​Christopher A. Scott

Christopher A. Scott, PhD

Research Professor of Water Resources Policy, Udall Center
Professor, School of Geography & Development
Director, Consortium of Arizona-Mexico Arid Environments (CAZMEX)
Co-Director, AQUASEC Center of Excellence for Water Security

Adjunct Professor, Arid Lands Resource Sciences Program

Adjunct Professor, Center for Latin American Studies
Adjunct Professor, Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences
Adjunct Professor, Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Science
Adjunct Professor, School of Natural Resources and the Environment

cascott@email.arizona.edu | curriculum vitae


Christopher A. Scott is Research Professor of Water Resources Policy at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, with a joint appointment as Professor in the School of Geography & Development.

Scott is an interdisciplinary scholar with some 80 peer-reviewed journal articles, 10 edited books, more than 100 book chapters and other publications on water, energy, and food policy. His work focuses on the policy dimensions of global change (climate change and urban growth) with particular emphasis on water and energy security, climate adaptation, urban wastewater and water reuse, agricultural-urban water transfers, and transboundary water resources.

He is founding co-director of the AQUASEC Center of Excellence for water Security and director of the Consortium for Arizona-Mexico Arid Environments (CAZMEX).

Scott holds Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in hydrology from Cornell University, B.S. and B.A. degrees from Swarthmore College.

He has 10 years of experience living and working in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Mexico (with the International Water Management Institute), in addition to two years in Honduras and two years in India with nongovernmental organizations. He has bilingual proficiency in Spanish and Hindi, and professional working proficiency in Portuguese, Nepali, and German.

Immediately prior to his arrival at The University of Arizona in July 2006, he was a senior international project manager with the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration in Silver Spring, Md., where he led National Weather Service collaboration with Mexico and India.


Areas of Expertise and Research Interests

  • Water-energy-food security nexus
  • Resilience, adaptation, social-ecological systems
  • Groundwater, irrigation, water reuse, agricultural-urban water transfers
  • Transboundary water policy
  • Mountain water towers (Andes, Himalayas)
  • Southwest U.S.; Latin America (Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Peru); South Asia (India, Nepal)


Key Projects and Programs


Selected Publications

for a complete list, see Scott's c.v.


Pasqualetti, M.J., T.E. Jones, L. Necefer, C.A. Scott, B.J. Colombi. 2016. A paradox of plenty: Renewable energy on Navajo Nation lands. Society and Natural Resources 29(8): 885-899, doi: 10.1080/08941920.2015.1107794.

Scott, C.A., A. Crootof, B. Thapa, R.K. Shrestha. 2016. Water-food-energy nexus: Challenges and opportunities. In L. Bharati, B.R. Sharma, V. Smakhtin (eds.), The Ganges River Basin: Status and Challenges in Water, Environment and Livelihoods, Routledge, London.

Scott, C.A., A. Lutz Ley. 2016 in press. Enhancing water governance for climate resilience: Arizona, USA - Sonora, Mexico comparative assessment of the role of reservoirs in adaptive management for water security. In C. Tortajada (ed.) Increasing Resilience to Climate Variability and Change: The Role of Infrastructure and Governance in the Context of Adaptation, Springer, Berlin.

Zeitoun, M., B. Lankford, T. Krueger, T. Forsyth, R. Carter, A.Y. Hoekstra, R. Taylor, O. Varis, F. Cleaver, R. Boelens, L. Swatuk, D. Tickner, C.A. Scott, N. Mirumachi, N. Matthews. 2016. Reductionist and integrative research approaches to complex water security policy challenges. Global Environmental Change 39: 143–154, doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2016.04.010.

Scott, C.A., M. Kurian, J.L. Wescoat, Jr. 2015. The Water-energy-food nexus: Adaptive capacity to complex global challenges. In M. Kurian and R. Ardakanian (eds.). Governing the Nexus: Water, Soil and Waste Resources Considering Global Change. Springer, Berlin, pp. 15-38.

Scott, C.A., Z.P. Sugg. 2015. Global energy development and climate-induced water scarcity – Physical limits, sectoral constraints, and policy imperatives. Energies 8(8): 8211-8225, doi:10.3390/en8088211 (open access).

Scott, C.A., B. de Gouvello (eds.). 2014. The future of public water governance: Has water privatization peaked? Routledge, London, 192 p.

Andersen, S.M., C.A. Scott (special-issue co-editors). 2014. Nexo Água e Energia nas Américas (Water-Energy Nexus in the Americas). Desenvolvimento e Meio Ambiente (Development and Environment) 30.

Scott, C.A. 2013. Electricity for groundwater use: constraints and opportunities for adaptive response to climate change. Environmental Research Letters 8 (2013) 035005, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/3/035005 (open access).

Scott, C.A., F.J. Meza, R.G. Varady, H. Tiessen, J. McEvoy, G.M. Garfin, M. Wilder, L.M. Farfán, N. Pineda Pablos, E. Montaña. 2013. Water security and adaptive management in the arid Americas. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 103(2): 280-289, doi: 10.1080/00045608.2013.754660.

Scott, C.A., S.J. Buechler. 2013. Iterative driver-response dynamics of human-environment interactions in the Arizona-Sonora borderlands. Ecosphere 4(1): Article 2, doi: 10.1890/ES12-00273.1 (open access).

Scott, C.A., R.G. Varady, F. Meza, E. Montaña, G.B. de Raga, B. Luckman, C. Martius. 2012. Science-policy dialogues for water security: addressing vulnerability and adaptation to global change in the arid Americas. Environment 54(3): 30-42, doi: 10.1080/00139157.2012.673454.

Scott, C.A., P.F. Robbins, A.C. Comrie. 2012. The mutual conditioning of humans and pathogens: Implications for integrative geographical scholarship. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 102(5): 977-985, doi: 10.1080/00045608.2012.657511.

Scott, C.A., L. Raschid-Sally. 2012. The global commodification of wastewater. In special issue “Has Water Privatization Peaked? The Future of Public Water Governance.” Water International 37(2): 147–155, doi: 10.1080/02508060.2012.662727.

Scott, C.A. 2011. The water-energy-climate nexus: resources and policy outlook for aquifers in Mexico. Water Resources Research 47, W00L04, doi: 10.1029/2011WR010805.

Scott, C.A., S.A. Pierce, M.J. Pasqualetti, A.L. Jones, B.E. Montz, J.H. Hoover. 2011. Policy and institutional dimensions of the water-energy nexus. Energy Policy 39: 6622–6630, doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2011.08.013.

Scott, C.A., N. Pineda Pablos. 2011. Innovating resource regimes: water, wastewater, and the institutional dynamics of urban hydraulic reach in northwest Mexico. Geoforum 42(4): 439-450, doi: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2011.02.003.

Megdal, S.B., C.A. Scott. 2011. The importance of institutional asymmetries to the development of binational aquifer assessment programs: Arizona-Sonora experience. Water 3: 949-963, doi: 10.3390/w3030949 (open access).

Scott, C.A., M.J. Pasqualetti. 2010. Energy and water resources scarcity: Critical infrastructure for growth and economic development in Arizona and Sonora. Natural Resources Journal 50(3): 645-682.

Scott, C.A., J.M. Banister. 2008. The dilemma of water management “regionalization” in Mexico under centralized resource allocation. International Journal of Water Resources Development 24(1): 61–74, doi: 10.1080/07900620701723083.

Scott, C.A., N.I. Faruqui, L. Raschid-Sally (eds.). 2004. Wastewater use in irrigated agriculture: Confronting the livelihood and environmental realities. CAB International, Wallingford, 193 p.

Scott, C.A., T. Shah, S.J. Buechler, P. Silva-Ochoa. 2004. La fijación de precios y el suministro de energía para el manejo de la demanda de agua subterránea: enseñanzas de la agricultura mexicana. In C. Tortajada, V. Guerrero, R. Sandoval (eds.) Hacia una gestión integral del agua en México. Retos y alternatives. Porrua Editores, Mexico City, pp. 201-228.

Scott, C.A. and T. Shah. 2004. Groundwater overdraft reduction through agricultural energy policy: insights from India and Mexico. International Journal of Water Resources Development 20(2): 149-164, doi: 10.1080/0790062042000206156.

Scott, C.A., M.F. Walter. 1993. Local knowledge and conventional soil science approaches to erosional processes in the Shivalik-Himalaya. Mountain Research & Development 13(1): 61-72, doi: 10.2307/3673644.