Reductionist and integrative research approaches to complex water security policy challenges

Mark Zeitoun, Bruce Lankford, Tobias Krueger, Tim Forsyth, Richard Carter, Arjen Y. Hoekstra, Richard Taylor, Olli Varis, Frances Cleaver, Rutgerd Boelens, Larry Swatuk, David Tickner, Christopher A Scott, Naho Mirumachi, Nathanial Matthews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article reviews and contrasts two approaches that water security researchers employ to advance understanding of the complexity of water-society policy challenges. A prevailing reductionist approach seeks to represent uncertainty through calculable risk, links national GDP tightly to hydro-climatological causes, and underplays diversity and politics in society. When adopted uncritically, this approach limits policy-makers to interventions that may reproduce inequalities, and that are too rigid to deal with future changes in society and climate. A second, more integrative, approach is found to address a range of uncertainties, explicitly recognise diversity in society and the environment, incorporate water resources that are less-easily controlled, and consider adaptive approaches to move beyond conventional supply-side prescriptions. The resultant policy recommendations are diverse, inclusive, and more likely to reach the marginalised in society, though they often encounter policy-uptake obstacles. The article concludes by defining a route towards more effective water security research and policy, which stresses analysis that matches the state of knowledge possessed, an expanded research agenda, and explicitly addresses inequities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-154
Number of pages12
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Volume39
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

Fingerprint

security policy
research approach
water
uncertainty
stress analysis
Gross Domestic Product
medication
politics
water resource
Society
society
policy
climate
supply
cause
resources

Keywords

  • Eco-sociological challenges
  • Environmental complexity
  • Uncertainty
  • Water conflicts
  • Water security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Global and Planetary Change

Cite this

Zeitoun, M., Lankford, B., Krueger, T., Forsyth, T., Carter, R., Hoekstra, A. Y., ... Matthews, N. (2016). Reductionist and integrative research approaches to complex water security policy challenges. Global Environmental Change, 39, 143-154. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2016.04.010

Reductionist and integrative research approaches to complex water security policy challenges. / Zeitoun, Mark; Lankford, Bruce; Krueger, Tobias; Forsyth, Tim; Carter, Richard; Hoekstra, Arjen Y.; Taylor, Richard; Varis, Olli; Cleaver, Frances; Boelens, Rutgerd; Swatuk, Larry; Tickner, David; Scott, Christopher A; Mirumachi, Naho; Matthews, Nathanial.

In: Global Environmental Change, Vol. 39, 01.07.2016, p. 143-154.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Zeitoun, M, Lankford, B, Krueger, T, Forsyth, T, Carter, R, Hoekstra, AY, Taylor, R, Varis, O, Cleaver, F, Boelens, R, Swatuk, L, Tickner, D, Scott, CA, Mirumachi, N & Matthews, N 2016, 'Reductionist and integrative research approaches to complex water security policy challenges', Global Environmental Change, vol. 39, pp. 143-154. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2016.04.010
Zeitoun, Mark ; Lankford, Bruce ; Krueger, Tobias ; Forsyth, Tim ; Carter, Richard ; Hoekstra, Arjen Y. ; Taylor, Richard ; Varis, Olli ; Cleaver, Frances ; Boelens, Rutgerd ; Swatuk, Larry ; Tickner, David ; Scott, Christopher A ; Mirumachi, Naho ; Matthews, Nathanial. / Reductionist and integrative research approaches to complex water security policy challenges. In: Global Environmental Change. 2016 ; Vol. 39. pp. 143-154.
@article{df30fd9e87474e7391ce62838b83108c,
title = "Reductionist and integrative research approaches to complex water security policy challenges",
abstract = "This article reviews and contrasts two approaches that water security researchers employ to advance understanding of the complexity of water-society policy challenges. A prevailing reductionist approach seeks to represent uncertainty through calculable risk, links national GDP tightly to hydro-climatological causes, and underplays diversity and politics in society. When adopted uncritically, this approach limits policy-makers to interventions that may reproduce inequalities, and that are too rigid to deal with future changes in society and climate. A second, more integrative, approach is found to address a range of uncertainties, explicitly recognise diversity in society and the environment, incorporate water resources that are less-easily controlled, and consider adaptive approaches to move beyond conventional supply-side prescriptions. The resultant policy recommendations are diverse, inclusive, and more likely to reach the marginalised in society, though they often encounter policy-uptake obstacles. The article concludes by defining a route towards more effective water security research and policy, which stresses analysis that matches the state of knowledge possessed, an expanded research agenda, and explicitly addresses inequities.",
keywords = "Eco-sociological challenges, Environmental complexity, Uncertainty, Water conflicts, Water security",
author = "Mark Zeitoun and Bruce Lankford and Tobias Krueger and Tim Forsyth and Richard Carter and Hoekstra, {Arjen Y.} and Richard Taylor and Olli Varis and Frances Cleaver and Rutgerd Boelens and Larry Swatuk and David Tickner and Scott, {Christopher A} and Naho Mirumachi and Nathanial Matthews",
year = "2016",
month = "7",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2016.04.010",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "39",
pages = "143--154",
journal = "Global Environmental Change",
issn = "0959-3780",
publisher = "Elsevier Limited",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Reductionist and integrative research approaches to complex water security policy challenges

AU - Zeitoun, Mark

AU - Lankford, Bruce

AU - Krueger, Tobias

AU - Forsyth, Tim

AU - Carter, Richard

AU - Hoekstra, Arjen Y.

AU - Taylor, Richard

AU - Varis, Olli

AU - Cleaver, Frances

AU - Boelens, Rutgerd

AU - Swatuk, Larry

AU - Tickner, David

AU - Scott, Christopher A

AU - Mirumachi, Naho

AU - Matthews, Nathanial

PY - 2016/7/1

Y1 - 2016/7/1

N2 - This article reviews and contrasts two approaches that water security researchers employ to advance understanding of the complexity of water-society policy challenges. A prevailing reductionist approach seeks to represent uncertainty through calculable risk, links national GDP tightly to hydro-climatological causes, and underplays diversity and politics in society. When adopted uncritically, this approach limits policy-makers to interventions that may reproduce inequalities, and that are too rigid to deal with future changes in society and climate. A second, more integrative, approach is found to address a range of uncertainties, explicitly recognise diversity in society and the environment, incorporate water resources that are less-easily controlled, and consider adaptive approaches to move beyond conventional supply-side prescriptions. The resultant policy recommendations are diverse, inclusive, and more likely to reach the marginalised in society, though they often encounter policy-uptake obstacles. The article concludes by defining a route towards more effective water security research and policy, which stresses analysis that matches the state of knowledge possessed, an expanded research agenda, and explicitly addresses inequities.

AB - This article reviews and contrasts two approaches that water security researchers employ to advance understanding of the complexity of water-society policy challenges. A prevailing reductionist approach seeks to represent uncertainty through calculable risk, links national GDP tightly to hydro-climatological causes, and underplays diversity and politics in society. When adopted uncritically, this approach limits policy-makers to interventions that may reproduce inequalities, and that are too rigid to deal with future changes in society and climate. A second, more integrative, approach is found to address a range of uncertainties, explicitly recognise diversity in society and the environment, incorporate water resources that are less-easily controlled, and consider adaptive approaches to move beyond conventional supply-side prescriptions. The resultant policy recommendations are diverse, inclusive, and more likely to reach the marginalised in society, though they often encounter policy-uptake obstacles. The article concludes by defining a route towards more effective water security research and policy, which stresses analysis that matches the state of knowledge possessed, an expanded research agenda, and explicitly addresses inequities.

KW - Eco-sociological challenges

KW - Environmental complexity

KW - Uncertainty

KW - Water conflicts

KW - Water security

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84971268381&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84971268381&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2016.04.010

DO - 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2016.04.010

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84971268381

VL - 39

SP - 143

EP - 154

JO - Global Environmental Change

JF - Global Environmental Change

SN - 0959-3780

ER -