Event Title

Decision Making and Decision Support Systems in the Rio Grande: A Critical Physical Geography Approach

Location

Alumni Hall South

Department

Geography and Environmental Studies

Abstract

This research uses a critical physical geography approach to understand how socio-natural dynamics co-produce new material conditions and conceptual understandings of water in a water management setting. Critical physical geography (CPG) is distinct from conventional analyses of water management in that it emphasizes the social processes and power relations that shape the development, discussion, and application of science in a decision-making context. I will use a CPG perspective to analyze how water managers in the Rio Grande basin integrate science, legal, and economic knowledge to develop a Decision Support System (DSS) in an adaptive management setting to address water shortages and competing uses. I will use a hydro-social cycle framework and content analysis to meet this goal. Theorized by political ecologists and critical geographers, the hydro-social cycle allows researchers to examine the co-production of water science and water management by illuminating the ways that water and society make and remake one another over time. Drawing on extensive primary and secondary sources, I will use content analysis to qualitatively analyze DSS decision-making to show how water management paradigms are challenged and replaced by alternative water-management regimes. I anticipate that I will be able to use Gabrielle Bouleau’s formulation of the hydro-social cycle to explain DSS development in the Rio Grande Basin as the co-production of water and society. This research will improve our understanding of the social relations between water, stakeholders, and scientists co-producing knowledge, which together define the Rio Grande Basin waterscape and water management over time.

Faculty Sponsor

Alex Peimer, Northeastern Illinois University

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May 6th, 10:00 AM

Decision Making and Decision Support Systems in the Rio Grande: A Critical Physical Geography Approach

Alumni Hall South

This research uses a critical physical geography approach to understand how socio-natural dynamics co-produce new material conditions and conceptual understandings of water in a water management setting. Critical physical geography (CPG) is distinct from conventional analyses of water management in that it emphasizes the social processes and power relations that shape the development, discussion, and application of science in a decision-making context. I will use a CPG perspective to analyze how water managers in the Rio Grande basin integrate science, legal, and economic knowledge to develop a Decision Support System (DSS) in an adaptive management setting to address water shortages and competing uses. I will use a hydro-social cycle framework and content analysis to meet this goal. Theorized by political ecologists and critical geographers, the hydro-social cycle allows researchers to examine the co-production of water science and water management by illuminating the ways that water and society make and remake one another over time. Drawing on extensive primary and secondary sources, I will use content analysis to qualitatively analyze DSS decision-making to show how water management paradigms are challenged and replaced by alternative water-management regimes. I anticipate that I will be able to use Gabrielle Bouleau’s formulation of the hydro-social cycle to explain DSS development in the Rio Grande Basin as the co-production of water and society. This research will improve our understanding of the social relations between water, stakeholders, and scientists co-producing knowledge, which together define the Rio Grande Basin waterscape and water management over time.