Identifying diverging sustainability meanings for water policy: A Q-method study in Phoenix, Arizona
IRIBARNEGARAY, M.A.; SULLIVAN, A.; RODRÍGUEZ ALVAREZ, M.S.; BRANNSTROM, C.; SEGHEZZO, L.; WHITE, D.
I W A PUBLISHING
We identify and describe social perspectives on the sustainability of the water sector in the metropolitan area of Phoenix, Arizona. Using Q methodology, we found evidence for different meanings of sustainability when stakeholders are presented with concrete policy options and applications in spite of widespread acceptance of sustainability principles. We put the social perspectives articulated by local stakeholders in perspective by analysing whether they adhere to a commonly used set of sustainability principles when applied to water management and governance. The analysis indicates that although there is some level of acceptance of sustainability principles among social perspectives identified, there are important discrepancies in the salience of different principles. Results suggest that when persons are interacting in policy-making process they tend to support their own vision of problems and their normative considerations could be opposed to broadly accepted sustainability discourses. The different visions of water sustainability have a direct impact in the water policy-making process depending the position and influence of actors in the governance scheme.