David Groenfeldt
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David Groenfeldt is director of the Water-Culture Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and adjunct associate professor of anthropology at the University of New Mexico. Following his PhD research on village-level irrigation development in India, he embarked on a career in international development that included five years with the International Water Management Institute in Sri Lanka and 13 years in Washington, D.C., working with NGOs, consulting firms, and from 1994 to 2001 with the World Bank. His focus was the potential synergy between the management of natural resources and the empowerment of local communities through self-governance. Strengthening local organizations to manage irrigation networks was seen as generating two types of benefits: economic benefits of more efficient management and social benefits of more robust institutions.

In Groenfeldt's subsequent work with indigenous peoples organizations and a four-year tenure as director of the Santa Fe Watershed Association in New Mexico, two additional types of potential benefits or costs were identified: cultural and environmental. Understanding the interplay of these benefits or "values" became the mission of the Water-Culture Institute, which he founded in 2010. Through the activities of the Institute and in his writings, Groenfeldt is drawing attention to the practical implications of "water ethics" in decisions about water at local and global levels, and in developing climate adaptation strategies. Those dynamics are discussed in his new book, Water Ethics: A Values Approach to Solving the Water Crisis.


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