Michael H. Agar (University of Maryland, College Park)
Abstract. Water governance—the networks and the rules of the game—is under stress in New Mexico, not to mention in most of the world. Among the proposed “transformations,” in the words of Senator Udall’s recent conference, are concepts right out of nonlinear dynamic social science, like emergent locally negotiated settlements, adaptive management, and integrated water resources management. This presentation will use the Aamodt water rights adjudication case in the Pojoaque basin north of Santa Fe as the empirical anchor. It is the longest running federal case in U.S. history, beginning in 1966 and still not finished. A closer look at this classic example of what Victor Turner called a “social drama” will show how and why the traditional system has become dysfunctional and how the proposed reforms are proving more difficult than anticipated because it's not just, or even mostly, an engineering problem. Time permitting, a pilot agent-based model developed by Sandia and Intel of water stakeholders in the Middle Rio Grande Basin will be sketched as a potential transformation-aiding device suggested by those Aamodt-based lessons.
Bio. Michael Agar is emeritus professor of linguistics and anthropology at the University of Maryland. He lives in Eldorado and works in Northern New Mexico on water governance. He is currently a research professor in biology at the University of New Mexico, a Distinguished Scholar at the International Institute of Qualitative Methodology, a Visiting International Fellow with the Constructed Complexity project at Surrey University, and Chief Paradigm Mechanic at Ethknoworks LLC in Santa Fe. www.ethknoworks.com. His latest book is The Lively Science: Remodeling Human Social Research.