T2SGS: Transformations to Groundwater Sustainability
Billions of people around the world rely for their everyday existence on groundwater. Efforts to intensify agriculture to meet growing food needs or improve productivity and profits also increasingly rely on groundwater for their success. The invisibility of groundwater, however, makes it notoriously difficult to know and account for and thus manage. This difficulty is compounded by two intrinsic tensions that characterize groundwater governance: between individual and collective interests and between short-term gains and longer-term sustainability.
This project comparatively studies promising grass-roots initiatives of people organizing around groundwater in places where pressures on the resource are particularly acute (India, Algeria, Morocco, USA, Chile, Peru, and Tanzania). Chosen because they defy or challenge conventional groundwater governance wisdom, the project’s hypothesis is that these initiatives contain new creative insights about grounded ways of dealing with groundwater governance dilemmas.
Focusing on practices – of knowing, accessing and sharing – the project combines qualitative ethnographic methods with hydrogeological and engineering insights to explore the knowledges, technologies and institutions that characterize these local initiatives. The project aspires to enunciate and normatively assess their logic and functioning in view of tracing overlaps or patterns that allow them to serve as more generic models for transformations to groundwater sustainability.
The overall aim is to create global action-research-capacity building collaborations to generate new inspirations for thinking about and dealing with the interconnections and interdependencies between humans and groundwater.
Project leader: Prof. M. Zwarteveen, University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands)
Principal investigators: Prof. F. Cleaver, University of Sheffield (United Kingdom), Prof. Flora Lu, University of California, Santa Cruz (United States), Dr. M. Kuper, French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (France), Dr. L. Börjeson, Stockholm University (Sweden), MA. S. Kulkarni, Society for Promoting Participative Eco-system management (India)