My research efforts draw upon global experiences in the watershed field. I strive to understand local nuances (e.g. gender, race, class, culture, etc.) around watershed access and management as well as the ecological integrity of existing water and sanitation systems.
This research studies the historical origins of and contemporary responses to inadequacies around 19th century networked water and sanitation (watsan) regimes adapted today in urban areas. Paris and London introduced centralized planning for ‘modernized’ water and sewer systems. These networked systems connected buildings to piped water, used sewers for human waste, and relied on public management. While they reduced cholera and increased access, poor or indigenous people were often last to receive benefits. Nearby cities and faraway colonies adapted these regimes in different forms. Networked watsan regimes continue to exclude certain people today, and still have detrimental environmental impacts. I examine similarities and differences in exclusion and degradation, and study what factors contribute to the success or failure of responses around networked watsan regimes.
Collaborative governance for environmental decision-making has been on the rise in the US for over two decades. This governance approach brings together state and non-state actors to solve complex problems, and often results in benefits such as decreased litigation and long-term support for solutions. Collaborative governance for groundwater decision-making has been increasingly used in California where groundwater is primarily managed on the local level. While collaborative governance structures have been reviewed extensively in existing literature, processes of exclusion from these groups are less analyzed. This research project grounds the historical development of collaborative governance in groundwater decision-making in a California case study.
Women and marginalized populations often encounter adversity associated with access, planning, and management of water and sanitation (WatSan) resources in rural India. The Government of India (GOI) has shifted to decentralized, participatory WatSan systems and developed policies to include women and marginalized populations from rural areas in WatSan. Many NGOs working on WatSan in rural India also strive to include women and marginalized populations. Both the GOI and NGOs claim decentralized, participatory programs lead to empowerment of women and gender equality. This paper reviews WatSan programs started by two NGOs in different villages in India. Mixed methods are used to evaluate empowerment and gender equality in villages related and unrelated to WatSan programs.