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Discourse within southwest water management: a case study in the Central Arizona Project

Burnham, Sarah (2022) Discourse within southwest water management: a case study in the Central Arizona Project. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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The Central Arizona Project (CAP), a system of canals developed under the Colorado River Basin Project Act of 1968 that provided water to central and southern Arizona, is the primary water supplier for over 80 percent of the population in the state. With growing communities and already scarce water resources, addressing climate change is important within the discussion of water management and the broader water-energy-food-climate (WEFC) nexus. This study asks: How does discourse on water availability in the context of drought/climate change/global warming influence the policies and procedures of the Central Arizona Project? To answer this question, the study employs a discourse and content analysis of 221 CAP board meetings to understand how the discussion of climate change has changed over time and guiding motivations of CAP governance. A political ecology lens was taken to reveal the social and political relations of the water-energy- food-climate nexus. While the discussion of climate change within CAP board meetings has increased in frequency with decreasing levels of resistance, these discussions do not fully encompass the full extent of climate change. Results from both the content analysis and discourse analysis reveal the key motivating factors behind CAP board meetings as well as individual sentiments CAP members and the included external individuals feel towards climate change, including economic development and agriculture. These show gaps and biases within CAP discussions, ultimately pointing towards opportunities for growth when it comes to building sustainable communities within the realm of water management. Suggestions for future CAP actions include continuing to raise awareness on climate change and resource availability while limiting overall consumption.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: Colorado River water; discourse analysis; Drought Contingency Plan; political discourse; Central Arizona Project; Water supply--Arizona; Climate change
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences > School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2022 17:03
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2022 17:03
URI: https://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5854

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