Water security – for whom?

In this lecture, Tobias sketched how he came to work with the notion of water security (or should we rather say insecurity?). He began by discussing the normative commitments of contemporary water security definitions based on unpublished work with Johannes
Himmelreich when he was at IRI THESys. A risk-based definition will be singled out as particularly problematic drawing on work with Mark Zeitoun and others. This part links to his long-standing interest in uncertainty models. He then explained how Karen Lebek turned him onto water insecurity through her work with marginalised rural communities in South Africa. This gave him the opportunity to showcase how they brought ethnographic field work and statistical modelling into innovative dialogue. Finally, Tobias outlined how they brought all these insights, and wider experiences with interdisciplinary education at IRI THESys, together in the design of our new ‘Water Security for Whom’ project funded by the Volkswagen
Foundation. Together with Rossella Alba, Laura Betancour Alarcon, Joerg Niewoehner, Patrick Hostert and partners in Colombia and Brazil he will be researching inequalities around three multi-purpose dams in Colombia over the next 3-4 years.