Desalination and Development: The Socioecological and Technological Transformation of the Gulf of California

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/301684
Title:
Desalination and Development: The Socioecological and Technological Transformation of the Gulf of California
Author:
McEvoy, Jamie Perdue
Issue Date:
2013
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
The provision of freshwater, particularly in urbanizing arid regions facing increased variability in precipitation patterns due to climate change, is one of the greatest challenges. Desalination--the conversion of seawater or brackish water to potable water--offers a potentially "limitless" supply of this vital resource. The preference for desalination, as an innovative, supply-side water augmentation option is gaining traction worldwide, including in northwestern Mexico. In arid regions, where water is a limiting factor to increased production and growth and nearly every drop of water is contested, a new technology that augments water supplies is likely to engender vast social, economic, institutional, and environmental transformations. Through an in-depth study of water management in the context of global climate change in northwestern Mexico, this dissertation examines the factors that lead to the adoption of desalination technology and assesses how the technology affects the communities where it is implemented. In seeking to understand the (potential) transformations and complex imbrications of this technology within the socioecological system in which it operates, four themes have emerged, including: 1) The best path towards improved water management is through investments in both infrastructure and institutions (i.e., governance); 2) Despite the real and urgent need to address the negative impacts of climate change on water resources, desalination should be considered as a "last resort"; 3) While desalination can increase water security at certain scales, it also introduces new vulnerabilities; and 4) While discursively, Mexico's water policy embraces principles of contemporary environmental governance (i.e., decentralization, public participation, and sustainability), these principles have yet to be fully implemented in practice. Policy recommendations include integrating land use and water planning, improving monitoring and regulation of groundwater extraction, increasing capacity building within water and planning agencies, and pre-conditioning desalination (or other supply-side water infrastructure projects) upon the successful implementation of a range of water conservation and system efficiency measures. Without such measures, increased water availability is likely to encourage additional growth, rather than resource conservation. Specific findings and contributions of this dissertation to the field of human-environment geography are discussed at the end of chapter two and in the appended articles.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Development; Gulf of California; Human-Environment Geography; Mexico; Water Management; Geography; Desalination
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Geography
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Wilder, Margaret

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleDesalination and Development: The Socioecological and Technological Transformation of the Gulf of Californiaen_US
dc.creatorMcEvoy, Jamie Perdueen_US
dc.contributor.authorMcEvoy, Jamie Perdueen_US
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThe provision of freshwater, particularly in urbanizing arid regions facing increased variability in precipitation patterns due to climate change, is one of the greatest challenges. Desalination--the conversion of seawater or brackish water to potable water--offers a potentially "limitless" supply of this vital resource. The preference for desalination, as an innovative, supply-side water augmentation option is gaining traction worldwide, including in northwestern Mexico. In arid regions, where water is a limiting factor to increased production and growth and nearly every drop of water is contested, a new technology that augments water supplies is likely to engender vast social, economic, institutional, and environmental transformations. Through an in-depth study of water management in the context of global climate change in northwestern Mexico, this dissertation examines the factors that lead to the adoption of desalination technology and assesses how the technology affects the communities where it is implemented. In seeking to understand the (potential) transformations and complex imbrications of this technology within the socioecological system in which it operates, four themes have emerged, including: 1) The best path towards improved water management is through investments in both infrastructure and institutions (i.e., governance); 2) Despite the real and urgent need to address the negative impacts of climate change on water resources, desalination should be considered as a "last resort"; 3) While desalination can increase water security at certain scales, it also introduces new vulnerabilities; and 4) While discursively, Mexico's water policy embraces principles of contemporary environmental governance (i.e., decentralization, public participation, and sustainability), these principles have yet to be fully implemented in practice. Policy recommendations include integrating land use and water planning, improving monitoring and regulation of groundwater extraction, increasing capacity building within water and planning agencies, and pre-conditioning desalination (or other supply-side water infrastructure projects) upon the successful implementation of a range of water conservation and system efficiency measures. Without such measures, increased water availability is likely to encourage additional growth, rather than resource conservation. Specific findings and contributions of this dissertation to the field of human-environment geography are discussed at the end of chapter two and in the appended articles.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectDevelopmenten_US
dc.subjectGulf of Californiaen_US
dc.subjectHuman-Environment Geographyen_US
dc.subjectMexicoen_US
dc.subjectWater Managementen_US
dc.subjectGeographyen_US
dc.subjectDesalinationen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGeographyen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorWilder, Margareten_US
dc.contributor.committeememberLiverman, Dianaen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberRobbins, Paulen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberWaterstone, Marvinen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberWilder, Margareten_US
All Items in UA Campus Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.