Steering Committee

Ellis A. Adams, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Geography and Environmental Policy
University of Notre Dame

Dr. Ellis Adjei Adams is an Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame. His research lies at the intersection of human-environment interactions in cities, poor urban and peri-urban, and informal settlements of Sub-Saharan Africa. His primary research for the past few years has explored institutional, governance, and socio-political dimensions of water resources and potable water access in the Sub-Saharan African context, including the role of neoliberal, market-based privatization of urban water supply. His most recent project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant examined the impact of decentralization reforms (via community-public partnerships) on access to potable water in Malawi’s urban and peri-urban informal settlements.

Jessica Budds, DPhil.

Associate Professor in Geography and International Development
School of International Development
University of East Anglia

Dr. Jessica Budds’s research explores shifting water-society relations in the context of economic change in the global South. Starting with the idea that water is socially produced and constructed, she seeks to elucidate the politics embedded in patterns of water allocation and use, modes of hydraulic infrastructure, water governance frameworks, and framings of water issues, over both time and space, which shape the lives, livelihoods, landscapes and identities of marginalised social groups. Her work has focused on two key themes: the application of neoliberal principles to water policy and their outcomes (water privatisation, water markets, payments for watershed ecosystem services), and the implications of increased demand for water by industrial sectors (agriculture, mining, hydropower). With empirical research concentrated in Latin America (Chile, Peru, Brazil), Budds’s work shows how these processes of hydrosocial change serve to legitimize and sustain existing unequal power relations and forms of capital accumulation.

Stroma Cole, Ph.D.

Senior Lecturer
University of Westminster

Dr. Stroma Cole is a Reader at the University of Westminster. She combines her academic career with action research and consultancy. Her research explores the interconnect between tourism, gender and water rights. Stroma has a long history of working on small islands particularly in Indonesia. She holds a British Academy Knowledge Frontier grant, and manages an interdisciplinary, international team to explore the connections between Household Water Insecurity and Gender Based Violence in Peru and Indonesia. Stroma is most well known for her tourism and water nexus research in Bali a longitudinal action research project. Stroma is an activist researcher critiquing the consequences of tourism development, in particular the overuse of water by hotels and the consequences for local women. Stroma is an Associate Editor for Annals of Tourism Research and on the editorial board at Journal of Sustainable Tourism and Tourism Geographies. She is a director of Equality in Tourism an international charity seeking to increase gender equality in tourism.

Vanessa Empinotti, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Universidade Federal do ABC

Dr. Vanessa L. Empinotti is Assistant Professor in Rural Policy and Planning in the Spatial Planning Program at Federal University of ABC – UFABC – in Brazil. Her research employs Critical Political Ecology to analyze institutional arrangements, environmental governance, and power relations. She is interested in the studies of water security in marginalized settings; hydrosocial territories and spatial planning, and rural gentrification and the access to natural resources. Her early research focused on power relations and access to water in the context of participatory institutions in the São Francisco River Watershed in Brazil. More recently, she has investigated drought and its influence over water governance in megacities, the dynamics of water governance in agricultural frontier regions, transparency in water resources management, and water insecurity in São Paulo’s inner city in Brazil. She is currently driving two new projects: (1) the dynamics of rural gentrification in the Brazilian countryside and (2) water insecurity, alternative solutions, and vulnerability in the context of São Paulo macrometropole.

Leila M Harris, Ph.D.

Professor, University of British Columbia
Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability
Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
Website and Project Website

Dr. Harris’s research examines social, cultural and political-economic and equity dimensions of environmental and resource issues. Much of her work has focused on key themes of water politics and governance, political ecology and environmental justice, critical development studies, and intersectional and feminist approaches to nature-society studies. Early research focused on multi-scalar and political ecological analysis of Turkey’s large scale transformation of the upper Tigris-Euphrates basin and the politics of conservation mapping. More recent projects focus on water security and governance, environmental citizenship, the politics associated with the human right to water, urban water resilience, Indigenous water governance, narrative and storytelling, and transforming water governance for equity and sustainability (with projects in Canada, Turkey, Ghana and South Africa). A new collaborative project will focus on non-material dimensions of household water insecurity (HWI), with particular interest visual and arts-based methods and the relationship between HWI and broader socio-political considerations, including community engagement.

Michelle Kooy, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Politics of Urban Water
IHE-Delft Institute for Water Education

Dr. Michelle Kooy is an Associate Professor of the Politics of Urban Water at IHE-Delft Institute for Water Education. Her research is concerned with how inequalities in access to water and exposure to water related risks in and across urban spaces are mediated through water infrastructure. Theorizing the politics of water infrastructure from the global south she decenters the role of centralized networks in her analysis, focusing instead on the ways in which urban water systems are connected through a range of practices and technologies, and how these simultaneously social, technical, and ecological connections shape the uneven distribution of water and related risks within urban spaces and across rural/urban boundaries.

Katie Meehan, Ph.D.

Reader in Environment and Society
Co-Director, King’s Water Centre
King’s College London
Website and Project Website

A human geographer and water policy specialist by training, Dr. Katie Meehan is Reader in Environment and Society and Co-Director of the King’s Water Centre at King’s College London. Her expertise includes urban political ecology, water governance, environmental justice, feminist political economy, and the social infrastructure of water. Early research focused on informal water use and state power in Mexican cities. Currently, her collaborative Plumbing Poverty project explores the racialized nature of water infrastructure provision in advanced capitalist economies, especially in high-income countries like the United States, where water provision is assumed to be “universal.” A two-time Fulbright scholar and former Peace Corps Volunteer, Dr. Meehan has worked in water research and community development projects in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and the U.S. Southwest

Thanti Octavianti, Ph.D.

Lecturer in Applied Geography
University of the West England, UK

Dr. Thanti Octavianti is a human geographer with an engineering background. Her research can be grouped into flood resilience and water security measurement. She studied the socio-political dynamics of large-scale water infrastructures. One of them was the investigation of the path dependency of Jakarta’s flood responses over the past 400 years, which culminated in its ‘giant’ seawall plan. Another research strand is the examination of a variety of methods to measure water security. She observed that there are two dominant research clusters in the field: experiential scale-based metrics and resource-based metrics. She is developing an interest in investigating the social factors, both at the institutional and individual/community levels, of the use of smart technologies, e.g. artificial intelligence, in managing flood risks in cities.

Raul Pacheco-Vega, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) Sede Mexico

[Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega Description]

Amber Pearson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Geography
Michigan State University

I am a health geographer with a focus on social justice and understanding the unexpected tenacity, adaptability and resilience of the underprivileged, while paying careful attention to the structural and social factors that led to disadvantage in the first place. My water research is at the intersection of spatial and social dimensions of health with a focus on water security. My overall research goal is to understand the interactions between human-induced ecological change, political and social dimensions of water security, and strategies to improve health and wellbeing.

Gregory Pierce, Ph.D.

Co-Director of the Luskin Center for Innovation
Director of the Human Right to Water Solutions Lab

[Dr. Greg Pierce Description]

Asher Rosinger Ph.D.

Ann Atherton Hertzler Early Career Professor in Global Health
Director of Water, Health and Nutrition Lab
Pennsylvania State University

Asher Rosinger, PhD MPH is a human biologist and assistant professor of biobehavioral health and anthropology at the Pennsylvania State University, where he founded and directs the Water, Health, and Nutrition Laboratory. His overall research program is designed to understand the range of human variation in water intake and how this relates to adaptation, environmental changes, water insecurity, and health, hydration, and disease risk. He examines these issues in the Bolivian Amazon among indigenous Tsimane’ forager-horticulturalists, in Kenya among Daasanach agro-pastoralists, and in the US using complex survey data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES).

Roseanne Schuster, Ph.D.

Assistant Research Scientist
School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Arizona State University

Dr. Roseanne Schuster is a global nutrition and public health professional dedicated to increasing the impact of research and programming through innovative, cost-effective, and culturally responsive monitoring, evaluation, and learning. She has a decade of experience in the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs seeking to improve health and environmental and social wellbeing. Schuster engages community-based, participatory, and implementation science approaches in interventions and evaluations to ensure programs are ultimately responsive to target populations and adaptive to the complex systems in which they operate.

Alexandra Brewis Slade, Ph.D.

President’s Professor
School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Arizona State University

I am a biocultural anthropologist at Arizona State University, where I founded the Center for Global Health. Trained in human biology, demography, and medical anthropology, I do collaborative, transdisciplinary social science research to understand and solve complex health and environmental challenges. Water insecurity is a key exemplar of how all these issues interrelate and complicate each other. I work in several different world regions, focusing in on how and when water insecurity is most harmful (so we know best when and how to intervene). At ASU, I teach undergraduate anthropology and global health and train advanced students interested in careers in or beyond the academy. I am also Senior Editor (Medical Anthropology) for the journal Social Science and Medicine.

Farhana Sultana, Ph.D.

Professor of Geography and the Environment
Research Director, Environmental Conflict and Collaboration
Senior Research Associate, Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC)
Senior Research Associate, South Asia Center
Syracuse University

Water is the ‘lens’ through which I understand the complexities socio-ecological transformations and realities of the world and to explore and explain complex and multi-scalar processes. My research interests are informed by multi-scalar analyses of processes of development and globalization that come to impact poverty, well-being, and socio-ecological change. Thus, my research sits at the confluence of a range of theoretical and epistemological framings, with the goal to inform and encourage social justice across a range of scales. I have had long-standing research interests in gender, water, and development issues in the global South, and ways by which development and privatization of water resources affect different groups of people intersectionally across sites and scales, and what this means to broader issues of development, democracy, citizenship and social justice.

Cassandra Workman, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Social science research in United States and sub‐Saharan Africa, with expertise in mixed-method qualitative and quantitative research design, implementation and analysis. Topical specializations include international development, gender and development, global and environmental health including syndemic theory, water insecurity, food security, and infectious disease.

Sera Young, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Anthropology & Global Health
Northwestern University

Sera has spent her career understanding how mothers, especially in low-resource settings, cope to preserve their health and that of their families. Her current research is focused on thinking about water in a new way, by quantifying human experiences with problems with water, and unpacking their consequences for nutrition, health, and well-being. The WISE scales have been used by organizations in more than 50 countries, including UNICEF, UNESCO, and USAID. She has co-authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications; awards include an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship and the Margaret Mead Award for her book about pica.