The 95th RIHN seminar

Date: 11 November 2013 (Mon.)
Time: 12:15 –13:15
Place: Seminar room 1 & 2, RIHN ( → Access)
Title: Towards a Cultural Understanding of Water Management
Speaker: Dr. GROENFELDT, David John (Director, Water–Culture Institute)
(Visiting Research Fellows, RIHN project "Designing Local Frameworks for Integrated Water Resources Management")


"Water culture" refers to two domains: (1) the social and economic context of water management, and (2) the values, attitudes and beliefs motivating behaviors. While the socio-economic domain is well developed in water research, the values domain has been largely neglected. The focus of my research fellowship has been to explore this domain and identify examples of cultural values influencing water management behavior. My particular interest is on behaviors that seem problematic from the perspective of environmental and social sustainability. The specific behaviors I will discuss include: (a) land conversion out of agriculture, (b) declining agro-diversity, (c) inequitable and inefficient water use, (d) water pollution, and (e) ecological degradation of rivers and coastal areas. Each of these problems is linked to many related issues which also have physical and socio-economic dimensions studied by other members of the Project C-09 team. Using examples from the research locations in Japan (Eichi River), Indonesia (Bali and South Sulawesi) and Turkey (Adana and GAP region), I will discuss how cultural values are linked to a range of social, economic, and physical behaviors related to water. Finally I will discuss how cultural values are not only part of the problem but can also motivate the new behaviors needed for a sustainable "future earth".

Curriculum Vitae (Summary):

Dr. David Groenfeldt is applied anthropologist with twenty-nine years’ experience in rural development and water policy work, including research, project analysis and evaluation, training and capacity-building, program management, and networking and outreach. Topical areas of expertise include water and agricultural policy, watershed and basin management, water dimensions of climate adaptation, social assessment and participation, Indigenous Peoples’ cultural rights, protected area and buffer zone planning and management; environmental assessment; and institutional analysis. His long-term assignments have included a research institute (IWMI, 5 years), a development agency (the World Bank, 7 years), an environmental NGO (WWF, 1 year), a consulting firm (ARD, 3 years), a place-based NGO (Santa Fe Watershed Association, 4 years), and most recently a water policy institute (Water-Culture Institute, 2 years and counting). In between and overlapping, he has consulted on water issues for various multi–lateral (World Bank, ADB, IFAD, FAO), and bilateral agencies (JICA, USAID, GTZ, DSE). Since 2008 he has also held the position of adjunct Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico.

KURATA Takashi (Associate Professor, RIHN)
Research Institute for Humanity and Nature
457-4 Motoyama, Kamigamo, Kita-ku, Kyoto, 603-8047, Japan
Phone : +81-75-707-2382
Fax : +81-75-707-2513