Toward a Political Ecology of Water Solutions
environmental health
political ecology
water solutions
techno-managerial approaches

Expanding on political ecology analyses that are increasingly applied to water-related challenges, this essay calls for greater attention to the political and social consequences of proposed water solutions. Concern about environmental health in Palestine often highlights a lack of water access, with proposed solutions focusing on increasing water supplies. Drawing on fieldwork in the West Bank, northern Israel, and Tel Aviv, this essay compares how differently situated residents and water managers evaluate the potential impacts of one type of supply-side infrastructure: desalination. This comparison counters avowedly apolitical technical evaluations of such initiatives by showing uneven sociopolitical costs and benefits.

Author biography: 
Emily McKee is an associate professor in the department of anthropology and at the Institute for the Study of Environment, Sustainability and Energy at Northern Illinois University. She specializes in environmental and Middle East anthropology, with a focus on political ecology. McKee is the author of Dwelling in Conflict: Negev Landscapes and the Boundaries of Belonging (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2016), which examines land conflicts in Israel, and has published articles investigating land and water relations and environmentalist campaigns in Palestine, Israel, and Jordan, as well as articles on farming and food systems in the United States.