Scholar of the Month: Dr. Vanessa Empinotti

Vanessa Lucena Empinotti is an Assistant Professor in the Spatial Planning Program at Federal University of ABC – UFABC, Brazil. An agronomist by training, she completed her Ph.D. in Geography at The University of Colorado-Boulder, where she studied participatory practices and water governance in the São Francisco River Basin in the northeastern region of Brazil. Her current research employs Critical Political Ecology to analyze institutional arrangements, social environmental governance, and power relations. In the last seven years, she has worked on water security and governance in megacities as well as on how water security processes can produce hydrosocial territories at the Paulista Macrometropolis. These studies were funded by the British Academy and FAPESP funding agencies.

In the last year, she has focused her efforts on mapping water insecurities at São Paulo municipality during the Covid-19 pandemic in partnership with Dr. Luciana Ferrara from UFABC, the Movement Union for Housing (UMM), and the National Observatory for Water and Sanitation Rights (ONDAS). The goal of this work is to showcase the water struggles of people living in precarious housing conditions, as well as provide data and information to support the demands of popular movements for the right to water. This knowledge collaboration has resulted in a research brief on water rights and another on housing and water rights in São Paulo, as well as a website on Housing and Water Rights. She is also the director of eco.t – Political Ecology, Planning and Territory Research Group and co-coordinates the Water Insecurity Network in Brazil as part of a regional HWISE initiative.

More information about Vanessa Empinotti and her research is available at

Selected Publications

Empinotti, V.L.; Tadeu, N.D.; Fragkou, M.C.; Sinisgalli, P.A.A. Desafios da governança da água: a contribuição do conceito de territórios hidrossociais para novos arranjos institucionais. Estudos Avançados, 2021 (Prelo).

Empinotti, V.L., Budds, J., Jepson, W., Millington, N., Ferrara, L.N, Geere, J., Grandisoli, E., da Paz, M.G.A., Puga, B.P., Alves, E.M., Cawood, S., Jacobi, P.R., Kinjo, V.U., Lampis, A., Moretti, R., Octavianti, T., Periotto, N. Quinn, R., Quintslr, S., Sulaiman, S., Vicente, P.A., Wahby, N. (2021). Advancing urban water security: the urbanization of water-society relations and entry-points for political engagement. Water International (Under review)

Empinotti, V.L.; Ferrara, L.N. Segurança Hídrica e a COVID-19 na Macrometrópole Paulista: da política do corpo ao território. Diálogos Socioambientais na Macrometrópole. , v.5, p.13 – 14, 2020.

Empinotti, V.L.; Budds, J.; Aversa, M. Governance and water security: The role of the water institutional framework in the 2013-15 water crisis in São Paulo, Brazil. GEOFORUM.  v.98, p.46 – 54 , 2019.

Empinotti, V.L. Water Issues and the Brazilian Agricultural Agenda In: The Oxford Handbook of Food, Water and Society.1 ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019, v.1, p. 400-420.

Empinotti, V. Politics of Scale and Water Governance in the Upper Xingu Basin, Brazil. In: Agriculture, Environment and Development: International Perspectives on Water, Land and Politics.220 ed. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, v.1, p. 01-197.

Site Water and Housing (Água e Moradia)

ONDAS, 2020. Water rights under Covid -19 pandemic (Direito à Água em tempos de pandemia da Covid-19)

Ferrara, L.; Empinotti, V. et all. Falta de água e moradia popular na pandemia da Covid-19

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