AdvisorComrie, Andrew J.
Committee ChairComrie, Andrew J.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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.
AbstractThis dissertation makes valuable contributions to hazard and disaster vulnerability assessment theory and methodology. Appendix A presents results of a national survey of state drought planning processes that examined and evaluated how state processes were assessing drought impacts and vulnerabilities, and how assessments were used to mitigate risk. While impact and vulnerability assessments have been useful for reactive, short-term mitigation, most were found to have not been used to develop pro-active and/or committed, long-term mitigation programs. To be useful for developing long-term planning and mitigation, assessments must involve more social scientists, a greater emphasis on second-, third-, etc., order impacts, and examining how systems are sensitive to drought exposure, and studying adaptive capacity. Appendix B adapts a political economy/human ecology and political ecology research framework and examines how regional historical, institutional and regional development patterns in central Arizona have contributed to the production of local drought vulnerability in rural Arizona during the 20th century. The study evaluates the applicability of a research framework developed in Third World settings, and resulted in valuable insights for developing state and county policy in Arizona to mitigate social, economic, and political-institutional drivers of drought vulnerability. Appendix C compliments the assessment in Appendix B by examining local drivers of drought vulnerability and conducting a comparative drought vulnerability analysis in two rural communities in northern Gila County, Arizona. The assessment found local differences in community water system vulnerabilities were driven by differences in capacity to adapt to climate variability and population growth. Differences in adaptive capacity, in turn, were driven by differences in local management, institutional factors, and economic incentives of private and public water systems. Together, the three appendices contribute practical and theoretical contributions for assessments conducted by state and local governments, non-governmental organizations, and academic research units that seek to assess and ultimately mitigate hazard and disaster vulnerability.