Go to the U of M home page
25 Years

International WaTERS Profiles

Featured Member Profiles

Javier Rodríguez Ros, PhD candidate in the Group of Water Management, Actors and Uses (G-EAU) at the Institute of Research for the Development (IRD), part of the NEWAVE project of the EU Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020 (H2020). In my research, I will examine the shifting power configurations that govern how and what solutions are proposed, financed, implemented and managed to respond to water challenges in the Segura and the Tagus River Basins in Spain. Throughout my career, I have worked with different NGOs and research centers in Latin America and Africa exploring water governance and its impacts on society and ecosystems. My collaboration with International WaTERS allowed me to take on research on groundwater governance in peri-urban areas of Lima. Based on an analysis of community-based organizations’ access to water, I studied the transition between poly-centric groundwater governance to central administration of water supply and sanitation. My research links with and informs wider studies and frameworks on river basin and multilevel governance, and on the political ecology of river basin development. By integrating my diverse experiences, which you can read more about on my website www.waterstories.es, I hope to shed light on water-human interaction and the conditions that facilitate social-ecological relationships.

Jaqueline Goldin, Extraordinary Professor in the Department of Earth Science at the University of Western Cape states the rewarding relationship with the University of British Columbia and the University of the Western Cape began in 2012 when she first met Professor Leila Harris in Minnesota: 

Leila has been an inspiration and a driving force as she forged significant and sustainable relationships between a wide range of researchers from UBC, Minnesota and the global south. Our common interests expand beyond water resources management, exploring themes of materiality, governance, gender and equity using qualitative and qualitative research methodologies. I treasure the very many shared debates, discussions and discourses around water, society and development concerns. Having worked in the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town for many years I was coined a ‘numerate’ anthropologist as I was working on large and small scale poverty and household surveys. It was here that I became particularly interested in affect and emotion.

My early work (2003) is on shame, power and politics and issues of exclusion specifically related to the water sector. Later I found the Capability Approach particularly relevant when considering human well-being, where affect and emotions as ‘intangible’ goods are of central interest. My choice has been to apply an ‘expanded’ CA, embracing feminist philosophers such as Marion Young, Nancy Fraser, Viv Bozalek and others who focus on issues of inclusion, equity and social justice that are central to work on water and society. My premise is that emotions drive human action – for example, boreholes are more likely to be vandalized when residents feel anger, despair, distrust. On the other hand, emotions such as hope, pride, joy etc. contribute to more sustainable ecosystems. I have become more and more interested in the concept of Citizen Science (CS) where the science/society dichotomy is replaced by a science/society partnership. The idea is to gain a more in-depth understanding of upstream/downstream interdependencies where CS is ‘authentic’ education enabling citizens to become custodians of data and actively contribute to the collection of telemetric data in remote rural settings such as the Hout Catchment, Limpopo Province, where I am currently working (research funded by DANIDA and the Water Research Commission). It is my 2020 wish that UWC will continue and strengthen its working relationship with International WaTERS through student exchanges, joint research projects, co-authored peer review journals and that together we will push the frontiers of science and deepen our understanding of climate change, gender, polycentric government, citizen science and social justice to achieve better natural resources management in the years to come with shared, bottom up knowledge regimes that promote inclusion and positive emotions such as pride and hope. Those interested in potential collaborations should feel free to contact me (I would be particularly interested in working with others in The Netherlands).

To read more about Jaqui’s work, please click here.

Anuradha Sajjanhar is currently entering her fifth year of her doctorate in Sociology at the University of Minnesota. Her dissertation studies how political parties and policymaking elites build claims to democratic legitimacy and technocratic credibility amidst shifting notions of "antiintellectual" expertise. Her research interrogates how policymaking and political elites shape dominant moral and political discourse in contemporary India. Prior to starting her Ph.D, Anuradha worked at Brookings India in New Delhi for several years. She has an MA in Sociology from the Delhi School of Economics, and a BA in English Literature from the University of York, UK.

To read more about Anuradha and her work please click here.

Andrea Beck, a PhD candidate in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, attended a short course on “Partnerships for Water Supply and Sanitation” at the IHE Delft in June 2018. During the three-week course, taught by Phil Torio, she presented parts of her dissertation research on Water Operators’ Partnerships (WOPs). WOPs are a partnership modality that promotes peer-to-peer learning and capacity building between water and sanitation operators. In contrast to public-private partnerships, WOPs are intended to unfold on a solidarity and not-for-profit basis. Drawing on data from a global online database maintained by UN-Habitat, Andrea’s analysis of more than 200 WOPs profiles shows that these partnerships have proliferated around the world, and that most of them are taking place between urban water and sanitation utilities in the global South. Attending the short course at the IHE has helped Andrea to further develop her project and lay out the next steps of her research. She says, “The course has been a tremendously beneficial experience. It has helped me contextualize WOPs within the history of partnerships in the water sector. While at the IHE, I have been able to speak with water professionals directly involved in WOPs. I have also been fortunate to discuss my ideas with IHE scholars that have looked at these partnerships for several years, in different parts of the world.” In the upcoming phase of her dissertation project, Andrea will investigate the dynamics of South-South knowledge exchange and capacity building in WOPs through case-study work in sub-Saharan Africa. By studying a number of partnerships in-depth, she hopes to shed light on the conditions that facilitate organizational learning and performance improvements, with a focus on justice and social equity. She will also explore whether the achievements of South-South WOPs might challenge conventional assumptions about urban infrastructure development and basic service provision in international development policy.

To read more about Andrea and her work please click here.

Cecilia Alda Vidal, a IW fellow at the University of Manchester, recently presented in the African Centre for Cities (ACC) International Urban Conference. The conference was celebrated the tenth anniversary of the ACC. Her presentation was part of a series of sessions organized by Kathleen Stokes (University of Manchester) and Nate Millington (University of Cape Town). Visit here for a summary The session: Urban political ecologies, working infrastructures, included presentations reflecting about the relationships between labor, infrastructure, and politics in cities of the findings from WaterPower (Universität Trier), an on-going collaborative research project that explores the dynamics of urbanization, resource governance, and global environmental presented his paper The climate crisis, carbon capital and urbanisation: An urban political ecology of low-carbon restructuring in Mbale. She says, "I presented findings from a paper co-authored with Michelle Kooy (IHE Delft) and Maria Rusca (King’s College London), Mapping operation and maintenance: an everyday Malawi. The presentation explored the production of different service levels within the networked water supply system in Lilongwe, Malawi. As in many other cities, in Lilongwe, one opens the tap. While some users receive water round-the-clock, those located in the low income areas of the city frequently face intermittent supply or lack of water of the water utility as they conduct daily operational and maintenance work and show how their routines and decisions contribute to produce a highly differentiated service. Inequalities the construction of infrastructure but through its daily operation and maintenance and reflect and reproduce other inequalities within the city. The conference was a very inspiring had the opportunity to attend excellent sessions and learn from the work other scholars and practitioners are doing on southern urbanisms. The conference was very well organized, and to discuss work in a friendly and stimulating environment. I have had really enjoyed it and came back refreshed and with lots of new ideas for my PhD project."

To read more about Cecilia and her work, please click here.

Amanda Gcanga completed her MSc in International Land and Management from Wageningen University in the Netherlands in 2014. For her MSc thesis, she conducted qualitative research in the field of smallholder irrigation schemes and business partnerships in Chikwawa District of Malawi. Upon completing her MSc she returned to South Africa and worked for the Centre for Water and Sanitation Research at Cape Peninsula University of Technology focusing on water allocation reforms at the Breede- Gouritz Catchment Management Agency. In 2017 she joined the Water Institute at Stellenbosch University to work on the SafeWaterAfrica Project and was also selected to participate in 2017 U.S.A International Visitor Leadership Program on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change. She is PhD fellow of the Southern African Systems Analysis programme, and is registered with the School of Public Leadership at Stellenbosch University. Her study entitled “Alternative Methods for Establishing Cooperative Water Governance: A case study of the Breede River, seeks to explore approaches for enabling multi-sectoral participation in the management of the Breede River basin, Western Cape Province, South Africa. She will focus on diversified stakeholder engagement practices to implement integrated water resources management approach. Through this study, she hopes to contribute to improvement of IWRM practises in Sub-Sharan Africa. Ultimately, over the coming years Amanda Gcanga hopes to bring her work to entirely innovative levels and contribute to the contentious and yet promising water reforms and other water governance interventions in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

To read more about Amanda and her work, please click here.

Professor Thomas A Perreault's work examines the relations between rural peoples, resource governance, and political economy in Andean South America. In particular, my recent research has focused on rural water governance in Bolivia. One focus of his work has been on the nexus of water, mining, rural livelihoods and environmental justice. This project examines the social and environmental implications of mine-related water contamination in the Department of Oruro, on the Bolivian Altiplano. This project examines three interrelated phenomena: (1) the ways that severe water contamination shapes the lives and livelihoods of indigenous and campesino populations downstream from mine sites; (2) the structures and processes of environmental governance through which water contamination and mining are managed; and (3) the forms of social mobilization that local populations engage in to seek remediation and compensation from mining companies and the Bolivian state. Previous research has concerned the political ecologies of natural gas extraction in eastern Bolivia, and the ways that gas development has taken on significance for national, and nationalist, politics; and rural water governance, state reform, and campesino politics in the Bolivian highlands.

To read more about Tom and his published work, please click here

Professor Frances Cleaver moved from King’s College, London to be Professor of Human Geography (Geographies of the Global South) at the University of Sheffield, UK. Her research interests focus on understanding the everyday ways that institutions work to shape the processes and outcomes of water governance, particularly at the local level. In this work, she has been developing the idea of institutional bricolage to explain why many local institutions (like waterpoint committees or water user associations) are hybrid arrangements which incorporate elements of tradition, practical norms and power relationships, as well as elements derived from bureaucratic models and state driven development. An interesting challenge of this research is finding the time/resources to undertake the in-depth fieldwork required to track institutional processes which may be both dynamic and opaque. Currently she is leading the social science elements of a multi-partner consortium project ‘Hidden Crisis: unraveling current failures for future success in rural groundwater supply’ which will be implemented with Wateraid and other partners in Malawi, Uganda and Ethiopia. One of the really interesting aspects of this project relates to how we, as social scientists, truly work together and generate insights with the other disciplines involved (hydrologists, systems modellers, engineers) rather than just working in parallel with them.

To read more about Frances and her published work, please click here

Matthijs Wessels is an MSc student International Land and Water Management (specialization in Irrigation and Water Management) at Wageningen UR, the Netherlands. Besides studies, he runs a small manufacturing shop in speaker systems, loves to travel and enjoys the beauty and diversity of nature and people to the fullest. From a sociotechnical perspective, he is interested in how water management can contribute to food security and equity in small-scale farming systems. Matthijs first did research on how rainwater harvesting can contribute as multiple-purpose structures in fighting water scarcity in a changing climate. Now, more focus is on understanding the potential of the reuse of water to ensure sustainable water resources management in the future. For his current research, he will be focusing on the link between urban water supply and rural productive use in Cape Town. The relation between water quality and irrigation management helps to understand how protection measures and risk management strategies have evolved and how risks can be minimized in the production-consumption chain.

Contact Matthijs here

Margreet Zwarteveen is Professor of Water Governance at UNESCO-IHE. Trained as both an irrigation engineer and a social scientist, Margreet is interested in water allocation policies and practices, focusing on questions of (gender-) equity and justice. In her current research, she looks at re-allocations of water from low to higher-value crops and from rural areas to cities and industries, asking how do these reallocations happen and with what social and environmental effects? In a project financed by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, she works with a number of colleagues from Benin, France and Morocco to study how the introduction of supposedly water efficient technologies (drip irrigation) is accompanied with, and causes, changes in water tenure relations and water distributions that favor some people more than others. An interesting new project that she is coordinating similarly sets out to explore how new investments in irrigation systems along the Nile in Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt re-allocate water and water-related benefits, tracing what this means for different groups of people and for ecosystems. This project is part of the CGIAR Water, Land and Ecosystems Program. In her work, Margreet favours an interdisciplinary approach, seeing water allocation as the outcome of interactions between nature, technologies and society.

To read more about Margreet and her published work, please click here

KJ Joy is a Senior Fellow with Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management (SOPPECOM), Pune, India. (www.soppecom.org). He has been an activist-researcher for more than 30 years and has worked as a full-time grassroots activist with Mukti Sangharsh Movement, South Maharashtra, for about eight years. He has worked with Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samithi (BGVS) in its watershed development and resource literacy programme. He was a Visiting Fellow with the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Environment and Development (CISED), Bangalore (now part of ATREE) and was a Fulbright Fellow with the University of California at Berkeley. He is an Executive Committee member of Indian Society for Ecological Economics (INSEE). He coordinates the national level network on water conflicts, “Forum for Policy Dialogue on Water Conflicts in India” (www.waterconflictforum.org). Presently he is also involved in the CoCoon-NWO research project, “Hydropower development in the context of climate change: Exploring conflicts and fostering cooperation across scales and boundaries in the Eastern Himalayas”. He has a special interest in people's institutions for natural resource management, especially water, both at the grassroots and policy levels. His other areas of interests include drought and drought proofing, participatory irrigation management, river basin management and multistakeholder processes, watershed based development, biodiversity, water conflicts and people’s movements. He has published extensively on water and development issues and his co-edited book, “Water Conflicts in India: A Million Revolts in the Making” (Routledge 2008) is considered as a major contribution to the water sector discourse in India.

To read more about Joy and his published work, please click here.

Gerardo Damonte, Ph.D in Anthropology. Gerardo is an Associated Professor at the Social Science Department of the Catholic University of Peru (PUCP), and a Principal Researcher in the Area of Natural Resources at the Group for the Analysis of Development (GRADE). Gerardo conducts research projects in three interrelated issues: extractive industries and rural society; water and inequalities and; social movements and territories. His research focuses on Latin America, in particular the central Andes. Gerardo has published books and several articles on his issues of interest following political ecology and political economy approaches. Currently, he coordinates a Master Program on Water Resources Management at the PUCP. In his spare time, he enjoying reading novels and watching movies.

Sameer Shah is a Ph.D. candidate at UBC's Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability; he is an active member of the EDGES Research Collaborative (Environment and Development: Gender, Equity, and Sustainability), and was a 2017-18 International WaTERS Graduate Fellow. Sameer's scholarship seeks to understand complex relationships between entrenched inequalities, resource sustainability, and environmental change. In particular, he analyzes how systemic marginalization and climate-related change interact to exacerbate uneven patterns of water insecurity, and linked food and income securities, for rural resource-based livelihoods, and advances interventions to address the underlying causes of environmental risk. His latest project examines the equitability and sustainability dimensions of state-led water conservation designed to protect villages from drought in Maharashtra (India).

Dr. Hans C. Komakech is currently the Director of WISE – Futures African Centre of Excellence and a Senior Lecturer at the Nelson Mandela African Institution for Science and Technology in Arusha, Tanzania. With a background in Civil Engineering and Water Governance, Hans studies a variety of water issues using an interdisciplinary approach and through mixed methods. His recent research projects focus on groundwater use in urban informal areas (see: Komakech & de Bont, 2018), farmer-led irrigation development (Woodhouse et al., 2017), agricultural water management, and surface and groundwater governance. Hans’s earlier work focused on the emergence of collective action and local water sharing arrangements. This work discussed how the interface between customary and formal rules shapes the dynamics of age-old community-based water systems (Komakech, 2013). Currently, Hans is involved in the Transformation to Groundwater Sustainability project (www.t2sgroundwater.org), which studies grassroots initiatives for groundwater governance, and a variety of studies on farmer-led irrigation development in Tanzania (www.safi-research.org), Mozambique, Uganda, and Rwanda. Additional publications can be found here.