Research projects

ESR 2: The politics of river basin closures

Early Stage Researcher: Javier Rodríguez Ros 
Host institution: Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), France
Principal supervisor: Prof. François Molle
Co-supervisor: Prof. Dave Huitema
Non-academic co-supervisor: Dr. Nuria Fernández Mora


"My research will procure a new look on river basin organizations and multilevel governance from a political ecology perspective of current river basin development".
 

Topic

Many river basins worldwide are under stress and undergoing 'closure'. Spain's southeastern basins are notorious for the overexploitation of both surface and groundwater resources, a situation that generates competition over resources, environmental degradation and ever tighter socio-ecological interconnectedness between users, and between societies and the environment. Such complexity poses sheer challenges to a multi-level governance system that associates, among others, the basin Confederacion, nested public administrations, water user groups, private sector companies, environmental and other NGOs. This study will examine the shifting power configurations that govern how and what solutions are proposed, financed, implemented, and managed to respond to water challenges in the Segura River Basin. This basin is specific in that it receives a large share of its supply through the interbasin transfer of River Tagus (Tajo) waters. It will link with and inform wider studies and frameworks on river basin and multilevel governance, and on the political ecology of river basin development. 

This research project will:

  1. Illustrate socio-ecological relationships on a long time scale;

  2. Make the political and policy implications of basin closure explicit;

  3. Contribute to thinking on the role, diversity of and need for RBOs;

  4. Contribute to the understanding of multi-level water governance;

  5. Reassess conventional RBM and governance in the light of the case study.

Expected results:

  1. A fresh look at and assessment of the Spanish type of RBO (Confederaciones);
  2. A critical discussion of the mono/polycentric divide and theoretical advance;
  3. Evidence of the political nature of the distribution of benefit and costs associated with the manipulation of the water regime, and therefore of river basin governance.

About Javier Rodríguez Ros

Javier is a Ph.D. candidate in the Group of Water Management, Actors, and Uses (G-EAU) at the Institute of Research for the Development (IRD). Throughout his career, he has worked and collaborated with different NGOs and research centers in Latin America and Africa exploring water governance and its impacts on society and ecosystems. In his research, he will examine the shifting policies and strategies that determine how and what solutions are proposed, financed, implemented, and managed to respond to water challenges in the Segura and the Tagus River Basins in Spain. This research links with and informs wider studies and frameworks on river basin and multilevel governance, and on the political ecology of river basin development.  You can read more about his professional experiences on his website www.waterstories.es.

LinkedIn profile:  Javier Rodríguez Ros

Personal website: www.waterstories.es

Contact

Javier Rodríguez Ros
NEWAVE Early Stage Researcher, Ph.D. Candidate
Institute of Research for the Development (IRD), France
Website: www.en.ird.fr

Prof. François Molle
Directeur de Recherche Institute of Research for the Development (IRD), France
Website: www.en.ird.fr

Prof. dr. Dave Huitema
Professor of Environmental Policy, Institute for Environmental Studies,
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Website: www.ivm.vu.nl

Dr. Nuria Hernández-Mora
Water policy, Independent researcher and consultant
Fundacion Nueva Cultura del Agua (FNCA), Spain
Website: www.fnca.eu/en