Pathways to Sustainable Urban Water Security

The Shafdan water recycling plant, located in the Greater Tel Aviv metropolitan area of Israel. (Fall 2019)

The Pathways to Sustainable Urban Water Security: Desalination and Water Reuse in the 21st Century X-grant project at Texas A&M University examines freshwater access and infrastructure in the context of climate change, focusing on the role of desalination and water reuse technologies. Broadly, this multi-sited project asks whether and how desalination and water reuse support sustainable transitions in the urban water sector across seven case sites. The three-year, $1.5 million project features a highly interdisciplinary team with six co-PIs, three post-doctoral researchers, and numerous Masters and undergraduate student researchers across the fields of geography, public policy, law, engineering, and urban planning.

My responsibilities include numerous research, project management, and supervision roles. I am coordinating multiple Q-methodology case studies across Texas, California, Australia, Israel, and at the global corporate sector scale. My focus within the project examines diverse perspectives on desalination and water recycling technologies at each site a critical Q methodology framework. I am also the case site lead for Israel, and have conducted two field research trips in November 2019 and January-February 2020, completing a total of 47 interviews. I am the primary liaison for the project’s External Advisory Committee (EAC), a selection of key water industry stakeholders and researchers from Australia, Israel, and the U.S. who provide feedback and guidance on project objectives, methods, and deliverables. Lastly, I am co-supervising our student research team to systematically identify and process news media data from each case site. I am closely working with three student researchers to complete narrative timelines of the Israel, San Diego County (CA), and Orange County (CA) case sites.

I am building on the Pathways project to consider intersecting urban food and water systems more closely, focusing on the role of water security in urban sustainable food transitions. This project focuses on the role of ‘meso-level’ intermediary actors in shaping individual and/or household behaviors.


Sneegas, G., S. Beckner, C. Brannstrom, W. Jepson, K. Lee, L. Seghezzo. 2020. “Using Q-methodology in environmental sustainability research: A systematic review and bibliometric analysis.” Ecological Economics. Open Access. LINK

Organized Panels:

Sneegas, G., A. Fencl, W. Jepson, and K. Lee (session organizers). 2020. Geographies of Urban Water: Sustainable Transitions and Security (3 session series). Annual Meetings of the American Association of Geographers, Virtual AAG, April 6-10.

Lee, K., A. Fencl, W. Jepson, G. Sneegas (session organizers). 2020. What is the Role of “New Water” for Sustainable Urban Water Security? Policy, Practice, Challenges and Opportunities. Special Session, International Water Research Association World Water Congress, Daegu, South Korea, May 11-15. [Canceled due to COVID-19]


Sneegas, G. 2021. “Making the Desert Bloom”: Unconventional water and reconfiguring agri-social relations in Israel. Panel Title: Exploring the Future of Food and Agriculture: Promises and Perils. Annual Meetings of the American Association of Geographers, Seattle, WA, April 7-11. [Forthcoming]

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