Srinivas Chokkakula – Understanding water disparities in India
Srinivas Chokkakula completed his PhD in the Geography earlier this academic year, focusing on research relating to water disputes in India.
“The most exciting part of the research project is the sense of having been able to advance the frontiers of existing understanding about the problem of interstate water disputes in India,” Chokkakula said. “And transboundary water conflicts generally, and contributing to possible ways of responding to it. I am also excited about how my training at the department, with its focus on critical methods of inquiry, has helped me to do this.”
Before taking up doctoral studies, Chokkakula had earlier worked in the development sector in India. The Indian government at that time (even now) has decided to take up a grandiose project of interlinking of rivers, by constructing several dams and canals across the country.
His initial reading on the subject exposed him to this challenge of poorly conceived and ineffective interstate dispute resolution mechanisms. “The project, seeking to alter the hydro-geographies of India, could potentially increase and escalate interstate disputes. I wanted to understand this problem towards informing related policies,” he said.
His research project has direct relevance to policy making, and his study is one of very few to advance the understanding of the problem. Indian governmental agencies have shown interest in his work and he’s discussing working with them in addition to working on a book.
Wilawan Thanatemaneerat – Water Quality, Modeling, and Policy
Wilawan Thanatemaneerat completed her doctoral work earlier this academic year. Her research interests center upon water quality management. She focuses upon environmental modeling of non-point source pollution within a public involvement policy process. Her dissertation research involves the geodesign of a multi-step computer model encompassing database representation, scenario modeling and decision modeling aimed at facilitating consensus decision making processes and public participation.