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Arani Kajenthira

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Arani Kajenthira

Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program

Contact:
Email: arani_kajenthira@hks.harvard.edu

 

Experience

Arani Kajenthira is an associate in the Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. While pursuing her Ph.D. as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, Arani pioneered a unique risk assessment approach integrating quantitative field measurements with in-depth interviews of site stakeholders to develop more sustainable environmental management strategies. At the Kennedy School, Arani's work is centered on technological and governance challenges associated with the water-energy-food nexus in arid environments, particularly the Middle East. Having validated wastewater reclamation as a cost- and energy-effective alternative to desalination for Saudi Arabia, Arani has also analyzed the emerging role of the private sector in water management and the integration of virtual water trade and foreign direct investment in food production (FDI) into agricultural policies for water-scarce states seeking food security. Her current work aims to identify the key drivers and stakeholders in water allocation decision-making in Jordan, Abu Dhabi, and Iraq to develop methodologies for strategic decision-making that are sensitive to power distribution between state and non-state actors.

 

 

By Date

 

2013

June 2013

"Bridging Decision Networks for Integrated Water and Energy Planning"

Journal Article, Energy Strategy Reviews, issue 1, volume 2

By Afreen Siddiqi, Visting Scholar, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, Arani Kajenthira, Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program and Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy; Associate Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program; Co-PI, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group

Integrated policy and planning is needed to effectively meet the challenges of growing water and energy inter-dependencies in many regions. Joint consideration of both water and energy domains can identify new options for increasing overall resource use efficiencies. In order to identify and realize such opportunities, however, detailed knowledge of current and emerging water–energy couplings is needed along with a nuanced understanding of key actors and agencies engaged in decision-making. In this paper we develop a systematic, analytical approach based on quantitative analysis of water and energy couplings, identification and characterization of key actors and groups using concepts from stakeholders theory, and employing notions from organization theory of boundary-spanning agents that can serve to bridge inter-organizational networks for water and energy planning. We apply this approach to conduct an in-depth investigation of water and energy resources in Jordan.

 

2012

AP Photo

July 2012

"A New Case for Promoting Wastewater Reuse in Saudi Arabia: Bringing Energy into the Water Equation"

Journal Article, Journal of Environmental Management, volume 102

By Arani Kajenthira, Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, Afreen Siddiqi, Visting Scholar, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program and Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy; Associate Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program; Co-PI, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group

Saudi Arabia is the third-largest per capita water user worldwide and has addressed the disparity between its renewable water resources and domestic demand primarily through desalination and the abstraction of non-renewable groundwater. This study evaluates the potential costs of this approach in the industrial and municipal sectors, exploring economic, energy, and environmental costs (including CO2 emissions and possible coastal impacts). Although the energy intensity of desalination is a global concern, it is particularly urgent to rethink water supply options in Saudi Arabia because the entirety of its natural gas production is consumed domestically, primarily in petrochemical and desalination plants.

 

 

Arani Kajenthira Photo

March 2012

"The Role of Qualitative Risk Assessment in Environmental Management: A Kazakhstani Case Study"

Journal Article, Science of the Total Environment, volume 420

By Arani Kajenthira, Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, John Holmes and Rachael McDonnell

Successful environmental management is partly contingent on the effective recognition and communication of environmental health risks to the public. Yet risk perceptions are known to differ between experts and laypeople; laypeople often exhibit higher perceptions of risk in comparison to experts, particularly when these risks are associated with radiation, nuclear power, or nuclear waste. This paper consequently explores stakeholder risk perceptions associated with a mercury-contaminated chloralkali production facility in Kazakhstan.

 

2011

June 2011

"A New Case for Wastewater Reuse in Saudi Arabia: Bringing Energy into the Water Equation"

Policy Brief

By Arani Kajenthira, Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy; Associate Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program; Co-PI, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group and Afreen Siddiqi, Visting Scholar, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program

Industrial and urban water reuse should be considered along with desalination as options for water supply in Saudi Arabia. Although the Saudi Ministry for Water and Electricity (MoWE) has estimated that an investment of $53 billion will be required for water desalination projects over the next 15 years [1], the evolving necessity to conserve fossil resources and mitigate GHG emissions requires Saudi policy makers to weigh in much more heavily the energy and environmental costs of desalination. Increasing water tariffs for groundwater and desalinated water to more adequately represent the costs of water supply could encourage conservation, but also reuse, which may be more appropriate for many inland and high-altitude cities.

 

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