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Vision and Goals

The demand for purely scientific and engineering approaches to address major challenges in managing water resources has reached its limit and a new approach is needed. Effective synthesis of societal and political solutions with engineering and scientific formulation is an integral part of long-term and adaptive resolutions to many unresolved yet pressing water problems. Water issues are complex due to their intricate coupling among natural, societal, and political domains where people and problems interact to shape the framing and formulation of the issue. Many water problems are the result of competition, interaction, and feedback among Natural (waterquantity, quality, and ecosystems) and Societal (economy, social values and political norms, and governance) Domain (NSD) variables.

Water, as a limited resource, lends itself to conflicts over its division. A synthesis of explicit (scientific water information from natural domain) and tacit (contextual water information from societal domain) knowledge of water is needed to transform fixed water quantity into a flexible resource.

How do we create Water Diplomats?

Tufts University's Water Diplomacy | IGERT program prepares next generation of water professionals who will create an adaptive and actionable knowledge to resolve water problems through negotiated solutions. We teach students to:

Develop the intellectual foundation to integrate knowledge from natural and societal domains through collaborative and continuous learning.

  • Formulate and frame water problems recognizing that NSPD variables are intricately linked. The NSPD framework attempts to synthesize and integrate explicit and tacit water information within a dynamical and evolving context to create reliable, relevant and readily actionable knowledge.
  • Jointly define the problem by integrating knowledge from scientific and engineering disciplines and legal and policy disciplines (School of Arts and Science, the School of Engineering, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy).
  • Work with national and international partners to synthesize water information and contextual knowledge by examining real world case studies through the NSPD framework.
  • Contribute to AquaPedia, an interactive, searchable, web-based open-access collaborative platform of global water case studies organized around NSPD framework.
  • Promote interactive dialogue among producers and users of knowledge to combine disciplinary, contextual, and pragmatic perspectives in exploring negotiated solutions.

Generate actionable knowledge and negotiated solutions

  • Conduct field work with guidance from a growing list of national and international partners including Stockholm Environment Institute, South Florida Water Management District, World Bank, Institute of Water and Flood Management, Bangladesh and South Asia Consortium of Interdisciplinary Water Studies.
  • Facilitate sharing and dissemination of knowledge through network of users and producers using Aquapedia as a platform.