Matching Items (42)

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Self-governance From Above: Principles of Polycentric Governance in Large-Scale Water Infrastructure

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Governance of complex social-ecological systems is partly characterized by processes of autonomous decision making and voluntary mutual adjustment by multiple authorities with overlapping jurisdictions. From a policy perspective, understanding these

Governance of complex social-ecological systems is partly characterized by processes of autonomous decision making and voluntary mutual adjustment by multiple authorities with overlapping jurisdictions. From a policy perspective, understanding these polycentric processes could provide valuable insight for solving environmental problems. Paradoxically, however, polycentric governance theory seems to proscribe conventional policy applications: the logic of polycentricity cautions against prescriptive, top-down interventions. Water resources governance, and large-scale water infrastructure systems in particular, offer a paradigm for interpretation of what Vincent Ostrom called the “counterintentional and counterintuitive patterns” of polycentricity. Nearly a century of philosophical inquiry and a generation of governance research into polycentricity, and the overarching institutional frameworks within which polycentric processes operate, provide context for this study. Based on a historically- and theoretically-grounded understanding of water systems as a polycentric paradigm, I argue for a realist approach to operationalizing principles of polycentricity for contribution to policy discourses. Specifically, this requires an actor-centered approach that mobilizes subjective experiences, knowledge, and narratives about contingent decision making.

I use the case of large-scale water infrastructure in Arizona to explore a novel approach to measurement of polycentric decision making contexts. Through semi-structured interviews with water operators in the Arizona water system, this research explores how qualitative and quantitative comparisons can be made between polycentric governance constructs as they are understood by institutional scholars, experienced by actors in polycentric systems, and represented in public policy discourses. I introduce several measures of conditions of polycentricity at a subjective level, including the extents to which actors: experience variety in the work assigned to them; define strong operational priorities; perceive their priorities to be shared by others; identify discrete, critical decisions in the course of their work responsibilities; recall information and action dependencies in their decision making processes; relate communicating their decisions to other dependent decision makers; describe constraints in their process; and evaluate their own independence to make decisions. I use configurational analysis and narrative analysis to show how decision making and governance are understood by operators within the Arizona water system. These results contribute to practical approaches for diagnosis of polycentric systems and theory-building in self governance.

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  • 2020

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Direct Solar–powered Membrane Distillation for Small–scale Desalination Applications

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Water desalination has become one of the viable solutions to provide drinking water in regions with limited natural resources. This is particularly true in small communities in arid regions, which

Water desalination has become one of the viable solutions to provide drinking water in regions with limited natural resources. This is particularly true in small communities in arid regions, which suffer from low rainfall, declining surface water and increasing salinity of groundwater. Yet, current desalination methods are difficult to be implemented in these areas due to their centralized large-scale design. In addition, these methods require intensive maintenance, and sometimes do not operate in high salinity feedwater. Membrane distillation (MD) is one technology that can potentially overcome these challenges and has received increasing attention in the last 15 years. The driving force of MD is the difference in vapor pressure across a microporous hydrophobic membrane. Compared to conventional membrane-based technologies, MD can treat high concentration feedwater, does not need intensive pretreatment, and has better fouling resistance. More importantly, MD operates at low feed temperatures and so it can utilize low–grade heat sources such as solar energy for its operation. While the integration of solar energy and MD was conventionally indirect (i.e. by having two separate systems: a solar collector and an MD module), recent efforts were focused on direct integration where the membrane itself is integrated within a solar collector aiming to have a more compact, standalone design suitable for small-scale applications. In this dissertation, a comprehensive review of these efforts is discussed in Chapter 2. Two novel direct solar-powered MD systems were proposed and investigated experimentally: firstly, a direct contact MD (DCMD) system was designed by placing capillary membranes within an evacuated tube solar collector (ETC) (Chapter 3), and secondly, a submerged vacuum MD (S-VMD) system that uses circulation and aeration as agitation techniques was investigated (Chapter 4). A maximum water production per absorbing area of 0.96 kg·m–2·h–1 and a thermal efficiency of 0.51 were achieved. A final study was conducted to investigate the effect of ultrasound in an S-VMD unit (Chapter 5), which significantly enhanced the permeate flux (up to 24%) and reduced the specific energy consumption (up to 14%). The results add substantially to the understanding of integrating ultrasound with different MD processes.

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  • 2020

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Modeling soil moisture dynamics of landscape irrigation in desert cities

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The history of outdoor water use in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area has given rise to a general landscape aesthetic and pattern of residential irrigation that seem in discord with

The history of outdoor water use in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area has given rise to a general landscape aesthetic and pattern of residential irrigation that seem in discord with the natural desert environment. While xeric landscaping that incorporates native desert ecology has potential for reducing urban irrigation demand, there are societal and environmental factors that make mesic landscaping, including shade trees and grass lawns, a common choice for residential yards. In either case, there is potential for water savings through irrigation schedules based on fluxes affecting soil moisture in the active plant rooting zone. In this thesis, a point-scale model of soil moisture dynamics was applied to two urban sites in the Phoenix area: one with xeric landscaping, and one with mesic. The model was calibrated to observed soil moisture data from irrigated and non-irrigated sensors, with local daily precipitation and potential evapotranspiration records as model forcing. Simulations were then conducted to investigate effects of irrigation scheduling, plant stress parameters, and precipitation variability on soil moisture dynamics, water balance partitioning, and plant water stress. Results indicated a substantial difference in soil water storage capacity at the two sites, which affected sensitivity to irrigation scenarios. Seasonal variation was critical in avoiding unproductive water losses at the xeric site, and allowed for small water savings at the mesic site by maintaining mild levels of plant stress. The model was also used to determine minimum annual irrigation required to achieve specified levels of plant stress at each site using long-term meteorological records. While the xeric site showed greater potential for water savings, a bimodal schedule consisting of low winter and summer irrigation was identified as a means to conserve water at both sites, with moderate levels of plant water stress. For lower stress levels, potential water savings were found by fixing irrigation depth and seasonally varying the irrigation interval, consistent with municipal recommendations in the Phoenix metropolitan area. These results provide a deeper understanding of the ecohydrologic differences between the two types of landscape treatments, and can assist water and landscape managers in identifying opportunities for water savings in desert urban areas.

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  • 2013

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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

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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Quenching our thirst for future knowledge: participatory scenario construction and sustainable water governance in a desert city

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Transformational sustainability science demands that stakeholders and researchers consider the needs and values of future generations in pursuit of solutions to sustainability problems. This dissertation research focuses on the real-world

Transformational sustainability science demands that stakeholders and researchers consider the needs and values of future generations in pursuit of solutions to sustainability problems. This dissertation research focuses on the real-world problem of unsustainable water governance in the Phoenix region of Central Arizona. A sustainability transition is the local water system is necessary to overcome sustainability challenges and scenarios can be used to explore plausible and desirable futures to inform a transition, but this requires some methodological refinements. This dissertation refines scenario methodology to generate water governance scenarios for metropolitan Phoenix that: (i) feature enhanced stakeholder participation; (ii) incorporate normative values and preferences; (iii) focus on governance actors and their activities; and (iv) meet an expanded set of quality criteria. The first study in the dissertation analyzes and evaluates participatory climate change scenarios to provide recommendations for the construction and use of scenarios that advance climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. The second study proposes and tests a set of plausibility indications to substantiate or evaluate claims that scenarios and future projections could become reality, helping to establish the legitimacy of radically different or transformative scenarios among an extended peer community. The case study of water governance begins with the third study, which includes a current state analysis and sustainability appraisal of the Phoenix-area water system. This is followed by a fourth study which surveys Phoenix-area water decision-makers to better understand water-related preferences for use in scenario construction. The fifth and final study applies a multi-method approach to construct future scenarios of water governance in metropolitan Phoenix in 2030 using stakeholder preferences, among other normative frames, and testing systemic impacts with WaterSim 5.0, a dynamic simulation model of water in the region. The scenarios are boundary objects around which stakeholders can weigh tradeoffs, set priorities and reflect on impacts of water-related activities, broadening policy dialogues around water governance in central Arizona. Together the five studies advance transformational sustainability research by refining methods to engage stakeholders in crafting futures that define how individuals and institutions should operate in transformed and sustainable systems.

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  • 2014

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Toward sustainable governance of water resources: the case of Guanacaste, Costa Rica

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Research shows that many water governance regimes are failing to guide social-ecological systems away from points, beyond which, damage to social and environmental well-being will be difficult to correct. This

Research shows that many water governance regimes are failing to guide social-ecological systems away from points, beyond which, damage to social and environmental well-being will be difficult to correct. This problem is apparent in regions that face water conflicts and climate threats. There remains a need to clarify what is it about governance that people need to change in water conflict prone regions, how to collectively go about doing that, and how research can actively support this. To address these needs, here I present a collaborative research project from the dry tropics of Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica. The project addressed the overarching questions: How can water be governed sustainably in water-contested and climate-threatened regions? And, how can people transition current water governance regimes toward more sustainable ones? In pursuit of these questions, a series of individual studies were performed with many partners and collaborators. These studies included: a participatory analysis and sustainability assessment of current water governance regimes; a case analysis and comparison of water conflicts; constructing alternative governance scenarios; and, developing governance transition strategies. Results highlight the need for water governance that addresses asymmetrical knowledge gaps especially concerning groundwater resources, reconciles disenfranchised groups, and supports local leaders. Yet, actions taken based on these initial results, despite some success influencing policy, found substantial challenges confronting them. In-depth conflict investigations, for example, found that deeply rooted issues such friction between opposing local-based and national institutions were key conflict drivers in the region. To begin addressing these issues, researchers and stakeholders then constructed a set of governing alternatives and devised governance transition strategies that could actively support people to achieve more sustainable alternatives and avoid less sustainable ones. These efforts yielded insight into the collective actions needed to implement more sustainable water governance regimes, including ways to overcoming barriers that drive harmful water conflicts. Actions based on these initial strategies yielded further opportunities, challenges, and lessons. Overall, the project addresses the research and policy gap between identifying what is sustainable water governance and understanding the strategies needed to implement it successfully in regions that experience water conflict and climate impacts.

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  • 2014

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Relationship between single-family residential water use and its determinants: a spatio-temporal study of Phoenix, Arizona

Description

The dynamics of urban water use are characterized by spatial and temporal variability that is influenced by associated factors at different scales. Thus it is important to capture the relationshi

The dynamics of urban water use are characterized by spatial and temporal variability that is influenced by associated factors at different scales. Thus it is important to capture the relationship between urban water use and its determinants in a spatio-temporal framework in order to enhance understanding and management of urban water demand. This dissertation aims to contribute to understanding the spatio-temporal relationships between single-family residential (SFR) water use and its determinants in a desert city. The dissertation has three distinct papers to support this goal. In the first paper, I demonstrate that aggregated scale data can be reliably used to study the relationship between SFR water use and its determinants without leading to significant ecological fallacy. The usability of aggregated scale data facilitates scientific inquiry about SFR water use with more available aggregated scale data. The second paper advances understanding of the relationship between SFR water use and its associated factors by accounting for the spatial and temporal dependence in a panel data setting. The third paper of this dissertation studies the historical contingency, spatial heterogeneity, and spatial connectivity in the relationship of SFR water use and its determinants by comparing three different regression models. This dissertation demonstrates the importance and necessity of incorporating spatio-temporal components, such as scale, dependence, and heterogeneity, into SFR water use research. Spatial statistical models should be used to understand the effects of associated factors on water use and test the effectiveness of certain management policies since spatial effects probably will significantly influence the estimates if only non-spatial statistical models are used. Urban water demand management should pay attention to the spatial heterogeneity in predicting the future water demand to achieve more accurate estimates, and spatial statistical models provide a promising method to do this job.

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  • 2013

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Institutional analysis of water management for agriculture in the Chancay-Lambayeque basin, Peru

Description

This research presents an analysis of the main institutions and economic incentives that drive farmers behaviors on water use in the Chancay-Lambayeque basin, located in Lambayeque (Peru), a semi arid

This research presents an analysis of the main institutions and economic incentives that drive farmers behaviors on water use in the Chancay-Lambayeque basin, located in Lambayeque (Peru), a semi arid area of great agricultural importance. I focus my research on identifying the underlying causes of non-collaborative behaviors in regard to water appropriation and infrastructure provisioning decision that generates violent conflicts between users. Since there is not an agreed and concrete criteria to assess "sustainability" I used economic efficiency as my evaluative criteria because, even though this is not a sufficient condition to achieve sustainability it is a necessary one, and thus achieving economic efficiency is moving towards sustainable outcomes. Water management in the basin is far from being economic efficient which means that there is some room for improving social welfare. Previous studies of the region have successfully described the symptoms of this problem; however, they did not focus their study on identifying the causes of the problem. In this study, I describe and analyze how different rules and norms (institutions) define farmers behaviors related to water use. For this, I use the Institutional Analysis and Development framework and a dynamic game theory model to analyze how biophysical attributes, community attributes and rules of the system combined with other factors, can affect farmers actions in regard to water use and affect the sustainability of water resources. Results show that water rights are the factor that is fundamental to the problem. Then, I present an outline for policy recommendation, which includes a revision of water rights and related rules and policies that could increase the social benefits with the use of compensation mechanisms to reach economic efficiency. Results also show that commonly proposed solutions, as switch to less water intensive and more added value crops, improvement in the agronomic and entrepreneurial knowledge, or increases in water tariffs, can mitigate or exacerbate the loss of benefits that come from the poor incentives in the system; but they do not change the nature of the outcome.

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  • 2013

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Embedded resource accounting with applications to water embedded in energy trade in the western U.S

Description

Water resource management is becoming increasingly burdened by uncertain and fluctuating conditions resulting from climate change and population growth which place increased demands on already strained resources. Innovative water management

Water resource management is becoming increasingly burdened by uncertain and fluctuating conditions resulting from climate change and population growth which place increased demands on already strained resources. Innovative water management schemes are necessary to address the reality of available water supplies. One such approach is the substitution of trade in virtual water for the use of local water supplies. This study provides a review of existing work in the use of virtual water and water footprint methods. Virtual water trade has been shown to be a successful method for addressing water scarcity and decreasing overall water consumption by shifting high water consumptive processes to wetter regions. These results however assume that all water resource supplies are equivalent regardless of physical location and they do not tie directly to economic markets. In this study we introduce a new mathematical framework, Embedded Resource Accounting (ERA), which is a synthesis of several different analytical methods presently used to quantify and describe human interactions with the economy and the natural environment. We define the specifics of the ERA framework in a generic context for the analysis of embedded resource trade in a way that links directly with the economics of that trade. Acknowledging the cyclical nature of water and the abundance of actual water resources on Earth, this study addresses fresh water availability within a given region. That is to say, the quantities of fresh water supplies annually available at acceptable quality for anthropogenic uses. The results of this research provide useful tools for water resource managers and policy makers to inform decision making on, (1) reallocation of local available fresh water resources, and (2) strategic supplementation of those resources with outside fresh water resources via the import of virtual water.

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  • 2013

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The shift of precipitation maxima on the annual maximum series using regional climate model precipitation data

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Ten regional climate models (RCMs) and atmosphere-ocean generalized model parings from the North America Regional Climate Change Assessment Program were used to estimate the shift of extreme precipitation due to

Ten regional climate models (RCMs) and atmosphere-ocean generalized model parings from the North America Regional Climate Change Assessment Program were used to estimate the shift of extreme precipitation due to climate change using present-day and future-day climate scenarios. RCMs emulate winter storms and one-day duration events at the sub-regional level. Annual maximum series were derived for each model pairing, each modeling period; and for annual and winter seasons. The reliability ensemble average (REA) method was used to qualify each RCM annual maximum series to reproduce historical records and approximate average predictions, because there are no future records. These series determined (a) shifts in extreme precipitation frequencies and magnitudes, and (b) shifts in parameters during modeling periods. The REA method demonstrated that the winter season had lower REA factors than the annual season. For the winter season the RCM pairing of the Hadley regional Model 3 and the Geophysical Fluid-Dynamics Laboratory atmospheric-land generalized model had the lowest REA factors. However, in replicating present-day climate, the pairing of the Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics' Regional Climate Model Version 3 with the Geophysical Fluid-Dynamics Laboratory atmospheric-land generalized model was superior. Shifts of extreme precipitation in the 24-hour event were measured using precipitation magnitude for each frequency in the annual maximum series, and the difference frequency curve in the generalized extreme-value-function parameters. The average trend of all RCM pairings implied no significant shift in the winter annual maximum series, however the REA-selected models showed an increase in annual-season precipitation extremes: 0.37 inches for the 100-year return period and for the winter season suggested approximately 0.57 inches for the same return period. Shifts of extreme precipitation were estimated using predictions 70 years into the future based on RCMs. Although these models do not provide climate information for the intervening 70 year period, the models provide an assertion on the behavior of future climate. The shift in extreme precipitation may be significant in the frequency distribution function, and will vary depending on each model-pairing condition. The proposed methodology addresses the many uncertainties associated with the current methodologies dealing with extreme precipitation.

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  • 2013