Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Investments in people and technology : public participation in the remediation of Dian Lake in Yunnan, China

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  • From the 1960s to 1990s, the water quality of Dian Lake (滇池), China's sixth largest freshwater lake located outside the capital of Yunnan Province, Kunming City, rapidly declined causing livelihood disruption, decreased water availability, and biodiversity loss. Despite significant investments in remediation efforts, only small water quality improvements have been made. In basins where no technical solution seems to eliminate the existing water quality issues, Integrated Water Resource Management and Adaptive Management frameworks suggest stakeholder involvement, collective action, and knowledge sharing are important to the lake basin management process. However, in China's authoritarian government system, these factors may be limited. Therefore, through semi-structured and informal interviews, this thesis examines the available opportunities in the pollution control and remediation efforts at Dian Lake for knowledge sharing and collective action between organizations involved in the restoration and pollution control efforts and the residents of two residential areas bordering Dian Lake: Yanjia Village and Haikou Township. The qualitative assessment also includes an investigation into the organization representatives’ rationale for the inclusion or exclusion of villagers within the management process as well as the villagers’ awareness of and beliefs about the process. The resulting discussion examines how the rationale for villager inclusion, coupled with the villagers' beliefs and current opportunities available to them in the management process compares features necessary for the success of IWRM and Adaptive Management frameworks as suggested in the literature.
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