A Flood of Factors: Water Scarcity Calls for a Multi/Transdisciplinary Approach

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debateGeneral public


Water scarcity and drought are often discussed under the lenses of natural and physical sciences. But simply understanding climatic drivers is not enough to address hazards that are intertwined with history, people, society, and geography. Neither can the role humans play in environmental degradation be limited to the study of human impacts. Our world is formed by social, economic, and political structures that are tied to physical space and ecological processes in complex ways. In places where socially transformative actions are needed to improve water availability and access to safe sources, researchers and policymakers need to engage with social sciences, human geography, political ecology and environmental histories. These scholarly lines of inquiry can reveal tensions over resources and territories that deepen critical environmental conditions and interfere with the traditional local systems that were once resilient to conditions of water scarcity and recurrent droughts. While mostly under-represented in policy making, applied research, and funding, their contributions deserve wider exposure and legitimacy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch counts
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sep 2019
MoE publication typeE1 Popularised article, newspaper article

Fields of Science

  • 5203 Development Studies
  • 1172 Environmental sciences

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