Robert G. Varady, PhD


Interim Director and Director of Environmental Policy Programs
Research Professor of Environmental Policy and of Arid Lands Studies
Adjunct Professor of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences

rvarady@email.arizona.edu | c.v.


Robert G. Varady is research professor of environmental policy at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the University of Arizona, where he is the interim director and director of Environmental Policy Programs.

He also is research professor of arid lands studies in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, and adjunct professor in the Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences.

Varady obtained his PhD in 1981 in the modern history of developing-country infrastructure from the University of Arizona, and holds MS and BS degrees in mathematics from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now NYU-Poly/Polytechnic Institute of NYU) and the City College of New York, respectively.

Varady's work mostly has addressed environmental and water-management governance and policy in arid regions, with an emphasis on transboundary issues, especially along the U.S.-Mexico border. He has studied the history of global water initiatives, transboundary aquifer governance, and water security in the Americas. He has been a consultant to UNESCO, FAO, and GEF on a number of water-related efforts, and recently led an evaluation of UNESCO’s World Water Assessment Program.

Varady has co-edited ten books, monographs, digests, edited volumes, and journal special issues; and published more than 150 essays and authored some 50 reports on water and environmental governance, policy, and history; agricultural development; information management; and transportation systems. He also has directed environmental and agricultural projects in West Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia.

He is past president of the International Water History Association (IWHA) and his international efforts were recognized by the University of Arizona’s 2012 Award for Excellence in Global Service.


Selected Publications

For information about the publications listed here, including how to obtain copies if you are unable to access them via the links provided, contact Robert Varady at rvarady@u.arizona.edu.


Books and journal special issues

Shared Borders, Shared Waters: Israeli-Palestinian and Colorado River Basin Water Challenges. 2013. Megdal, SB, RG Varady, and S Eden, eds. Leiden: CRC Press/Balkema – Taylor & Francis Group in cooperation with UNESCO-IHE. 320 + xxii pp.


“Rethinking Integrated Assessments and Management Projects in the Americas” Special issue (Vol. 26) Environmental Science and Policy. 2013. Garfin, G, P Romero-Lankao, and RG Varady, eds. 112 pp.


Moving Forward from Vulnerability to Adaptation: Climate Change, Drought, and Water Demand in the Urbanizing Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico. 2012. Wilder, M, CA Scott, N Pineda-Pablos, RG Varady, and GM Garfin, eds. 2012. Tucson: Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy. 170 pp. English and Spanish.


Conservation of Shared Environments: Learning from the United States and Mexico. 2009. López-Hoffman, L, ED McGovern, RG Varady, and KW Flessa, eds. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. 320p.


Articles and essays

Transboundary groundwater governance in the Guarani Aquifer System: reflections from a survey of global and regional experts. 2015. Sugg, Z, RG Varady, AK Gerlak, and R de Grenade. Water International 40, 3: 377–400.


Groundwater governance in the United States: Common priorities and challenges. (2015) Megdal, S. B., A. K. Gerlak, R. G. Varady, and L.-Y. Huang. Groundwater 52, 1: 1-8.


Water security and adaptive management in the arid Americas. 2013. Scott, CA, FJ Meza, RG Varady, H Tiessen, J McEvoy, GM Garfin, LM Farfán, M Wilder, N Pineda Pablos. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 103, 2: 280-289.


Editorial: Rethinking integrated assessments and management projects in the Americas. 2013. Garfin, GM, P Romero-Lankao, RG Varady, eds. Special issue of Environmental Science and Policy 26 (Feb.): 1-5.
doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2011.12.010


Transboundary adaptive management to reduce climate-change vulnerability in the Western U.S.-Mexico border region. 2013. Varady, RG, CA Scott, M Wilder, B Morehouse, N Pineda, and GM Garfin. In special issue, “Rethinking Integrated Assessments and Management Projects in the Americas,” of Environmental Science and Policy 26 (Feb.): 102–112. doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2012.07.006


Science-policy dialogues for water security: Addressing vulnerability and adaptation to global change in the Arid Americas. 2012. Scott, CA, RG Varady, F Meza, E Montaña, GB de Raga, B Luckman, and C Martius. Environment (May-June) 54, 3: 30-42.


Hydrosolidarity and beyond: Can ethics and equity find a place in today's water resource management? 2011. Gerlak, A, RG Varady, O Petit, and A Haverland. Water International 36(3): 251-65. doi: 10.1080/02508060.2011.586552


Adapting across boundaries: Climate change, social learning, and resilience in the U.S.-Mexico border. 2010. Wilder, M, CA Scott, N Pineda Pablos, RG Varady, GM Garfin, and J McEvoy. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 100(4): 917-28. doi: 10.1080/00045608.2010.500235


Ecosystem services across borders: A framework for transboundary conservation. 2010. López-Hoffman, L, RG Varady, KW Flessa, and P Balvanera. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 8(2): 84-91. doi: 10.1890/070216


Hydrosolidarity and international water conflict. 2009. Gerlak, AK, RG Varady, and AC Haverland. International Negotiation 14(2): 311–28. doi: 10.1163/157180609X432842


Paradigmas para la gestion del agua en el siglo XXI (Paradigms for water management in the 21st century). 2009. Varady, RG, and E McGovern. Hydria 25(October): 11–14.


Charting the emergence of "global water initiatives" in world water governance. 2009. Varady, RG, K Meehan, and E McGovern. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 34(3): 150–55.
> DOI: 10.1016/j.pce.2008.06.004


Book chapters

Addressing the groundwater governance challenge—A call from the “Groundwater Governance: A Global Framework for Action” Project. (in press). Varady, RG, SB Megdal, K Conti, G-J Nijsten, F Scheibler, J van der Gun, A Merla and M de Chaisemartin. In Water Governance for the 21st Century, by ed. by I. Buchan. Springer.


Gilbert Fowler White. (in press). Merideth, R, and RG Varady. In Oxford Bibliographies in Environmental Science, E Wohl, ed. New York: Oxford University Press.


The Santa Cruz River: Four millennia of water heritage and security in the U.S.-Mexico border region (2015) De Grenade, R. R., R. G. Varady. In Water and Heritage: Material, Conceptual and Spiritual Connections, WJH Willems and H van Schaik, eds, 371-87. Sidestone Press.


Hydrosolidarity and its place in international water diplomacy. 2014. Varady, RG, AK Gerlak, and ED McGovern. In Hydro Diplomacy: Sharing Water Across Borders, G. Pangare, ed., 23-31. Bangkok: IUCN.


Key issues, institutions, and strategies for managing transboundary water resources in the Arizona-Mexico border region. 2013. Varady, RG, R Salmón Castelo, and S Eden. In Shared Borders, Shared Waters: Israeli-Palestinian and Colorado River Basin Water Challenges, SB Megdal, RG Varady, and S Eden, eds., 35-50. Leiden: CRC Press/Balkema – Taylor & Francis with UNESCO-IHE.


Moving forward from vulnerability to adaptation: Theory, methodology, and context. 2012. Wilder, M, RG Varady, and GM Garfin. In Moving Forward from Vulnerability to Adaptation: Climate Change, Drought, and Water Demand in the Urbanizing Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico, M Wilder, et al., eds., 3-16. Tucson: Udall Center.


Old and new: Changing paradigms in arid lands water management. 2009. Hutchinson, CF, RG Varady, and S Drake. In Water and Sustainability in Arid Regions: Bridging the Gap Between Physical and Social Sciences, G Schneier-Madanes and MF Courel, eds., 311–32. New York: Springer.


Transboundary conservation in context: What drives environmental change? 2009. Varady, RG, and E Ward. In Conservation of Shared Environments: Learning from the United States and Mexico, L López-Hoffman, ED McGovern, RG Varady, and KW Flessa, eds., 9-22. Tucson: University of Arizona Press


Integrating science and policy for water management. 2009. Richter, H., D. C. Goodrich, A. Browning-Aiken, R. G. Varady. In Ecology and Conservation of the San Pedro River, JC Stromberg and B. Tellman, eds., 388-406. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

Global water initiatives: What do the experts think? Report on a survey of leading figures ... (2009) Varady, R.G., and M. Iles-Shih. In Impacts of Megaconferences on the Water Sector, AK Biswas and C Tortajada, eds., 15-68. London: Springer Verlag.


Transboundary conservation in the borderlands: What drives environmental change? 2009. Varady RG, and ER Ward. In Conservation of Shared Environments: Learning from the United States and Mexico,L López-Hoffman, ED McGovern, RG Varady, and KW Flessa, eds., 9–22. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.


Reports and working papers

Evaluation of the World Water Assessment Programme. 2015. Gerlak, AK, SB Megdal, and RG Varady (team leader), in collab. with A Malhotra and J Vaessen (task manager). Paris: UNESCO. 127 + vi pp.


Improving integrated surface water and groundwater management in the United States: Three case studies of innovative groundwater governance approaches. 2015. Megdal, SB, AK Gerlak, RG Varady, and L-Y Huang. 2015. Report. Tucson: UA Water Resources Research Center. 53 pp.


Groundwater policy and governance. 2013. Varady, RG, F van Weert, SB Megdal, A Gerlak, C Abdalla Iskandar, and L House-Peters. Thematic Paper No. 5. Groundwater governance: A global framework for country action. GEF project 3726. 38 pp.


Guidance on links between water reclamation and reuse and regional growth. 2011. Scott, CA, A Browning-Aiken, KJ Ormerod, RG Varady, CD Mogollon, and C Tessmer. Report 6-16-1. WateReuse Research Foundation.