IGRAC PhD Fellow Kirstin I. Conti successfully defended her PhD thesis


On the 4th of July 2017, Kirstin I. Conti has successfully presented and defended her PhD thesis and was awarded with a Doctoral degree. This PhD defense took place at the Agnietenkapel in Amsterdam. The past four years, Conti conducted her research on ‘Norms in Multilevel Groundwater Governance & Sustainable Development’ with IGRAC as PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam (UVA), Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research. Prof. Dr. Joyeeta Gupta, professor of environment and development in the global south at the UVA and IHE Delft, was her supervisor.

Norms in Multilevel Groundwater Governance & Sustainable Development

Kirstin Conti during her defense

This research responds to the question: What are the shortcomings of the current normative architecture for sustainable and inclusive groundwater governance and what are the key elements of a normative architecture at multiple geographic levels that are consistent with sustainable and inclusive development? 

Integrating hydrogeology into groundwater governance

Dr. Kirstin I. Conti was awarded Doctoral degree

This research presented a big-picture analysis of the state of groundwater governance. It took a rigorous approach to integrating hydrogeological knowledge into current understandings of groundwater governance. It builds upon existing research on specific groundwater governance frameworks by identifying patterns across these frameworks and highlighting key areas of incoherence and contradictions within and across geographic levels. It went beyond existing research, using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, by positioning sustainable and inclusive development as the guiding norm in order to draw conclusions about how existing groundwater governance frameworks may be improved. 

While such a big picture analysis is prone to obscuring the details and nuance of specific instances of groundwater governance, a case study of the Stampriet Transboundary Aquifer System (shared by Botswana, Namibia and South Africa) was included to re-capture some of these elements.