Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Drinking Water Governance for Climate Change: Learning from a California Drought
by Fencl, Amanda Lynne, Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2019, 195; 22583145
Abstract (Summary)

California is one of the world’s largest economies, a leader on climate change policy, and yet grapples with uneven exposure and risk in its drinking water system. Climate change is already exacerbating longstanding disparities in water contamination and access. Drinking water systems are vulnerable to drought-related water quality and supply impacts and they are critical features of their respective community’s drought resilience. They are responsible for supplying reliable and safe potable water and mitigating climate and drought impacts, both of which require investments in preparedness and planning. This dissertation uses drinking water system governance in California as a route through which to investigate how individual governance actors, like drinking water systems managers, make decisions in the context of a polycentric and multi-level natural resource governance regime when threatened by extreme events such as drought.

This dissertation empirically explores aspects of local level drought adaptation decisions, nested within California’s complex and polycentric water governance regime and temporally bounded by the 2012-2016+ drought. Each chapter relies on different but related data to investigate whether drinking water systems were prepared for the drought (1), how small water systems, in particular, were able to invest in their adaptive capacity to better respond to the drought (2), and presents a spatial analysis of one potential, long-term solution for the thousands of self-supplying households whose domestic wells went dry during the drought (3). The research relies on drinking water system managers’ reported experiences during the drought, through a survey and semi-structured interviews, to better inform what is needed for drinking water governance for climate change as different levels of water management take action to adapt and transform.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lubell, Mark
Commitee: London, Jonathan, Arnold, Gwen
School: University of California, Davis
Department: Geography
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 81/4(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Geography, Public policy, Water Resources Management
Keywords: Applied Geography, California, Climate Change Adaptation, Drinking Water, Drought, Water Governance
Publication Number: 22583145
ISBN: 9781392860588
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