Surabhi Karambelkar

Ph.D. Candidate

I am a Ph.D. candidate and Evelyn L. Pruitt National Fellow in the School of Geography and Development. I work at the intersection of water, energy, and environmental policy issues. I study legal and institutional challenges of governing river basins for competing water uses, drawing on the fields of geography, law, public policy, and institutional economics.

My dissertation research is situated in the iconic Colorado River Basin, which is in its 19th year of an unprecedented drought. This research investigates how water, environment, and energy laws and policies govern dam operations and hydropower production, and the differential benefits and impacts of changes in hydropower generation in the Basin. Hydropower is one of the most important water uses in the Colorado River Basin from an economic standpoint, yet, the consequences of changes in power generation remain poorly understood. This research seeks to produce needed empirics that can help decision-makers in ongoing policy-making processes in minimizing maladaptive tradeoffs between competing water and energy uses in the Basin.

 Prior to my doctoral studies at the University of Arizona, I worked as a consultant for a multinational environmental consulting firm where I conducted social impact assessments as well as resettlement and livelihood restoration studies for water and renewable energy projects in South and South-East Asia. I hold an MSc in Environment and Sustainable Development from University College London and a BSc in Environmental Science from Fergusson College, University of Pune