WSJUST Webinar Series: New and old watergates - Biophysical and water tenure controls on water access in conditions of scarcity

April 10, 2024, 16.00 - 17.00

New and old watergates: biophysical and water tenure controls on water access in conditions of scarcity

Water appropriation by different actors becomes controversial when it involves scarce water resources that support livelihoods, food security, or environmental functions. To date, some of the unique institutional and hydrological conditions that underlie water appropriations have not been fully recognized, which hinders the development of effective policies and governance mechanisms to safeguard the rights of those whose access to water is diminished by such appropriations. Previous research has often concentrated on water appropriations through land investments or water infrastructure while neglecting other subtler mechanisms associated with pollution, changes in land use, afforestation, land-atmosphere interactions, and irrigation technology. These methods frequently contribute to the reduction of water access for prior users, including rural communities, indigenous populations, women, and the environment, ultimately playing a pivotal role in eroding livelihoods, cultural identity, and environmental needs. This seminar will explore the relationship between water tenure arrangements and these overlooked hydrological mechanisms of water appropriation to critically assess their impact on water access.

Recommended Readings:

Chiarelli, D. D., D’Odorico, P., Müller, M. F., Mueller, N. D., Davis, K. F., Dell’Angelo, J., ... & Rulli, M. C. (2022). Competition for water induced by transnational land acquisitions for agriculture. Nature Communications, 13(1), 505 [link]

Jenkins, W., Rosa, L., Schmidt, J., Band, L., Beltran-Peña, A., Clarens, A., ... & D'Odorico, P. (2021). Values-based scenarios of water security: Rights to water, rights of waters, and commercial water rights. BioScience, 71(11), pp. 1157-1170 [link]

Tatlhego, M., & D’Odorico, P. (2022). Are African irrigation dam projects for large-scale agribusiness or small-scale farmers? Environmental Research Communications, 4(1), 015005 [link]

You can register for this session here.

0.5 ECTS credits after participation to more than 80% of the sessions and engagement with assigned readings

About the speaker

Paolo D’Odorico is the Thomas J. Graff Professor of Natural Resources in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Padova (Italy), has been postdoc at Texas A&M and Princeton, and professor at the University of Virginia until he moved to UC Berkeley in 2017. His research focuses on the role of hydrological processes in the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems and societies. His current work focuses on water security, the globalization of water, food and energy security, and water equity and justice.

This webinar is the opening session of the Water Security & Justice webinar series that takes place between 21 February and 1 May. Please visit this page to see more information about the series and the full program.