Dustin Garrick


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Markets and misfits in adaptive water governance: how agricultural markets shape water conflict and cooperation
Dustin Garrick, Fabiola Alvarado-Revilla, Rob de Loë, Isabel Jorgensen
Ecology and Society, Volume 27, Issue 4

Agricultural trade poses dilemmas for adaptive water governance as farmers and irrigation systems become integrated into global food value chains and are affected by their ongoing dynamics. The benefits and risks of agricultural trade and agrarian transitions are unevenly distributed, giving rise to complex interdependencies and externalities. Despite these growing linkages, the understanding of agricultural markets and their influence on water conflict and cooperation remains limited and dependent on context, which can lead to seemingly contradictory evidence. Progress has been hampered by boundary problems, disputed concepts, measurement issues, and divergent normative perspectives. Addressing these challenges will require that water governance scholars account more explicitly for agricultural trade when diagnosing collective action problems and assessing different modes of adaptive water governance. Drawing on the common-pool resource governance literature, we distinguish three separate, but interrelated, conceptual perspectives examining agricultural trade as an external factor in water governance: (1) market integration as a disturbance, (2) market integration as an opportunity, and (3) agricultural trade as a form of telecoupling with nested externalities. We compare these perspectives in terms of the externalities involved, their major claims about the relationship between market integration and collective action in the context of irrigation governance, and the broader implications for adaptive water governance. The comparison demonstrates the prevalence of institutional misfits and the common struggle of boundary shifting, i.e., matching water governance to the expanding problem-shed associated with agricultural markets. Institutional fit offers one important lens through which to consider the shifting boundaries (and actors) relevant for water governance, the scope and limits for strengthening fit through social learning, and the importance of nested governance to address nested externalities. These insights point the way for an agenda of research that examines the evolution of agricultural trade and adaptive water governance and pays explicit attention to the politics and power relations that shape who wins and loses and the different levers and entry points to improve management of the associated transitions and trade-offs. We conclude by arguing that future research should identify and examine pathways of adaptive water governance that strengthen processes of social learning and institutional nesting to address the external pressures and opportunities created by global food value chains.


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Understanding rivers and their social relations: A critical step to advance environmental water management
Elizabeth P. Anderson, Sue Jackson, Rebecca E. Tharme, Michael M. Douglas, Joseph E. Flotemersch, Margreet Zwarteveen, Chicu Lokgariwar, Mariana Montoya, Alaka Wali, Gail Tipa, Timothy D. Jardine, Julian D. Olden, Lin Cheng, John Conallin, Barbara Cosens, Chris Dickens, Dustin Garrick, David Groenfeldt, Jane Eleuter Kabogo, Dirk J. Roux, Albert Ruhí, Angela Arthington
WIREs Water, Volume 6, Issue 6

River flows connect people, places, and other forms of life, inspiring and sustaining diverse cultural beliefs, values, and ways of life. The concept of environmental flows provides a framework for improving understanding of relationships between river flows and people, and for supporting those that are mutually beneficial. Nevertheless, most approaches to determining environmental flows remain grounded in the biophysical sciences. The newly revised Brisbane Declaration and Global Action Agenda on Environmental Flows (2018) represents a new phase in environmental flow science and an opportunity to better consider the co-constitution of river flows, ecosystems, and society, and to more explicitly incorporate these relationships into river management. We synthesize understanding of relationships between people and rivers as conceived under the renewed definition of environmental flows. We present case studies from Honduras, India, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia that illustrate multidisciplinary, collaborative efforts where recognizing and meeting diverse flow needs of human populations was central to establishing environmental flow recommendations. We also review a small body of literature to highlight examples of the diversity and interdependencies of human-flow relationships-such as the linkages between river flow and human well-being, spiritual needs, cultural identity, and sense of place-that are typically overlooked when environmental flows are assessed and negotiated. Finally, we call for scientists and water managers to recognize the diversity of ways of knowing, relating to, and utilizing rivers, and to place this recognition at the center of future environmental flow assessments. This article is categorized under: Water and Life > Conservation, Management, and Awareness Human Water > Water Governance Human Water > Water as Imagined and Represented.