Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Comparative Study of Resilience of the Water Commons in the Upper and Middle Rio Grande Basins of New Mexico
by Deichmann, Jens W., Ph.D., Prescott College, 2013, 248; 3604759
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation is a study of two water management systems and their respective potential for adaptive change. It compares the principles of traditional common-pool resource communities with the policies and practices of contemporary acequias and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District. A review of the biophysical environment and relevant water laws and institutions provides a historical and environmental perspective on how the two distinct systems evolved into their current forms. The respective systems' capacities to continue to function in their basic forms in the face of climate change are evaluated through the conceptual lenses of resilience theory and the adaptive change cycle. The severe and extended drought that New Mexico is experiencing is causing a sharpened focus on how to limit water use. Shortage sharing is a traditional practice in common-pool resource cultures, as are other measures to manage a limited and vital resource, including monitoring, sanctions, exclusion of free-riders, equity of use, and reliance on democratic institutions to ensure collective decisions. These principles and practices are present to varying degrees in both systems and provide solid bases upon which to innovate and adapt to new conditions. The challenge will be to mobilize the will to change sufficiently to adapt while honoring the cultural values represented in each system; in other words, to build resilience into the systems. Opportunities to do so are explored and evaluated for their potential positive effects and possible downsides

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Parajuli, Pramod
Commitee: Fleming, William, Hood, Jacqueline, Wetzel, Melanie
School: Prescott College
Department: Education / Sustainability Education
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 75/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Climate Change, Natural Resource Management, Water Resource Management, Sustainability
Keywords: Acequias, Adaptive change cycle, Climate change, Common-pool resources, New Mexico, Resilience, Rio Grande Basin, Systems thinking
Publication Number: 3604759
ISBN: 9781303606168
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