Institutional Networks and Adaptive Water Governance in the Klamath River Basin, USA

Environmental Science & Policy 57 (2016) 112-121

University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 160

10 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2016

See all articles by Brian Chaffin

Brian Chaffin

University of Montana

Ahjond S. Garmestani

Government of the United States of America - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Hannah Gosnell

Oregon State University

Robin Kundis Craig

University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law

Date Written: 2016

Abstract

Polycentric networks of formal organizations and informal stakeholder groups, as opposed to centralized institutional hierarchies, can be critically important for strengthening the capacity of governance systems to adapt to unexpected social and biophysical change. Adaptive governance is one type of environmental governance characterized by the emergence of networks that stimulate adaptive capacity through increases in social-learning, communication, trust, public participation and adaptive management. However, detecting and analyzing adaptive governance networks remains elusive, especially given contexts of highly contested resource governance such as large-scale negotiations over water use. Research methods such as social network analysis (SNA) are often infeasible as they necessitate collecting in-depth and politically sensitive personal data from a near-complete set of actors or organizations in a network. Here we present a method for resolving this problem by describing the results of an institutional SNA aimed at characterizing the changing governance network in the Klamath River Basin, USA during a period of contested negotiations over water. Through this research, we forward a method of institutional SNA useful when an individual or egocentric approach to SNA is problematic for political, logistical or financial reasons. We focus our analysis on publically available data signaling changes in formal relationships (statutory, regulatory, contractual) between organizations and stakeholder groups. We find that employing this type of SNA is useful for describing potential and actual transitions in governance that yield increases in adaptive capacity to respond to social and biophysical surprises such as increasing water scarcity and changes in water distribution.

Keywords: Adaptive governance, Social network analysis (SNA), Klamath River Basin, Water governance, Institutional analysis

Suggested Citation

Chaffin, Brian and Garmestani, Ahjond S. and Gosnell, Hannah and Craig, Robin Kundis, Institutional Networks and Adaptive Water Governance in the Klamath River Basin, USA (2016). Environmental Science & Policy 57 (2016) 112-121, University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 160, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2719102

Brian Chaffin (Contact Author)

University of Montana ( email )

32 Campus Drive
Missoula, MT 598012
United States
4062436575 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cfc.umt.edu/personnel/details.php?ID=4123

Ahjond S. Garmestani

Government of the United States of America - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ( email )

Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
United States

Hannah Gosnell

Oregon State University ( email )

Bexell Hall 200
Corvallis, OR 97331
United States

Robin Kundis Craig

University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 South University St.
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States
801-585-5228 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://faculty.utah.edu/u0793211-ROBIN_KUNDIS_CRAIG/biography/index.hml

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