Ensuring ’water security for all’ is one of the most pressing development challenges of the Anthropocene. This challenge was recognised by world leaders through the recent adoption of a dedicated water goal in the post-2015 development agenda –an agenda which ostensibly seeks to ‘transform our world’. Governance reforms are regarded as fundamental to this transformation, with SDG target 6.5 calling specifically for the implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) at all levels.  IWRM and adaptive management are newer policy paradigms which call for more inclusive and reflexive forms of governance which should build resilience in water systems and create more socially just outcomes. So far, however, there has been limited attention to the potential effects of these reform processes on state capacity to regulate the socio-natural relations that are constitutive of water security in SIDS.

This thesis seeks to address this gap through case studies of water sector reforms in Samoa (in the Pacific) and St. Lucia (in the Caribbean). The case studies examine how multiscalar relational dynamics affect water security in these places, and identify immanent potential for more adaptive and socially just governance by utilizing the strategic relational approach.

Advisors: Dr Karen McNamara, Assoc Prof Shahar Hameiri

Project members


PhD Candidate