CAPLA Assistant Research Scientist Adriana Zuniga and Fellow Researchers Win Best Paper Award from Water International

Aug. 4, 2021
Adriana Zuniga, Assistant Research Scientist
Best Paper Award in Water International Journal
Adriana Zuniga

Adriana Zuniga, assistant research scientist at the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona, has been awarded the 2018 Water International Best Paper Award. The editors of Water International choose the winners in three-year cycles, recently naming the 2018, 2019 and 2020 awardees, who will be honored on the 50th anniversary of the International Water Resources Association in Korea in December 2021.

The paper, “Water security and the pursuit of food, energy and earth systems resilience,” was co-authored by fellow Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy researchers Christopher A. Scott (lead author), Tamee R. Albrecht, Rafael De Grenade, Robert G. Varady and Bhuwan Thapa, who is also associated with Indiana University.

Part of Water International’s special issue on the “Global Water Security Challenge,” Zuniga’s paper reflects on the interconnections of water, energy and food security, and their relationship to earth system resilience.

“It is a well-written big picture article that helps make conceptual leaps in a way that makes it a candidate for a foundational text for students and practitioners about the water-energy-food nexus,” say the editors in announcing the award.

“We look back at the history of the security constructs for food, energy and water; where water security is the last entrant, but essential to the other two types of resource security,” says Zuniga. “This interconnection is also known as the water-energy-food nexus. The nexus approach places water at the core of human security because water is needed to produce and supply both food and energy. As the world’s population continues to grow and climate change poses greater threats to water, food and energy security, we need to consider earth system processes more holistically. After all, human security depends on earth system resilience.”

“It is a great honor to win this award,” she continues. “Knowing that this piece has been not only read, but also well-accepted, is one of the best feelings in the world. But the deeper joy lies in the successful intellectual collaboration with my colleagues. When your ideas are well-received by others, and enhanced with their own reflections (and vice versa), it feels amazing!”

Zuniga, who joined UArizona in 2015, earned her PhD in Arid Lands Resource Sciences and holds a Master of Science in Architecture from the University of Arizona. Her research explores questions related to green infrastructure and urban resilience, environmental justice, water security in cities, groundwater governance and other environmental issues in arid lands. She also teaches in CAPLA’s Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Built Environments, Master of Science in Urban Planning and Master of Real Estate Development programs.


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