Gül Özerol

University of Twente
CSTM - Department of Technology and Governance for Sustainability

PO Box 217
7500 AE
g.ozerol@utwente.nl |  Visit Personal Website

Search Google Scholar
Search for Google Scholar Profile

I aim to improve the understanding of how the multiplicity of actors, sectors, scales and institutions influence the sustainable governance of water and land resources. My research revolves around the following four themes: • Water and energy governance, with a focus on participation, power, gender and equity • Water-energy-land nexus, with a focus on the governance of irrigation, wastewater and desalination • Urban water governance, with a focus on climate resilience • Transdisciplinary research methodologies, with a focus on co-creation and communication of knowledge

Al-Khatib, N. Shoqier, J.A.H., Özerol, G., Majaj, L., 2017. Governing the reuse of treated wastewater in irrigation: Case study of Jericho, Palestine. International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, 16, 135-148.
Abstract: In resource-scarce settings such as Palestine, the governance of water resources represents a complex interplay of economic, political, legal, financial, social and environmental factors that guide and facilitate interactions among various stakeholders. Wastewater reuse in irrigation is one of the innovative methods to provide additional water supply for agriculture and to save freshwater resources for human consumption. The water sector in Palestine is subject to water scarcity and geopolitical, social and economic constraints. Although wastewater reuse represents a significant potential to account for the scarcity of water and the complexity of the Palestinian context, the governance of the reuse of treated wastewater in Palestine is understudied. The paper aims at bridging this knowledge gap and outlining the governance factors that facilitate or hinder the reuse of treated wastewater for irrigation in Palestine. An assessment tool was used to investigate the various dimensions and qualities of water governance in Palestine. Jericho was selected as the case study site, given its significant role for agricultural production in Palestine. Based on stakeholder interviews and document review, our assessment of the governance of treated wastewater reuse reveals three main factors that are affecting the reuse of treated wastewater in irrigation: 1. Weak coherence among the various actors in the water and wastewater sectors,. 2. Low extent and coherence of legal and economic instruments. 3. Low extent of resources such as appropriate infrastructure and social acceptance.
Özerol, G., Bressers, H., 2017. How do farmers align with the agri-environmental changes in irrigated agriculture? A Case Study from Harran Plain, Turkey. Irrigation and Drainage, 66, 45-59.
Abstract: Irrigated agriculture has a significant potential for food security and poverty reduction, while it is also associated with broader agri-environmental changes. These changes include the agrarian change in terms of the intensification, globalization and neoliberalization of agriculture, and the environmental change due to the pollution, degradation and exploitation of water and soil resources. Farmers are key actors in irrigated agriculture, since they are both the users of water and soil resources and the target groups of policies. This paper aims to improve the understanding on the relationship between farmers' decisions on irrigated agriculture and the agri-environmental changes that result from irrigated agriculture, and to explain how the farmers differ in terms of their alignment with these changes. We develop a conceptual model by building on natural resources governance and farmer decision-making, and apply the model through a case study in Harran Plain, an agricultural area in Turkey. Our findings indicate that farmers are differentiated in terms of their degree of alignment. This differentiation results mainly from the attributes that relate to what the farmers have, such as land, financial capacity, power attribution and network range, and it affects the farmers' decisions about resource use and crop production.
DOI: 10.1002/ird.2064
Flores, C.C., Özerol, G., Bressers, H., 2017. “Governance restricts”: A contextual assessment of the wastewater treatment policy in the Guadalupe River Basin, Mexico. Utilities Policy, 47, 29-40.
Abstract: Lack of wastewater treatment is among the main water problems worldwide. The implementation of wastewater treatment policies faces varying challenges given the many different contexts. Therefore, context-sensitive approaches are required from a governance perspective. This paper aims to improve the understanding of the role of contextual factors in water and wastewater governance drawing on empirical evidence from Latin America, with a focus on the Guadalupe River Basin in Mexico. The findings indicate that the governance context restricts the implementation of wastewater treatment policy. Thus, future reforms should consider the top-down nature of the policy implementation process.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jup.2017.06.006
Özerol, G., Bressers. B., 2015. Scalar alignment and sustainable water governance: The case of irrigated agriculture in Turkey. Environmental Science & Policy 45, 1-10.
Abstract: Irrigated agriculture plays a significant role in global food security and poverty reduction. At the same time its negative impacts on water and land resources threaten environmental sustainability. With the objective of improving the understanding on the complexity of governing water resources for irrigated agriculture, this paper introduces the concept of scalar alignment, which is used to analyse governance implications of spatial and temporal scales. Using empirical data from irrigated agriculture in Turkey, implications of spatial and temporal alignment on environmental sustainability are examined. The findings indicate that both spatial and temporal alignment influence the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policy instruments. Increasing the degree of scalar alignment in irrigated agriculture can contribute to sustainable water governance by contributing to the alleviation of negative impacts and the prevention of further degradation.
URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901114001749
Özerol, G., Newig, J., 2008. Evaluating the success of public participation in water resources management: five key constituents. Water Policy, 10(6), 639-655
Abstract: Public participation (PP) is increasingly expected to enhance the effectiveness of water resources management. This is recognized in recent legislation such as the European Union Water Framework Directive. We identify five key constituents that affect the success of PP processes and which can be used as indicators thereof. These comprise: 1) the scope of the participants; 2) communication with the public; 3) capacity building; 4) timing; and 5) financing of participation. They are based on the management of resources—namely time, human and financial resources—and on further aspects that emerge from the utilization of these resources throughout the PP process. Drawing on existing case studies from the European Union and Canada, we demonstrate the applicability of our evaluative scheme. We find severe deficits in the PP cases that can all be attributed to the five key constituents. Although not representative, our analysis points to important challenges for water policy, particularly in the European multi-level context.
URL: http://wp.iwaponline.com/content/10/6/639
Özerol, G., 2013. Introduction to a “complicated story”: The role of wastewater reuse to alleviate the water problems of Palestine. Ortadoğu Analiz, 53, 60-70.
Abstract: Water in the Middle East is characterised as a scarce resource that is associated with varying degrees of competition and conflict among its users in basins, countries, and sectors. Like the other arid and semi-arid regions of the world, non-conventional water resources such as wastewater, seawater and rainwater are increasingly promoted in the Middle East. This situation can be explained by the great potential attributed to the non-conventional resources to alleviate the water scarcity problem by producing additional water supply and relieving the increasing pressure on water user sectors. It is however also known that non-conventional water resources entail risks and constraints, influencing their adoption in different social, cultural and economic contexts. Palestine is among the Middle Eastern countries that intensively experience water problems, which are exacerbated due to the conflict with Israel. The paper examines the existing situation in Palestine in terms of the utilisation of non-conventional water resources through focusing on one of the options, namely the reuse of treated wastewater. It is concluded that a strategic approach that addresses capacity-building needs in multiple levels and dimensions is essential for better policies and practice. For such an approach that incorporates the major concerns regarding the reuse of wastewater, improvement areas are identified for capacity-building at local, national and regional levels and for monitoring and evaluation.
URL: http://www.orsam.org.tr/files/OA/53/6gulozerol.pdf
de Boer, C., Vinke-de Kruijf, J., Özerol, G., Bressers, H., (eds.), 2013. Water Governance, Policy and Knowledge Transfer: International Studies on Contextual Water Management. London-New York: Earthscan from Routledge.
Abstract: In an increasingly global community of researchers and practitioners, new technologies and communication means have made the transfer of policies from one country or region to another progressively more prevalent. There has been a lot of attention in the field of public administration paid to policy transfer and institutional transplantation. This book aims to create a better understanding of such transfers in the water management sector. These include the adoption of modern water management concepts, such as integrated water resources management and forms of water governance, which are strongly promoted and sometimes also imposed by various international organizations. Transfers also occur within the scope of development aid or for the purpose of creating business opportunities. In addition, many research organisations, consultancies and governmental agencies are involved in cross-border work. The purpose of this book is therefore to present practical examples of the transfer of modern water management from one locality to another and to critically discuss the transferability of policy and governance concepts by analysing the contextual needs and factors. Case studies are included from North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It is argued that in many cases context matters in water management and that there is no panacea or universal concept that can be applied to all countries or regions with different political, economic, cultural and technological contexts. Yet it is also shown that some countries are facing pressing and similar water management issues that cut across national borders, and hence the transfer of knowledge may be beneficial.
URL: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415625975/
Özerol, G., Bressers, H., Coenen, F., 2012. Irrigated agriculture and environmental sustainability: An alignment perspective. Environmental Science and Policy, 23, 57-67.
Abstract: Irrigated agriculture is a key policy issue in many countries since it is the major user of water and land resources while it also threatens environmental sustainability due to the overexploitation, degradation and pollution of water and soil resources. Given its cross-cutting, unstructured and relentless nature, the negative impact of irrigated agriculture on environmental sustainability can be considered as a wicked problem. Building on the integrative approaches to governance, we introduce cross-sectoral alignment as a concept to analyse such wicked problems and operationalise it with three interrelated criteria, namely, actor representation, issue boundaries and working procedures. We apply the concept with empirical data about irrigated agriculture in Turkey, a country that relies on agricultural production in rural areas, expands irrigated agriculture and experiences increasing environmental problems due to irrigated agriculture. The analysis of cross-sectoral alignment in Turkish irrigated agriculture reveals various obstacles to a high level of alignment as well as opportunities to improve the level of alignment. Relieving the obstacles and benefiting from the opportunities is essential to improve cross-sectoral alignment and hence alleviate the negative impact of irrigated agriculture on the environment.
URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901112001116
Özerol, G., 2013. Institutions of farmer participation and environmental sustainability: A multi-level analysis from irrigation management in Harran Plain, Turkey. International Journal of the Commons, 7(1), 73-91.
Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between farmer participation and environmental sustainability from an institutional perspective in the context of Harran Plain, one of the newest and largest irrigated areas in Turkey. Harran Plain undergoes social, economic and institutional change due to the expansion of large-scale irrigation and the establishment of irrigation associations. These changes, however, trigger an environmental change in the form of waterlogging and soil salinisation. The concepts of ‘institutional scale’ and ‘institutional alignment’ are applied to critically analyse the narratives regarding the causes of excessive water use, which is a collective action problem playing a significant role in increased waterlogging and soil salinity in Harran Plain. Empirical findings demonstrate that a low degree of institutional alignment among the rules at different levels constitutes an obstacle against taking actions to prevent excessive water use. Major issues are identified as the lack of water rights at plot and district levels; the exclusion of farmers from the planning of irrigation seasons; the inefficient monitoring of irrigation frequencies and fee collections, and the lack of mechanisms to monitor the operations of irrigation associations. The application of institutional scale and institutional alignment also contribute to the understanding of social-ecological systems by facilitating the systematic analysis of institutions and the identification of areas for institutional change.
URL: http://www.thecommonsjournal.org/index.php/ijc/article/view/368

Substantive Focus:
Energy and Natural Resource Policy
Environmental Policy
Governance PRIMARY
Comparative Public Policy SECONDARY
Urban Public Policy

Theoretical Focus:
Policy Process Theory
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation SECONDARY
Policy Analysis and Evaluation PRIMARY