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Titel: Sustainable Water Resource Management for a Safe Food System in Georgia: A study of Water Quality Governance, focusing the Mashavera River Basin
Autor(en): Withanachchi, Sisira Saddhamangala
Schlagworte (SWD): GeorgiaUmweltpolitikGovernanceWasserwirtschaftWassergüteLebensmittelmarktLandwirtschaft
Klassifikation (DDC): 630 - Landwirtschaft, Veterinärmedizin (Agriculture)
Erscheinungsdatum: 25-Sep-2018
Zusammenfassung: From 2015 to 2018, a collaborative research project between the School of Agricultural and Natural Science, Agricultural University of Georgia and the Department of Organic Food Quality and Food Culture, University of Kassel, Germany, was carried out to investigate the multiple impacts of water quality on food security and water quality management issues in Mashavera River Basin. The environmental pollution in the Mashavera River Basin is a key hotspot in Georgia. There are competing interests in the River Basin. The mining industry in the area is a key economic player as a job-provider and in the national income. Agricultural contribution from the Mashavera Basin is also considerable important to the national food system. Most of locals are smallholder farmers, providing food for themselves and for Georgia. Thus, any negative consequences to the ecosystem, including water and soil, have a domino effect in the public health. Food security directly connects with access to clean water for food production, processing, preparation, transportation and storage. The utilization of contaminated water in a food system can cause mortality as well as morbidity. Foodborne diseases and food poisoning are recorded in many parts of the world. The severity of the issue increases when drinking water is also contaminated. Transmission of heavy metals through food production is a major public health issue, resulting in food toxicity, biological abnormalities and risk of cancer in the long-term. As the result of bioaccumulation of heavy metals in food chains, humans are in a state of vulnerability. If water or soil is contaminated, the expectation for having a sustainable and safe food system (e.g. organic food) is impossible. Absent or inconsistent monitoring, discoordination in data sharing, and gaps in regulation enforcement are seen as the major hindrances to establishing a functional water quality management system. But, the failure of the governance is the main issue by critically and deeply analysing of water quality management issues. Water quality governance (WQG) is a new theme in environmental management that has gained increasing attention. The uncoordinated, weak legislation system and the lacuna of the national strategic plan for water quality led to weak water quality management. Water governance in Georgia is undergoing a policy discussion to adopt a new water law corresponding to the association agreement between Georgia and the EU in 2014. Concerning water resource management, Georgia needs to follow the European Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC (EU WFD) and other relevant directives. Firstly, the study examines the existing water quality management system, the trends and key outcomes of the current water policy discussion, and the possibilities to enhance the local governance entities for an inclusive and functional WQG in Georgia. For that potion of the study, legal documents, including laws and regulations, agreements and treaties, government policy documents and reports published by international organizations, government agencies, and research institutes were studied. Moreover, expert in-depth interviews with representatives from government institutes, research foundations, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, local government authorities, civil organizations, and some local people were conducted. As the second step of the study, water and sediments samples were collected from 17 sites in the Mashavera River basin in one hydrological year during the high and low precipitation seasons. The Mashavera River Basin is one of several hotspots of environmental pollution in Georgia. Though there were some solutions, such as installing two monitoring stations, the water contamination is detectable in the region. The Kvemo Kartli region, which includes the Mashavera River Basin, is a key provider to the national food system, supplying mainly vegetables, dairy products, and wine. If any contamination of food occurs, not only the regional public health but also the national food system is at a risk. As a site-specific study, this doctoral research focused on the assessment of heavy metal concentrations in important agricultural water sources in the Mashavera River Basin, including key irrigation canals, tributaries and a few sample sites along the Mashavera River itself. In this study, recent land-use changes were considered in the sample site selection. All samples were analysed according to international standards and examined with multiple indexes for water and sediment contamination by heavy metals. Thirdly, the research study conducted a farmers’ risk perception assessment to understand the key risks for them and to analyse the factors that may influence those risks’ perceptions. Moreover, how farmers’ perceive water quality was also investigated through a field survey and interviews with focused group discussions. As the key contributions, this doctoral research study developed firstly a theoretical outlook to understand the different governance systems in natural resource management; secondly a process-framework of WQG that synchronizes the key pillars of water quality management in all sectors, and thirdly a “task-oriented” framework with the key WQG elements. Moreover, the heavy metal analysis presents the actual contamination condition of the basin with multiple indexes. Among other key findings, the analysis measured alarmingly high concentrations of Cd and Pb in irrigation water sources. In addition, the study proposes an integrated risk assessment that considers local peoples’ perceptions. Finally, the doctoral study recommends inclusion of local governance entities (i.e., government, local people, civil organization and local commercial actors) in WQG as a means to facilitate identification of local water quality issues and deliver fast and appropriate solutions.
URI: urn:nbn:de:hebis:34-2018092556441
Sammlung(en):Dissertationen

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