Kim Ogren: Graduating Researcher of the Hydro Research Foundation

Kim Ogren

Editor's Note: This is the latest in a series of profiles provided by the Hydro Research Foundation that highlight potential future members of the hydroelectric power industry and their accomplishments.

The Hydro Research Foundation is actively supporting graduate students to conduct research related to conventional and pumped storage hydropower. These students are funded through the Department of Energy’s Water Power Program and industry partners through a two-yea, $1 million grant. 

Kim Ogren is a PhD candidate in Geography at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore., and graduating in July. Her studies focus on improving water governance decision-making processes.

Ogren's research focuses on Improving Water Governance Processes: Development an Evaluation Framework and Application to the Columbia River Treaty Reviews. This research investigates which characteristics of water governance processes contribute to good water governance outcomes and provide water managers with a practical tool for evaluating and improving water governance processes. Through the development and testing of a framework based on existing frameworks, resilience theory, and socio-ecological systems theory, it will fill the need for a practical framework that makes evaluation of water governance processes feasible. The framework will also be applied to the recent reviews of the Columbia River Treaty (CRT) in Canada and the United States, which focuses on hydropower as one of the two primary purposes of the agreement.

These two case studies are compelling applications of the framework for a number of reasons. First, they demonstrate two different water governance processes striving to make the same decision in the same basin (i.e., recommend continuing with the Treaty as is, terminating the Treaty, or pursuing modifications to the Treaty) allowing for comparison. At the same time, the unique contexts for the US and Canadian reviews will aid in identifying potential barriers or building blocks to good water governance decision making processes in the Columbia River Basin.

Finally, completed recently (December 2013 and March 2014), these processes are fresh the minds of those involved and therefore evaluation is timely. Data for the case studies will be collected using a mixed methods approach. It will incorporate semi-structured interviews and focus groups to talk with utilities and power companies, federal agencies, First Nations/Tribes, states/province, local governments, and stakeholders from the two reviews. Participants will also be given a survey to assist with the evaluation of the reviews and ensure that all participants answer a baseline set of questions.

This research will benefit the hydropower industry as it will help improve how governments engage the hydroelectric power industry and how the hydroelectric power industry engages others (e.g., customers, tribes) in their decision making processes. This research will determine how best to utilize these new approaches to decision making, incorporating sound science as well as economic and political realities.

Ogren is actively seeking a hydro related career now.  To connect with Ogren or learn more about the Research Awards Program please email info@hydrofoundation.org or visit the website www.hydrofoundation.org.

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