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Abstract: Higher average temperatures and increasingly variable weather
patterns coupled with expanding urbanization and water-intensive agricultural and energy
systems are creating unprecedented stresses on water systems in the Western United States.
This thesis examines the challenges to adapting Western waterscapes to changing climate
conditions. The Austin Texas region is selected as a case ... read morestudy because of the area's
persisting drought and growing population. Using primary and secondary sources, including
original interviews with representatives from water management agencies, policy documents
and media coverage, the thesis evaluates how the city, regional and state water management
institutions are responding to the region's record-setting drought conditions and
identifies the sociopolitical tensions that have been intensified by the drought. The
thesis concludes with a discussion of tensions that are likely to continue shaping water
systems in the Austin region and offers pathways through the political ecology toward a
more adaptive and sustainable water system.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2013.
Submitted to the Dept. of Urban and Environmental Policy and
Advisor: Christine Cousineau.
Committee: Barbara Parmenter.
Keywords: Water resources management, Urban planning, and Environmental