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Moderating power: municipal interbasin groundwater transfers in Arizona

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The act of moving water across basins is a recent phenomenon in Arizona water policy. This thesis creates a narrative arc for understanding the long-term issues that set precedents for interbasin water transportation and the immediate causes--namely the passage of

The act of moving water across basins is a recent phenomenon in Arizona water policy. This thesis creates a narrative arc for understanding the long-term issues that set precedents for interbasin water transportation and the immediate causes--namely the passage of the seminal Groundwater Management Act (GMA) in 1980--that motivated Scottsdale, Mesa, and Phoenix to acquire rural farmlands in the mid-1980s with the intent of transporting the underlying groundwater back to their respective service areas in the immediate future. Residents of rural areas were active participants in not only the sales of these farmlands, but also in how municipalities would economically develop these properties in the years to come. Their role made these municipal "water farm" purchases function as exchanges. Fears about the impact of these properties and the water transportation they anticipated on communities-of-origin; the limited nature of economic, fiscal, and hydrologic data at the time; and the rise of private water speculators turned water farms into a major political controversy. The six years it took the legislature to wrestle with the problem at the heart this issue--the value of water to rural communities--were among its most tumultuous. The loss of key lawmakers involved in GMA negotiations, the impeachment of Governor Evan Mecham, and a bribery scandal called AZScam collectively sidetracked negotiations. Even more critical was the absence of a mutual recognition that these water farms posed a problem and the external pressure that had forced all parties involved in earlier groundwater-related negotiations to craft compromise. After cities and speculators failed to force a bill favorable to their interests in 1989, a re-alignment among blocs occurred: cities joined with rural interests to craft legislation that grandfathered in existing urban water farms and limited future water farms to several basins. In exchange, rural interests supported a bill to create a Phoenix-area groundwater replenishment district that enabled cooperative management of water supplies. These two bills, which were jointly signed into law in June 1991, tentatively resolved the water farm issue. The creation of a groundwater replenishment district that has subsidized growth in Maricopa, Pinal, and Pima Counties, the creation water bank to store unused Central Arizona Project water for times of drought, and a host of water conservation measures and water leases enabled by the passage of several tribal water rights settlements have set favorable conditions such that Scottsdale, Mesa, and Phoenix never had any reason to transport any water from their water farms. The legacy of these properties then is that they were the product of the intense urgency and uncertainty in urban planning premised on assumptions of growing populations and complementary, inelastic demand. But even as per capita water consumption has declined throughout the Phoenix-area, continued growth has increased demand, beyond the capacity of available supplies so that there will likely be a new push for rural water farms in the foreseeable future.

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2013

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Disconnected: investigating the social and political conditions shaping Mexico City's air quality regulatory environment

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Mexico City has an ongoing air pollution issue that negatively affects its citizens and surroundings with current structural disconnections preventing the city from improving its overall air quality. Thematic methodological analysis reveals current obstacles and barriers, as well as variables

Mexico City has an ongoing air pollution issue that negatively affects its citizens and surroundings with current structural disconnections preventing the city from improving its overall air quality. Thematic methodological analysis reveals current obstacles and barriers, as well as variables contributing to this persistent problem. A historical background reveals current programs and policies implemented to improve Mexico’s City air quality. Mexico City’s current systems, infrastructure, and policies are inadequate and ineffective. There is a lack of appropriate regulation on other modes of transportation, and the current government system fails to identify how the class disparity in the city and lack of adequate education are contributing to this ongoing problem. Education and adequate public awareness can potentially aid the fight against air pollution in the Metropolitan City.

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2018

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The Changing Tides of Bristol Bay: Salmon, Sovereignty, and Bristol Bay Natives

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Located in Southwest Alaska on the Bering Sea, Bristol Bay covers the area of land and water that lies north of the Alaska Peninsula. The Bristol Bay region consists of more than 40 million acres and is home to approximately

Located in Southwest Alaska on the Bering Sea, Bristol Bay covers the area of land and water that lies north of the Alaska Peninsula. The Bristol Bay region consists of more than 40 million acres and is home to approximately 7,400 people of mostly Alaska Native descent. Many Natives still maintain a subsistence lifestyle. The region’s Indigenous inhabitants include Aleuts, Eskimos, and Indians. Bristol Bay’s Indigenous cultures developed around the abundant salmon runs. The Bristol Bay watershed, with its extensive lake and river systems, provides the ideal breeding grounds for all five species of Pacific salmon. As a keystone species, salmon directly or indirectly impact many species in the ecosystem. This dissertation focuses on the ecology and environment, culture, and economy in the Bristol Bay salmon fishery from its beginnings in 1884 until the present. The arrival of Euro-Americans altered the human/salmon relationship as Alaska Natives entered the commercial salmon fishery. The commercial fishery largely marginalized Alaska Natives and they struggle to remain relevant in the fishery. Participation in the subsistence fishery remains strong and allows Bristol Bay Natives to continue their cultural traditions. On a global scale, the sustainable Bristol Bay’s salmon harvest provides over half of the world’s wild sockeye salmon. Salmon cultures once existed throughout the Atlantic and Pacific. With the decline of salmon, few viable salmon cultures remain today. I argue that because of the ecological, cultural, and economic factors, salmon in Bristol Bay deserve protection from competing resource development and other factors that threaten the valuable fishery. The unique ecology of Bristol Bay needs clean water to continue its bountiful production. As a member of the Bristol Bay community, I include my own experiences in the salmon fishery, incorporating “writing from home” as one of my primary methodologies. I also include ethnohistory and oral history methodologies. I conducted interviews with elders in the Bristol Bay community to incorporate Indigenous experiences as Natives faced changes brought on by the commercial salmon fishery.

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2019