In the past decade, research on interconnected resource challenges has primarily focused on quantifying physical resource interconnections. More recently, research has expanded into the social, economic, and policy dimensions of resource interconnections. Given the challenges presented by these interconnections, many researchers have emphasized the need for inter- and trans-disciplinary research. While this has resulted in increased collaboration among research groups, little work has examined the convergence of perspectives between the research groups and their respective stakeholders.
To address this gap, the authors focused on the San Antonio Region, Texas. This region is a resource hotspot characterized by rapid urbanization, increased shale-based energy production, and growing agricultural activity. They surveyed 370 researchers and regional stakeholders from governmental, nongovernmental, and business organizations in the Region’s water, energy, or food sectors. Using their responses, the researchers (1) evaluated levels of convergence in perspectives regarding regional water, energy, and food challenges; (2) quantified existing levels of communication of both researchers and regional stakeholders with identified regional WEF organizations; and (3) identified barriers to and opportunities for improving communication between the WEF organizations and the researchers.
The authors found aspects of convergence between surveyed regional stakeholders and researchers. One such aspect was convergence on several strategies adopted by different Texas Development Water Boards to address future water challenges. Modest levels of communication were reported between surveyed researchers and regional stakeholders with other identified WEF organizations. Both groups converge on the potential roles of “increased communication” and “sharing information between agencies” as a means to improve cooperation to address interconnected resource challenges. To make this possible, institutional mechanisms and resource allocations for such activities must be revisited.
Hannibal, Bryce. 2019. “Toward Understanding the Convergence of Researcher and Stakeholder Perspectives Related to Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Challenges: The Case of San Antonio, Texas.” Paper presented at the Annual Water Resources Conference of the Universities Council on Water Resources, Snowbird, UT, June 11-13. Coauthored with Bassel Daher, Rabi Mohtar, and Kent Portney.