We are pleased to announce our call for individual presentations, special sessions, webinar panel discussions, and methods workshops. This conference aims to bring together scholars and practitioners on the water commons broadly understood. We will cover topics including climate change impacts — flooding, storm surge, drought, and other extreme precipitation events — involving all forms of water — ice sheets, glaciers, rivers & lakes, groundwater, clouds, effluent — and all types of water uses — irrigation, industrial, instream flows, habitat protection, energy generation, urban and domestic consumption, and cultural practices, among many others.
Water governance and management at multiple scales is central for addressing impacts and collective action dilemmas that emerge in no small part because water is a fugitive resource. What special governance challenges are raised by the fact that water is a fugitive resource? Is multi-level, or polycentric, governance the most appropriate approach for dealing with water? What other forms of governance or management, such as formal and informal markets, regulation, public-private partnerships, and collaborations, are possible and how do they interact with the commons?
The topic of the water commons is iconic in common pool resource studies. In our three day virtual event, we thus want to address the following questions: What are the blind spots in treating water as a commons? What important dimensions of water are neglected in using a commons lens? How can a commons approach incorporate the existence of multiple values and power dynamics among users? What is the role of gender, and marginalized communities, in water commons governance, in the face of societal change? Conversely, what dimensions of water would be better understood if brought under a commons lens? How can a commons approach guide policy to create, manage, or modify hard (buildings), soft (institutions), and green (nature-based) infrastructure?
As a web-conference within a series of conferences organized by the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC), we will facilitate a discussion among water scholars and practitioners on the many and diverse governance challenges of sustainably managing all forms of water across multiple scales, with a special emphasis on equity.