Surabhi Karambelkar

About Surabhi Karambelkar

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

Research Interests

  • Water governance and policy
  • International environmental policy
  • Renewable energy policy
  • Law and economics
  • Water-energy nexus
  • Western U.S.

Selected Publications

  • Karambelkar, S. & Gerlak, A. K. (forthcoming). Collaborative Governance and Stakeholder Engagement in the Colorado River Basin: An Examination of Patterns of Inclusion and Exclusion, Natural Resources Journal, Spring 2019, Vol 60.2.
  • Bedsworth, L., Cayan, D., Franco, G., Fisher, L., Ziaja, S. (Karambelkar, S. & 44 contributing authors) (2018). Statewide Summary Report. California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment. Publication number: SUMCCCA4-2018-013.
  • Karambelkar, S. (2017). Hydropower Development in India: The Legal-Economic Design to Fuel Growth, Natural Resources Journal, Spring 2017, Vol 57.2.
  • Karambelkar, S. (2016). When the Turbines Stop Turning: Examining the Impacts of Drought on Power Production at Hoover Dam and Its Consequences for Entities in Arizona, Central Arizona Water Conservation District, September 2016.
  • Singh, N., & Chatterjee, A.K., Karambelkar, S. (2014). Sustainable Power: Unpacking the Buzz Word. White paper published by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the ‘Environment and Energy Conclave 2014’ Kolkata, India.
Surabhi Karambelkar's picture

Contact Information

Surabhi Karambelkar
Office: ENR2 S595-CC


M.Sc., 2013, Environment and Sustainable Development, University College London.

B.Sc. 2012, Environmental Science, Fergusson College, University of Pune.

Courses Taught

GEOG 150 B1 Spring 2017 (Lead TA)

GEOG 150 B1 Fall 2016 (Lead TA)

GEOG 150 B1 Spring 2016 

GEOG 150 B1 Fall 2015