Hela GASMI soutiendra prochainement ses travaux de thèse de doctorat intitulés "Participatory characterization of water resilience in rural communities in Brazil’s Nordeste and central Tunisia".
La thèse, réalisée au sein de l'Ecole doctorale GAIA, a été effectuée en co-tutelle entre L'Institut Agro Montpellier et l'Université Fédérale du Ceará, sous la direction de Marcel Kuper et d’Eduardo Sávio Passos Rodrigues Martins, ainsi que le co-encadrement de Julien Burte et Sylvie Morardet.
La soutenance aura lieu le 03 novembre 2023 à la Funceme – Fortaleza, Brésil à 09h00 (heure Brésil) et 13h00 (heure France).
Lien de streaming : Soutenance publique / defesa pública
ID de réunion: 837 1286 2389
Code secret: 030445
Résumé de la thèse :
In many rural areas around the world, the functionality of community water supply systems is problematic, despite the considerable investments in water infrastructure that have been made. This has shifted the focus in international debates to managing rural water supplies, which includes but is not limited to water infrastructures. This management focus implies that rural water supply systems (RWSS) should be considered as dynamic systems, facing climatic and socio-economic change. Taking this viewpoint also means reconsidering the role of communities, as perhaps too much has actually been asked from them in sustaining these supplies. In this thesis, we investigate the challenges related to the functionality of rural water supply systems (RWSS), seen as a coproduction of the State, communities and other supporting actors, using the conceptual lens of water resilience. The thesis developed an approach to co-design a conceptual and operational framework that would enhance the understanding of how to design more resilient rural water supply systems. The approach was developed and tested at multiple scales (households, nucleated settlements, communities, and hydro-social territories) in two semi-arid regions in central Tunisia and Brazil’s Nordeste. We developed a participatory approach with surveys, interviews and workshops. Three main results were thus obtained. First, we analyzed and formalized the trajectory of community-based RWSSs, thus providing a fresh perspective on water supply systems in rural communities. RWSSs were shown to be systems catering to multiple water uses; that depend on one or more water sources; that include water infrastructures and the organization managing them; that are embedded in social relationships within the community and that are firmly connected to external actors, that contribute to its establishment and development. To sustain access to water, rural communities often limit their dependence on community-managed water supply systems and diversify water sources for different uses; they adapt the technical and organizational dimensions of water supply systems through bricolage; and use political leverage to obtain financial and technical support. Second, by combining the Multiple Water Use Services approach with a water resilience lens we developed an approach to explain how a resilient RWSS deals with shocks, adapting to changing conditions and transformations in situations of crisis. This insight was operationalized by identifying three key functions of resilient RWSSs. The first function is the productive function: to provide water, from multiple water sources, at all times, even in the case of shocks and stresses. The community needs to use its assets to adapt (multiple) supplies to changes and emergencies. The second function is internal regulation, that is, the community institutions enabling to organize water supply. The third function is the capacity to safeguard reliable connections to external actors, which makes it possible to assess the mode of integration of the RWSS in the rest of the territory and favors its sustainability. Subsequently, we co-defined and explained 12 essential features - the distinctive attributes of each function that allow the RWSS to fulfil the function when dealing with shocks and stresses - and 35 explanatory variables of water resilience that allow these functions to be maintained. Third, a multi-scalar analysis with a hydro-social territorial lens revealed how the over-development of small-scale water infrastructures in a catchment area may enhance the communities' water resilience, but it can also lead to the loss of hydraulic connectivity and the fragmentation of the catchment into smaller and multiple hydro-social territories. This fragmentation may result in water dispossession and disempowerment of rural communities during water negotiations. We conclude that the participatory water resilience framework developed in this PhD is robust and can be adapted to and used for a wide range of rural water supply systems in semi-arid regions. Accounting for water resilience can help in designing and sustaining more durable water supply systems in rural areas.