Governance of water use in agriculture: the role of innovation and regime type in sustainable agricultural water management
Anthropogenic impacts to water systems pose a serious threat to water security across
the world. Agriculture, as the largest user and one of the primary polluters of water,
plays a central role in water problems. The impending global water crisis cannot be
resolved without making agricultural impacts to water more sustainable. Water problems
are complex, and many are the ... read moreresult of governance failures. Overcoming them requires
innovative solutions attained through good governance. This dissertation presents
analysis at different scales, aspects, and contexts of agricultural water governance.
Methods This dissertation uses a variety of methods, including technological innovation
systems analysis, identifying the presence of Ostrom's eight institutional design
principles for sustainable management of common pool resources, and applying the
social-ecological systems framework. Chapter 2 identifies blocking mechanisms and
opportunities for a sustainability transition involving water harvesting practices in
Jordan's rainfed agricultural system. Chapter 3 analyzes the extent to which three
different U.S. state-level groundwater governance regimes reflect Water Diplomacy
principles for sustainable groundwater quantity management. Chapter 4 identifies
conditions within Nebraska's groundwater governance regime that are likely achieve
groundwater quality goals relative to nonpoint source nitrate pollution. Results The
water harvesting innovation system in Jordan's rainfed agricultural system is negatively
impacted by limited financial resources at the national level, and the reliance on
donors, as well as by the lack of a common vision for achieving sustainable agriculture
water use, and informal and formal institutional problems. In the U.S., findings
indicate that groundwater governance regimes reflecting Water Diplomacy principles can
lead to adaptive and collaborative approaches to sustainable groundwater abstraction.
Findings from Nebraska show that a nested, polycentric groundwater governance regime
granting significant authority to empowered and transparent local governance entities
can create the enabling conditions for managing groundwater quantity and quality
sustainably. Implications Chapter 2 reinforces findings on the utility of the
technological innovation systems approach for studying different types of developing
country innovation systems in the context of sustainability transitions. It finds that
donors can contribute to directionality problems that favor one form of a technology
over another. Another finding is that formal and informal institutions can have equal
impact in developing country sustainability transitions. Chapter 3 makes an important
contribution to the discipline of Water Diplomacy, expanding the concepts to the water
governance context. Chapter 4 marks a contribution to the limited literature base on
governance of agricultural nonpoint source pollution. Using Nebraska as a case study, it
highlights generalizable institutional design principles for the governance of
agricultural nonpoint source groundwater
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2018.
Submitted to the Dept. of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
Advisor: Timothy Griffin.
Committee: Laurens Klerkx, Annette Huber-Lee, and William Masters.
Keywords: Natural resource management, Agriculture, and Water resources management.read less