National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)
1 Park Place, Suite 300
Annapolis, MD 21401
Title: Climate change, water, and the social construction of risk
Abstract: Strongly influenced by climate change, global water-policy discourse has shifted from stressing optimal allocation and use of water resources to managing risks and unpredictability in the water sector. This ongoing project examines how water-sector experts construct an understanding of and interpret water-climate risks; how those understandings are embedded in the analytic tools used to make decisions around water infrastructure; and the resulting distributive consequences for people and communities exposed to climate/water risks. It asks: whose risks get managed? Three specific domains of water infrastructure, and the expert networks around them, serve as focal points: (1) water-aid programs to rural areas of the developing world for water/sanitation and small-scale productive water uses; (2) urban water infrastructure for drinking water/wastewater/stormwater management and disaster risk reduction; and (3) large dams and other water-storage projects. Empirical components in each case include key informant interviews, analysis of relevant decision tools addressing climate resilience, and place-based case studies.
Seminar presented by Ken Conca, National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) sabattical fellow and Professor in the School of International Service at American University.
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The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, funded through an award to the University of Maryland from the National Science Foundation, is a research center dedicated to accelerating data-driven scientific discovery at the interface of human and ecological systems. Visit us online at www.sesync.org and follow us on Twitter @SESYNC.