Climate change, water resources, and the politics of adaptation in the Middle East and North Africa
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Through an examination of global climate change models combined with hydrological data on deteriorating water quality in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), we elucidate the ways in which the MENA countries are vulnerable to climate-induced impacts on water resources. Adaptive governance strategies, however, remain a low priority for political leaderships in the MENA region. To date, most MENA governments have concentrated the bulk of their resources on large-scale supply side projects such as desalination, dam construction, inter-basin water transfers, tapping fossil groundwater aquifers, and importing virtual water. Because managing water demand, improving the efficiency of water use, and promoting conservation will be key ingredients in responding to climate-induced impacts on the water sector, we analyze the political, economic, and institutional drivers that have shaped governance responses. While the scholarly literature emphasizes the importance of social capital to adaptive governance, we find that many political leaders and water experts in the MENA rarely engage societal actors in considering water risks. We conclude that the key capacities for adaptive governance to water scarcity in MENA are underdeveloped. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1007/s10584-010-9835-4
Publication InfoSowers, J; Vengosh, Avner; & Weinthal, Erika S (2011). Climate change, water resources, and the politics of adaptation in the Middle East and North Africa. Climatic Change, 104(3-4). pp. 599-627. 10.1007/s10584-010-9835-4. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10161/6460.
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Professor of Earth and Ocean Sciences
My research aims to link environmental geochemistry and isotope hydrology in order to trace the sources and mechanisms of water contamination and relationships with human health. Current research includes global changes of the chemical and isotopic compositions of water resources due to human intervention and contamination, salinization of water resources in the Middle East and Northern Africa, naturally occurring contaminants (arsenic, fluoride, boron) and radioactivity in water resources, the
Professor of Environmental Sciences and Policy
Dr. Weinthal specializes in global environmental politics and environmental security with a particular emphasis on water and energy. Current areas of research include (1) global environmental politics and governance, (2) environmental conflict and peacebuilding, (3) the political economy of the resource curse, and (4) climate change adaptation. Dr. Weinthal’s research spans multiple geographic regions, including the Soviet successor states, the Middle East, South Asia, East Africa, and
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