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Managing and re-imagining surface and ground water for sustainable agriculture 
Shailaja Fennell (University of Cambridge)
Adam Green (University of Cambridge)
Cameron Petrie (University of Cambridge)
Rekha Bhangaonkar (University of Cambridge)
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Global environmental justice
Thursday 1 July, 15:00-16:45 (UTC+1)

Short Abstract:

This panel addresses inequalities in accessing both surface and ground water, the conflicts between water use for agriculture and human consumption, as well as the knock-on effects of growing water scarcity for the increasing demand for energy to access ground water.

Long Abstract

This panel seeks to reshape the narratives on water availability in a planetary context where in many areas of the Global South, groundwater sources are under severe stress, creating a range of inequalities for many vulnerable rural communities. The rise of industrial agriculture over the second half of the twentieth century has resulted in a shift away from surface. water to groundwater, pumped to the surface from wells and the use of a significant amount of energy. An adverse consequence has been the generation of a range of environmental crises: from the outright depletion of groundwater tables, the increase in soil salinity, rising levels of heavy metals in water supplies - all evidence of a collapsing water system.

The panel will bring together researchers from the social sciences and the humanities working on innovative approaches to surface and groundwater management. We encourage papers that address the key problems of the crisis in surface and ground water such as: new imaginings of the value of surface water that can contribute to new forms of sustainable agriculture; the innovative design of surface water management practices that can be of use to modern communities; the perceptions and strategies of smallholders in securing a source of irrigation; the possibility bringing traditional knowledge into processes of irrigation management; and the application of new technologies to improve community conservation of a water system.

We welcome papers across all these areas, and encourage presentations that draws on methodologies from the social sciences and humanities

Accepted papers: