​Andrea K. Gerlak

andrea gerlak

Associate Research Professor, Udall Center
Associate Professor, School of Geography and Development

agerlak@email.arizona.edu | (520) 626-4393 | c.v.
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Andrea K. Gerlak is an associate research professor at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the University of Arizona, and associate professor in the School of Geography and Development.

Her research focuses on institutions for governing water resources. She examines cooperation and conflict around water, including questions of institutional change and adaptation to climate change in rivers basins, and human rights and equity issues in water governance.

Gerlak is a senior research fellow with the Earth System Governance Project, an international social science research alliance exploring political solutions and novel, effective governance mechanisms to address global environmental challenges.

She serves as a co-editor for the Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, an international journal published by Taylor and Francis providing a forum for the critical analysis of environmental policy and planning. In addition, she is as Associate Editor for Climatic Change, an international journal published by Springer designed to provide a means of exchange between those working on problems related to climatic variations from different disciplines. She also is a member of the editorial board for Anthropocene, a journal addressing the nature, scale, and extent of the influence that people have on Earth.

Presently, Gerlak is co-leading a number of interdisciplinary research projects, including a hydropower and energy security project in South America (funded by the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research), a green infrastructure and water harvesting in cities project (funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation), and a green infrastructure and equity project in Tucson, Arizona (funded by the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice).

Gerlak has over ten years’ experience building, administering, and teaching in interdisciplinary environmental studies programs. She has been a faculty member at Guilford College and Columbia University. Most recently, she served as the director of academic development with the International Studies Association where she facilitated academic development across ISA’s substantive academic sections, including developing programs to foster junior scholar engagement and program development in international studies.

She holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Arizona.

Areas of expertise and research interests

Water governance and policy
Global environmental policy
Transboundary waters
Groundwater management
Resilience, adaptation, social-ecological systems
Western U.S., U.S., Latin America, SE Asia, Europe

Key projects and programs

Tucson verde para todos: Engaging communities for an equitable, connected and greener Tucson

Arizona Business Resilience Initiative

Advancing Good Practices in Building Interdisciplinarity: Moving Towards User-Oriented Science

From Tucson to Uruguay and Back: Securities and Inequalities in Water Infrastructure

Coupled Networks in Urbanized Landscapes: Linking Ecosystem Services and Governance for Water Sustainability

International Research Applications Program

Groundwater Governance and Management


EVS 260: Environmental Studies: Ideas and Institutions

GEOG 696R: International Environmental Policy and Governance


Interview for UANews
Reporter Abby Dockter interviewed Andrea Gerlak and Adriana Zuniga for an article for the UANews about the Haury Seed Grant Recipients. January 17, 2017

Blog Posts
Gerlak, Andrea K. and Adriana Zuniga-Teran. 2017. Sharing our research on green infrastructure and community engagement with communities in Ayacucho, Peru. Udall Center blog post, October 4, 2017.

Zuniga-Teran, Adriana and Andrea K. Gerlak. 2017. Enhancing resilience in cities: from grey to green infrastructure. International Water Security Network blog post, May 4, 2017.

Published Op-eds
Gerlak, Andrea K. 2017. Rural America left out of Trump's water infrastructure plan. The Hill, June 13, 2017.

Gerlak, Andrea K. and Helen Ingram. 2017. World Water Day — an agenda of radical change for America’s waters. The Hill, March 22, 2017.

Gerlak, Andrea K. 2016. Potential for agreement? Reinvesting in America’s water infrastructure. The Hill, November 30, 2016.

Selected publications

Gerlak, Andrea K., Tanya Heikkila, Sharon L. Smolinski, Dave Huitema, Derek Armitage. 2017. Learning our way out of environmental policy problems: a review of the scholarship. Policy Sciences (), 1-37. DOI: 10.1007/s11077-017-9278-0

Megdal, Sharon B., Andrea K. Gerlak, Ling-Yee Huang, Nathaniel Delano, Robert G. Varady, and Jacob D. Petersen-Perlman. 2017. Innovative Approaches to Collaborative Groundwater Governance in the United States: Case Studies from Three High-growth Regions in the Sun Belt. Environmental Management. DOI: 10.1007/s00267-017-0830-7

Guido Zack, Val Rountree, Christina Greene, Andrea K. Gerlak, and Adrian Trotman. 2016. Connecting Climate Information Producers and Users: Boundary Organization, Knowledge Networks, and Information Brokers at Caribbean Climate Outlook Forums. Weather, Climate, and Society 8(3): 285-298. DOI: 10.1175/WCAS-D-15-0076.1

Mukhtarov, Farhad, Andrea K. Gerlak, and Robin Pierce. 2016. Away from Fossil-Fuels and Toward a Bioeconomy: Knowledge Versatility for Public Policy? Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 0(0) 1–19. DOI: 10.1177/0263774X16676273

Kinoshita, Alicia M., Anne Chin, Gregory L. Simon, Christy Briles, Terri S. Hogue, Alison P. O’Dowd, Andrea K. Gerlak, and Alejandra Uribe Albornoz. 2016. Wildfire, water, and society: Toward integrative research in the “Anthropocene”. Anthropocene 16: 16-27. DOI: 10.1016/j.ancene.2016.09.001

de Grenade Rafael, Lily House Peters, Chris A. Scott, Bhutan Thapa, Megan Mills-Novoa, Andrea K. Gerlak, and K. Verbist. 2016. The nexus: reconsidering environmental security and adaptive capacity. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 21: 15-21. DOI: 10.1016/j.cosust.2016.10.009

Varady, Robert G., Adriana A. Zuniga-Teran, Andrea K. Gerlak, and Sharon B. Megdal. 2016. Modes and Approaches of Groundwater Governance: A Survey of Lessons Learned from Selected Cases across the Globe. Water 8(417): 1-24. DOI: 10.3390/w8100417

Emerson, Kirk and Andrea K. Gerlak. 2016. Teaching Collaborative Governance Online: Aligning Collaborative Instruction with Online Learning Platforms. Journal of Public Affairs Education 22(3): 327-344.

Gerlak, Andrea K. and Farhad Mukhtarov. 2016. Many Faces of Security: Discursive Framing in Cross-border Natural Resource Governance in the Mekong River Commission. Globalizations 6: 719-740.

Heikkila, Tanya and Andrea K. Gerlak. 2016. Investigating Collaborative Processes Over Time: A 10-Year Study of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. The American Review of Public Administration 46(2): 180-200.

Armitage, D., R.C. de Loë, M. Morris, T.W. Edwards, A.K. Gerlak, R.I. Hall, D. Huitema, R. Ison, D. Livingstone, G. MacDonald, N. Mirumachi, R. Plummer, B.B. Wolfe. 2015. Science-policy processes for transboundary water governance. Ambio 44(5): 353-66.

Baer, Madeline and Andrea K. Gerlak. 2015. Implementing the human right to water and sanitation: a study of global and local discourses. Third World Quarterly 36(8): 1527-1545.

Megdal, Sharon, Andrea K. Gerlak, Robert G. Varady, and Ling-Yee Huang. 2015.Groundwater Governance in the United States: Common Priorities and Challenges. Groundwater 53(5): 677–684.

Gerlak, Andrea K. and Farhad Mukhtarov. 2015. ‘Ways of Knowing’ Water: Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Security as Complementary Discourses. International Environmental Agreements: Politics Law and Economics 15(3): 257-272.

Schmeier, Susanne, Andrea K. Gerlak, and Sabine Blumstein. 2015. Clearing the muddy waters of shared watercourses governance: conceptualizing international River Basin Organizations. International Environmental Agreements DOI 10.1007/s10784-015-9287-4.

Gerlak, Andrea K. 2015. Resistance and Reform: Transboundary Water Governance in the Colorado River Delta. Review of Policy Research 32(1): 100-123.

Emerson, Kirk and Andrea K. Gerlak. 2014. Adaptation in Collaborative Governance Regimes. Environmental Management 54: 768-781.

Gerlak, Andrea K. and Susanne Schmeier. 2014. Climate Change and Transboundary Waters: A Study of Discourse in the Mekong River Basin. The Journal of Environment and Development 23: 358-386.

Berardo, Ramiro, Tanya Heikkila, and Andrea K. Gerlak. 2014. Interorganizational Engagement in Collaborative Environmental Management: Evidence from the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 24(3): 697-719.

Gerlak, Andrea K. 2014. Policy Interactions in Human–Landscape Systems. Environmental Management 53: 67-75.

Heikkila, Tanya and Andrea K. Gerlak. 2013. Building a Conceptual Approach to Collective Learning: Lessons for Public Policy Scholars. Policy Studies Journal 41(3): 484-511.

Mukhtarov, Farhad and Andrea K. Gerlak. 2013. Epistemic forms of integrated water resources management: towards knowledge versatility. Policy Sciences 47: 101-120.

Mukhtarov, Farhad and Andrea K. Gerlak. 2013. River Basin Organizations
in the Global Water Discourse: An Exploration of Agency and Strategy. Global Governance 19: 307-326.

Heikkila, Tanya, Andrea K. Gerlak, Andrew Bell, and Susanne Schmeier. 2013. Adaptation in a transboundary river basin: linking stressors and adaptive capacity within the Mekong River Commission. Environmental Science and Policy 25: 73-82.

Gerlak, Andrea K. and Margaret Wilder. 2012. Exploring the Textured Landscape of Water Insecurity and the Human Right to Water. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development 54(2):4-17.

Berado, Ramiro and Andrea K. Gerlak. 2012. Conflict and Cooperation along International Rivers:Crafting a Model of Institutional Effectiveness. Global Environmental Politics 12(1): 101-120.

Gerlak, Andrea K. and Tanya Heikkila. 2011. Building a Theory of Learning in Collaboratives: Evidence from the Everglades Restoration Program. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 21(4): 619-644.

Gerlak, Andrea K., Jonathan Lautze, and Mark Giordano. 2011. Water Resources Data and Information Exchange in Transboundary Water Treaties. International Environmental Agreements 11: 179-199.

Gerlak, Andrea K., Robert G. Varady, Olivier Petit and Arin C. Haverland. 2011. Hydrosolidarity and beyond: can ethics and equity find a place in today's water resource management? Water International 36(3): 251-265.

Gerlak, Andrea K. 2008. Today's Pragmatic Water Policy: Restoration, Collaboration, and Adaptive Management Along U.S. Rivers. Society & Natural Resources 21(6) (July): 538-545.