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Project Research Components

Vulnerability Assessment of Rural Communities
Analysis of Water Conflicts and Institutions
Historical Study of Institutional Adaptation
Analysis of Environmental Vulnerabilities
Assessment of Formal Institutions
Climate Change Scenarios
Geospatial Data
Unit 1B: Analysis of Water Conflicts and Institutions

This project focuses on the analysis of the role of institutions in water conflicts in both basins. Given the relevance of potential water scarcities in the context of future climate conditions in both basins we are especially interested in analyzing how different institutions react to conflict and their approach to its solution. This project involves three researchers—H. Morales, B. Reyes and A. Rojas (Unit Coordinator)—and their assistants. As in the previous unit, this project is supported by researchers with expertise in different areas—D. Corkal, S. Kulshreshtha, and H. Zavala—and by B. Morito in the area of values.

The activities for this unit, as defined in the Milestone Report, are:

  1. Baseline data collection on regional institutions: This component of the project was developed in early 2004 and involved the identification of potential case studies. The focus was on institutions and organizations that were key actors and stakeholders in several conflicts in both study regions and the policy frameworks within which these institutions operate. This component has been completed.

  2. Literature review and completion of working papers: Two papers have been completed in this project: (a) "Water Blues in Climate Change: The Role of Institutions in Water Conflicts and the Challenges of Climate Change," by A. Rojas, B. Reyes, L. Magzul and H. Morales, provides a conceptual and methodological path for the study of water conflicts in the context of adaptation to climate change and has been submitted; and (b) "A Historical Chronology of the Oldman River Dam Conflict," written by J. Daschuk and G. Marchildon, discusses the historical background for the Canadian case study of the Oldman River Dam conflict.

  3. Identification of cases and engagement with stakeholders: One case study has been identified in each of the two basins. In the SSRB the selected case study identified was the Oldman River Dam conflict generated by the construction of the dam in Southern Alberta. In Chile, after meetings with several key informants and stakeholders, it was decided that the Puclaro Dam and the conflictive situations linked to it would be the central case study of the role of institutions in water conflicts in the basin.

  4. Ethnographic community fieldwork: Preliminary fieldwork was conducted in both basins in 2005. In the Canadian case, Rojas’ and Magzul’s work provided a more complete picture of the significance of the Oldman River Dam conflict for the stakeholders involved and identified important institutional adaptations beginning to take place in the area. In Chile, the preliminary work was conducted by B. Reyes and involved the interviewing of local government agencies involved in the design, construction and operations of the dam, as well as several of the local community leaders affected by the construction of the Puclaro Dam. Both case studies tend to reaffirm findings in the literature indicating that the building of large water reservoirs, as a mayor strategy to achieve water security, often generates new vulnerabilities among the weaker or disempowered groups and inequities in the distribution of water rights. A detailed interview guide was written by Alejandro Rojas and tested in the interviews with key informants. During 2006, fieldwork has been completed in both basins.

  5. Data analysis and interpretation, reports: The final report can be found here.

Proposals and Participants
• Original Proposal
• Research Team
• Advisory Board
• Partners
• Policy Relevant
• Reports
• Documents
• Theses
• Books & Special Publications

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