2017-2018 Global Development Studies Senior Thesis Projects

Shelby Cundiff '18

Project Title: Issues and Practices of Water Management: The Need for Local Knowledge

Summary: This paper examines the different ways water management interacts with the political, social, and economic factors within society. By investigating these interactions, it demonstrates how different methods of water management determine the success of countries' response to a lack of water resources. This paper argues that in order to gain the most out of water resources, through allocation and infrastructure, governments need to take local knowledge and input into account to determine policies and help prevent backlash. The impact of government involvement through de-privatization of the water sector and decentralization of its management is a key factor for optimized water use. Sources support these findings but no additional research has been conducted to prove them. This is important because, as global warming increases and the Earth keeps changing, the number of countries dealing with water scarcity will only increase. Water vulnerability has been a source of stress and focus in society for hundreds of years and determines how countries mitigate their water resources. This is partially because water, or a lack thereof, has a significant impact on not just the economy but also the psychological development of individuals. The global community therefore is trying to find a solution and better collection techniques to help keep society safe from a water vulnerability. The most successful solution is to include local input, decentralize the planning process, and de-privatize the industry. These tactics ensure that the needs of society and the local people are put above political and economic incentives.