In this article, I examine the role of applied anthropology in coping with common water management dilemmas and in facilitating more equitable water management. Field research and interviews with Palestinian residents and water managers between 2012–2020 illuminate deep disagreements about two commonly used management tools: full-cost recovery pricing reforms and supply expansion through emerging water technologies. This case demonstrates that not only are there limits to the transportability of solutions across societies, but even within a society and among seemingly similar stakeholders, fundamental disagreement exists about a place’s water priorities and proper interventions. How do we explain the multiplicity of ways in which people seemingly of the same social group approach a single water issue? The article demonstrates an anthropological approach to understanding water use that draws political ecology’s focus on power together with attention to the intersectionality of peoples’ relationships to water. This approach can help water managers acknowledge the political impacts of purportedly apolitical management approaches, and it provides the basis for a more robust incorporation of diverse residents’ priorities into water management decision making.
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Research Article| August 24 2023
COPING WITH COMPLEXITY IN WATER MANAGEMENT: LESSONS FROM PALESTINE
Emily McKee is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and at the Institute for the Study of Environment, Sustainability, and Energy at Northern Illinois University. McKee is the author of Dwelling in Conflict: Negev Landscapes and the Boundaries of Belonging (2016), which examines land conflicts in Israel. She has published articles investigating land and water relations and environmentalist campaigns in Palestine, Israel, and Jordan and on farming and food systems in the United States.
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Human Organization (2023) 82 (3): 209–222.
Emily McKee; COPING WITH COMPLEXITY IN WATER MANAGEMENT: LESSONS FROM PALESTINE. Human Organization 1 September 2023; 82 (3): 209–222. doi: https://doi.org/10.17730/1938-3525-82.3.209
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