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Chantelise Pells

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Title: 
PhD candidate

I received a MA in Geography at UC Davis in 2008 and a BA at UC Berkeley. I'm currently working towards a PhD in Geography focusing on collective action and community based environmental management. My research on local groundwater governance is being conducted in Guadalupe Valley, Mexico's largest viticulture region. Currently I'm working with the Nature Conservancy and UC Davis' Center for Watershed Sciences investigating the feasibility of a water fund in N. Baja. I'm also using my research as a case study for a book chapter on Collaborative Governance.

Contact Information
Office Location: 
2125A Wickson Hall

This research investigates collective action and local groundwater governance in the context of a diverse cultural environment in Northern Baja California. Groundwater is a classic common pool resource that necessitates collective engagement to maintain water availability especially in areas of intensive agricultural production. Mexico is an example of a less developed (and in this case developing) nation that has undergone institutional decentralization. Water resources are now governed at multiple levels that includes local watershed based institutions. The local watershed institutions are conceptualized as a mechanism to inform groundwater users on water use regulations and improve knowledge on groundwater conditions by monitoring groundwater levels over time. Groundwater users can visit the local office for assistance and attend informational meetings. Current regulations require registration and metering of all groundwater wells. The results of an in-person survey conducted in 2011 with local groundwater users demonstrates that due to inadequate outreach and information sharing there is an asymmetry in the knowledge about the benefits in participating in local governance that has resulted in some of the lower income and longer term residents losing access to water via well closures and termination of water rights. This case study on Guadalupe Valley local groundwater governance and collective action highlights the parallel processes of democratic representation and resource sustainability and some of the obstacles of achieving them in tandem.

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