First Advisor

Max Nielsen-Pincus

Term of Graduation

Summer 2020

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Earth, Environment, & Society


Earth, Environment, & Society




Water-supply -- Oregon -- Willamette River Valley -- Management -- Case studies, Water-supply -- Australia -- Tasmania -- Management -- Case studies, Wine districts, Ecological regions, Climatic changes, Climate change mitigation



Physical Description

1 online resource (x, 151 pages)


My research examines how water management decisions create opportunities or barriers to climate change adaptation in wine regions. Water is a critical resource for economic and environmental sustainability in wine grape growing regions. Climate uncertainty presents considerable risk and vulnerability to freshwater resources in wine producing regions where needs for access to water will increase with more frequent climate extremes. Climate adaptation in the wine industry is a complex problem that requires multi-disciplinary approaches. This research aims to strengthen the interface between water governance and technological and viticulture adaptation approaches. Water resources are shared across regions by stakeholders with varied and sometimes conflicting needs, and a deeper understanding of the influences of social and institutional systems in water management is needed for climate adaptation approaches to be sustainable. Using an Institutional-Social-Ecological Dynamics (ISED) framework, my research aims to understand the relationship between institutional, social (including economic and political) and ecological systems and outcomes for water decisions in wine regions. The project objectives are undertaken through a comparative case study of two wine regions, Tasmania in Australia and the Willamette Valley in western Oregon. The wine industries in both regions have unique challenges and opportunities specific to their geographical, historical, political and climate contexts. Each case is constructed through semi-structured interviews with key knowledge holders, and analysis of governance structure, policy, planning, and management practices. Interviews provide perspectives from a broad range of wine industry professionals, researchers, policy makers, planners and water managers. Findings from these cases include: 1) historical legal regimes and top down management structures resulting in fragmented authority; 2) concerns about lack of transparency about financial and operational considerations regarding water management; 3) an uneven in stakeholder access to water resources; 4) social drivers like attitudes about climate change and the value of water influencing adaptation approaches; and 5) the broad range of business types and scales within the wine industry results in a range of adaptation capacity. These lessons inform broader implications of how institutional systems and water governance result in opportunities or barriers to the adoption and/or implementation of climate change adaptation practices in wine regions. Recommendations resulting from the research findings include: multi-disciplinary/multi-institutional approach to tackle complex problems; engagement with boundary organizations; redistribution of water rights; outreach, education, and incentives; engagement in institutional change; and climate change mitigation efforts.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier