanding of what it is that we hope to accomplish in our policy formation; the motivation behind the practice. I will argue that until we can arrive at a set of antecedent values – values that are converged upon by both our social and political forces - the abovementioned conceptual orientation can never truly take hold, and that as a society, we will continue to fall victim to the “wicked” problem.
Groundwater management across borders and climate change adaptation
This research explores different groundwater governance frameworks in the US, in Australia, in the EU and in India. It analyzes in detail how they regulate extractions, water level monitoring, contamination, water storage, replenishment, accountability and conflict resolution. It analyzes the decision making process, and the relationships with other water management agencies.
It is based on the increasing awareness that groundwater resources are going to be greatly affected by the concurrence of changing climate and demographic and economic trends. Changes in precipitation are very likely to affect land use changes in aquifer recharging areas and this, in turn, will affect groundwater availability in ways that are not well monitored or understood. Many groundwater basins, both in the US and elsewhere, lie across border lines and new regional conflicts on groundwater resources are very likely to emerge.
It is also grounded in the literature on institutions and climate change adaptation that claims that climate change adaptation is highly dependent on natural resources management. Any institutional arrangement that will handle adaptive processes needs to take into account three very important issues: the nature of the adaptive process, its scale and the society in which they are embedded. As adaptation is a continuous stream of activities, actions, decisions and attitudes that inform decisions and reflect existing social, institutions that will address adaptation will have to be able to address a continuously changing environment, to provide feedbacks regarding changes and to constantly redefine goals and policies.
The water paths: challenges in the international debates in question
Rodrigo De Freitas Espinoza
The present doctorate research aims to characterize the global crisis context in ways of using and accessing the water resource, considering the Worldwide Water Forums organized by the World Water Council. Based on the information taken from these documents produced by international debate arenas, this research has investigated how the uneven water distribution offers a specific dynamic for the debate among the national states representatives. Especially among the countries known as rich and poor, configuring a scenery in which the sociological perspective may present important contributions to analysis.
The present doctorate study has been showing that the discussion about water management is in a wrapper of specific technical and scientific knowledge, occupied mainly by the engineering areas. The study has been identifying a social-technical debate characterized by a symbolical violence dimension, which honors a type of determined knowledge. Consequently, it would be excluded from the debate agents which do not master this form of knowledge; this is, the domain of the economical nomination ways of environmental issues by groups and agents is one of the bases of social distinction with this area of international discussion. In this way, this research aims to investigate if the production of technical and scientific knowledge about the water and the political force itself within international organizations are more guided by economically stronger countries, thus promoting a hierarchical production statements about the topic. Referenced by the work of Boaventura de Sousa Santos and Michel Foucault, this research proposes to understand interpretively the knowledge production on water from the dominant epistemology of modernity, namely, the technical and scientific knowledge and economic rationality. The possible differences and conflicts present in the arenas of debate that could feature a binary between the West and the rest of the world were also investigated, as the analytical developments of authors such as Stuart Hall and Edward Said, consolidating possible relations of subordination and ownership of discourse.
However, the theoretical deepening of postcolonial and decolonial currents has been seen as a fundamental and necessary step for the development of this research.
Brandon Rudroff, University at Buffalo - SUNY
E-mail address (preferred) or phone number: email@example.com
Title of paper: Examining the role of antecedent values in the practice of adaptive management
Rodrigo De Freitas Espinoza, UC Berkeley
E-mail address (preferred) or phone number: firstname.lastname@example.org
Title of paper: The water paths: challenges in the international debates in question
Elena Maggioni, University of Southern California
E-mail address (preferred) or phone number: email@example.com
Title of paper: Groundwater management across borders and climate change adaptation
Victoria Vesna, PhD, UCLA
E-mail address (preferred) or phone number: firstname.lastname@example.org
Title of paper: Waterbodies.org
Claudia Jacques, SUNY Westchester Community College
E-mail address (preferred) or phone number: email@example.com
Title of paper: Waterbodies.org
CHAIR, FACILITATOR, OR MODERATORS
Victoria Vesna, PhD, UCLA
e-mail address (preferred) or phone number: firstname.lastname@example.org