Scholar Biography

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Scholar Biography

Kirsty Holstead

Understanding community water governance: What shapes local decision-making and what are the implications?

Project Dates: 3 October 2016 - 2 October 2020
Kirsty Holstead

Kirsty Holstead is a Hydro-Nation scholar in the School of Management at the University of St Andrews, and The James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen.

Kirsty's PhD focuses on understand how decisions about water are made, by whom, for whom and which principles are used (water governance). She is interested in what happens when people work together to manage water (community water governance). She explores how people make decisions in these situations, the issues that affect these decisions, and how this type of governance affects peoples' relationships with water and other systems.

Before starting the PhD Kirsty worked in the Social Economic and Geographic Group in the James Hutton Institute and was involved broadly in research that related to making Scotland a more just, sustainable and healthy place to be. She has worked on a number of Scottish Government and EU level research projects and has led or contributed to various journal articles, reports and presentations to different audiences. As well as delivering academic outputs and outcomes part of her role was to do applied and policy relevant research. In particular she worked on understanding the barriers to natural flood management.

She has presented her work in Westminster and at the Scottish Government. In particular her work with Julia Martin-Ortega and Wendy Kenyon led to a change of the wording of the Water Resource Management (Scotland) Bill to include economic and non-economic value of water in water valuations. This is an important step because it means that other, non-economic, and less dominant ways of understanding water should be taken into account in decision-making about water.

Previously Kirsty worked in the Ministry of Housing, Land Planning and Environment in Montevideo, Uruguay on a flagship Integrated Coastal Zone Management project. She has an MA(Hons) in International Relations and Management from The University of St Andrews, an MSc in Environmental Protection and Management from the University of Edinburgh, and professional experience in the area of international development.

In doing the PhD Kirsty is aiming to produce ground breaking academic research that is policy and society relevant and can contribute to water practises in the future.

To view Kirsty's latest knowledge exchange outputs please use the relevant links below:

  • Understanding Community Water Governance:  What Shapes Decision-Making and What are the Outcomes? (Poster)
  • Understanding community water governance: what shapes local decision-making and what are the outcomes? (Poster)
  • Rethinking Community Water Governance (Presentation)

Knowledge Exchange Outputs