Postdoctoral Researcher

Rossella Alba is a postdoctoral researcher working at the Hydrology and Society research group, Geography Institute. Her research examines socio-ecological inequalities through a focus on hydrosocial relations and the politics of infrastructure and (water) governance. She is interested in environmental justice, (urban) political ecology, socio-technical interactions and in the potentials offered by inter- and trans-disciplinary collaboration to foster critical water geographies and just transformations.

At IRI THESys she is working as scientific coordinator of the “Water security for whom?” project. As part of the project, she investigates the role of models and modelers in (re)configuring socio-ecological inequalities and water-food-energy relations in the context of multi-purpose dams in Colombia. Prior to joining IRI THESys, Rossella was a research assistant at the Governance and Sustainability Lab at Trier University, where she carried out her PhD research developing a situated analysis of socio-spatial inequalities in water distributions in Accra, Ghana. She was also a research assistant at the Geography Department at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and a master student at Wageningen University. She has research experience in Ghana, Mozambique, Ethiopia and in Italy.

Research Interests

  • Socio-ecological inequalities
  • Hydrosocial relations and critical geographies of water
  • Infrastructure and governance practices
  • Situated modelling (working group)


Water security for whom? – Social and material perspectives on inequality around multipurpose reservoirs in Colombia

Controversial tools: researching modelling practices in water governance, Constructive Advance Training programme 2022-2025, Network European Institutes for Advanced Studies, PI.

Selected Publications

Alba, R., & Kanesu, R. (2024). Working with water: a dialogue on care, infrastructure and labour. Territory, Politics, Governance, 1–17.

Menga, F., Rusca M., and Alba, R. (2023) Philantrocapitalism and the re-making of global water charity  Geoforum 144 (2023),

Flores Fernández, C. and Alba, R. (2023) Water or mineral resource? Legal interpretations and hydrosocial configurations of lithium mining in Chile. Frontiers in Water,

Krueger, T. and Alba, R., 2022. Ontological and epistemological commitments in interdisciplinary water research: Uncertainty as an entry point for reflexion. Frontiers in Water,

Alba, R., Kooy, M. and Bruns A. (2020) Conflicts, cooperation and experimentation: An Urban Political Ecology analysis of heterogeneous water infrastructure in Accra. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, online first

Alba, R., Klepp S. and Bruns A. (2020) Environmental justice and the politics of climate change adaptation – the case of Venice, Geographica Helvetica 75(4), 363-368

Alba, R., Bruns, A., Bartels L.E., Kooy M. (2019). Water Brokers: Exploring Urban Water Governance through the Practices of Tanker Water Supply in Accra. Water, 11(9), 1919.

Bartels, L. E.; Bruns, A and Alba, R. (2018). The production of uneven access to land and water in peri-urban spaces: de facto privatisation in greater Accra. Local Environment, 1-18.

Alba, R., and Bolding A. (2016). IWRM Avant la Lettre? Four Key Episodes in the Policy Articulation of IWRM in Downstream Mozambique. Water Alternatives, 9(3), 549-568.

Alba, R., Bolding, A. and Ducrot, R. (2016). The politics of Water Payments and Stakeholder Participation in the Limpopo River Basin, Mozambique. Water Alternatives, 9(3), 569-587.

Bolding, A. and Alba, R. (2016). Viewpoint – IWRM and I: A Reflexive Travelogue of the Flows and Practices Research Team. Water Alternatives, 9(3), 662-678.

Demenge, J., Alba, R., Welle, K., Manjur, K., Addisu, A., Mehta, L., and Woldearegay, K. (2015). Multifunctional roads: the potential effects of combined roads and water harvesting infrastructure on livelihoods and poverty in Ethiopia. Journal of Infrastructure Development 7.2 (2015): 165-180.

Mehta, L.; Alba, R.; Bolding, A.; Denby, K.; Derman, B.; Hove, T. et al. (2014): The politics of IWRM in Southern Africa. International Journal of Water Resources Development 30 (3), S. 528–542. 


IRI THESys: HU-Wissenschaftler:innen werfen einen kritischen Blick auf hydrologische Modelle (PDF)

Was Wasserkrisen uns lehren können. Gespräch zum Weltwassertag. Altes Land, 22.03.2023

Sie erforscht die Macht des Wassers. Buxtehude Tageblatt, 27.10.2023