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Telecoupling, urbanization, and the unintended consequences of water development aid in Ethiopia

Stephen M. Chignell and Melinda J. Laituri
Telecoupling, urbanization, and the unintended consequences of water development aid in Ethiopia (in Geoscience for the public good and global development; toward a sustainable future, Gregory R. Wessel (editor) and Jeffrey K. Greenberg (editor))
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (2016) 520: 125-135

Abstract

Water access, sanitation, and security remain key foci of international aid and development. However, the increasing interconnectedness of hydrologic and social systems can cause water initiatives to have unexpected and cascading effects across geographic scales. This presents new challenges for geoscientists working in water development, as distant and complex socioeconomic and environmental relationships, or "telecouplings," may significantly influence the outcomes and sustainability of development projects. We explore these emerging concepts through a case study in Ethiopia, which receives over half of its annual budget from foreign development assistance and is currently experiencing rapid population growth and environmental change. Using examples from the literature, we identify water development aid initiatives in rural and urban settings and at local and national scales. We then situate these within the telecoupling framework to reveal underlying social-hydrological relationships. Our results indicate that water development is linking Ethiopia's hydrology with geographically distant communities and markets and creating new and often unexpected flows of people, material, and capital. These are resulting in cascading impacts and cross-scale feedbacks among urbanization, geopolitics, and the water-food-energy nexus in East Africa. We conclude with a discussion of the strengths, limitations, and potential of the telecoupling framework for geoscientists and development practitioners.


ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Coden: GSAPAZ
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 520
Title: Telecoupling, urbanization, and the unintended consequences of water development aid in Ethiopia
Title: Geoscience for the public good and global development; toward a sustainable future
Author(s): Chignell, Stephen M.Laituri, Melinda J.
Author(s): Wessel, Gregory R.editor
Author(s): Greenberg, Jeffrey K.editor
Affiliation: Colorado State University, Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Fort Collins, CO, United States
Affiliation: Geology in the Public Interest, Vashon, WA, United States
Pages: 125-135
Published: 2016
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 74
Accession Number: 2016-090168
Categories: Environmental geologyHydrogeology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 1 table, sketch map
N03°25'00" - N18°00'00", E33°00'00" - E48°00'00"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201644
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