Turley Laura

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Laura Turley is a doctoral researcher and teaching assistant at the University of Geneva’s Institute for Environmental Sciences (ISE). Her research is associated with the UNESCO Chair on Hydropolitics.

Laura holds a MSc (Distinction) in Water Science, Policy and Management from the University of Oxford, and a B.A. (First Class Honours) in International Development from McGill University.

Prior to joining the University of Geneva, Laura was directing a research consulting practice on water policy and governance for diverse international clients. From 2012 to 2015 she was a Project Officer with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). She continues to collaborate on various professional projects alongside her Ph.D.

Doctoral Project – Reservoir Reoperation

This project investigates the reoperation of existing water infrastructure – reservoirs and their distribution systems in particular – as a key mechanism through which water is being allocated and reallocated in response to changing societal demand for water resources. Far from being merely a technical, engineering subject, it is argued that reservoir reoperation events are nested in social-ecological systems, and that institutions, actor configurations and power dynamics strongly influence distributional outcomes.

Investigating in particular situations of rural-urban rivalry for water from multipurpose reservoirs, project case studies include reservoirs serving the semi-arid regions of Jaipur (upper Ganges basin), Denver (upper Colorado River basin), and Zaragoza (upper Ebro River Basin).

This doctoral project takes place under the supervision of Professor Géraldine Pflieger and Professor Christian Bréthaut.



Laura Turley is an environmental social scientist. Her research interests lie in the governance of natural resources, especially water, and the operation of institutions and infrastructure in the context of freshwater scarcity. Her research deals with the conditions required for collective action and equitable allocation, using conceptual frameworks from institutional analysis,  common pool resource governance, and political economy.
In her current research, she is particularly concerned about the dual challenges of urbanization and climate change on water allocation, and the influential role of infrastructure therein.
To investigate these issues, Laura uses comparative case study methods from political science and geography, combined with field-based work.



Water Governance, Institutional Analysis, Infrastructure, Common Pool Resources, Environmental Politics, Hydropolitics


  • 14E201 CR et 14E202 AT Environnement alpin et sociétés
  • 14E212 AT Analyse de données 1
  • 14E213 AT Analyse de données 2


  • 14E207 CR Politiques de l’environnement 
  • 14E225 CR Gouvernance et Politique de l’eau 





Mme. Laura Turley