The IGERT speakers series "Integrative Science for a Complex World - An Interdisciplinary Seminar Series Exploring Coupled Human-Environment Systems" presents a lecture by

Dr. Amber Wutich

Assistant Professor of Anthropology
School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Arizona State University



"At the Limits of Adaptive Management: Water Scarcity, Institutional Governance, and the Struggle to Survive in Cochabamba, Bolivia"


Monday, February 22, 3:00-4:30 pm

219 Dauer Hall


Cochabamba, Bolivia is an Andean city famous for an uprising known as the Water War of 2000. Threatened with the privatization of water resources, the urban poor rose up in defense of common-pool resource (CPR) institutions. After the revolt’s successful conclusion, the protesters became an international symbol of resistance to privatization. Cochabamba’s CPR institutions have been widely praised for providing a viable alternative to privatization, yet little is actually known about how they operate in Cochabamba’s impoverished, water-scarce squatter settlements. This presentation explores the case of a CPR water institution in Villa Israel, a squatter settlement in Cochabamba. Drawing on data collected using ethnographic methods (participant-observation, in-depth interviews, and panel surveys) during 2003-2008, this case study examines the CPR institution’s design, function, and resilience to seasonal water scarcity. The results indicate that adaptive management mechanisms have been used successfully to safeguard the water system’s sustainability. While the CPR water institution endures, the costs of survival have been shifted to the community’s most vulnerable members. The presentation concludes with a discussion of the costs and benefits of sustainability for communities faced with economic, political, and environmental adversity.

Prior to Dr. Wutich's lecture, there will be a round-table discussion from 10-11:30 am on in 215 Dauer Hall. The discussion will be hosted by Dr. Lance Gravlee and Ava Lasseter and is open to all interested grad students and faculty. 

Please contact Andrea Gaughan ([log in to unmask]) for further information.

Andrea E Gaughan
Land Use Environmental Change Institute (LUECI)
Department of Geography
3141 Turlington Hall
Gainesville, FL 32606

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