Understanding Water Policy as Agricultural Policy: How IWRM Reform is Reshaping Agricultural Landscapes under Climate Change in Piura, Peru
AdvisorScott, Christopher A.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractOne billion people currently live in basins that are likely to require action to address climate change-induced water stress. Rather than blaming dwindling resource availability as the key culprit for this global water crisis, the United Nations has dubbed the water crisis a "crisis in governance." One of the key prescriptions promoted by multilateral funders and international water experts for addressing the looming crisis has been water policy reform that follows the principles of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM). While there has been significant research on the IWRM model, few people have conducted empirical studies that examine how IWRM water reform generates changes within the agricultural sector. It is particularly important to study the tight coupling of agricultural and water policy in light of a changing climate, which poses substantial challenges to water availability and agricultural production. In this thesis, I explore the salient case study of the Piura River Basin in northern Peru. I employ semi-structured interviews with key institutional actors in the agricultural and water sector, participant observation, and technical document review to examine how the IWRM-based 2009 Water Resources Law is reshaping agricultural land use under climate change and globalization pressures. I argue that 2009 Water Resources Law formalized and limited public participation within the newly formed river basin council, while concurrently strengthening technocratic water allocation institutions that limit the agency of smallholder water users to make agricultural land use decisions. Additionally, I find that climate change adaptation discourse is being operationalized within river basin council to legitimize these reforms, but these reforms are explicitly enrolled in agricultural development policy aimed at converting traditional agricultural systems to export-oriented production. This study contributes to the fledgling scholarship on the implications of the 2009 Water Resource Law for Peruvian agricultural communities. More broadly, my findings offer insight into how IWRM reshapes the agricultural sector, how this is situated into the continually shifting role of the state, and how these policy reforms integrate and animate climate change adaptation.
Degree ProgramGraduate College