Four King’s Water doctoral researchers have just completed an interdisciplinary methods experiment in the Yucatan Peninsula. The trip included presentations at the XVI World Water Congress and the formation of a new institutional partnership with CICY, the Centre for the Scientific Study of the Yucatan.
Prior to the Congress, a team spent a week in ‘speculative fieldwork’, testing a method for interdisciplinary water science. During the week, the King’s Water delegation explored the Yucatan Peninsula’s cenotes, underground limestone sinkholes connected to the Karst Aquifer. Their time included 7 semi-structured interviews with researchers, policymakers, and practitioners; 8 technical visits to sinkholes; an informal stakeholder analysis; and a great deal of discourse analysis and interdisciplinary conversations during travels as they examined how the cenotes were advertised to the public and used by various stakeholders.
At the Congress, the team presented its results with hydrologists from our new research partner, CICY. We are particularly proud that the bulk of our session was in Spanish – including at least extended greetings and in many cases full presentations in the local language from the King’s team members. Simultaneous translation provided by the Congress ensured accessibility for all.
The team also presented their individual research: Becca Farnum presented on fog-harvesting in Morocco and hydro-hegemony in international law; Harris Kuemmerle spoke about international conflict and cooperation between Pakistan and India around water resources. Nathalie Richards considered the role of IWRM in shaping water users’ associations in Tanzania (and vice versa), and Nando Lewis shared his approach to predicting and responding to water-food-climate conflict using satellite imagery. They were joined by colleagues from the London Water Research Group, UNESCO-IHE, and the Oxford Water Network.
We are now working with CICY to build a special issue around integrated, policy-oriented water research. We hope to host our new Mexican partners in London during the autumn term for a joint seminar. In the meantime, keep an eye out for the official report of the XVI World Water Congress and the involvement of King’s Water!