Christopher Kuzdas

Agricultural Water Project Manager


Areas of expertise:
Water policy; Agricultural risk management; Social-ecological systems; partnerships and collaborative planning

Chris Kuzdas is an environmental social scientist with a diverse background in the decision sciences, international development and project management. As a member of EDF’s Colorado River team, Chris works with partners to explore flexible water management solutions that address future water uncertainty in a just and sustainable manner. Chris is involved with local collaborators in developing agricultural risk management strategies to manage water uncertainty in ways that support rural communities and healthy riparian ecosystems. His work blends science, policy engagement and stakeholder collaboration.

Chris also serves as an associate editor of UNESCO’s Global Water Forum, an international hub for resources and discussion related to freshwater governance.


Prior to joining EDF, Chris worked in Central America as a consultant, project lead, and researcher with the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center in Costa Rica, and with Arizona State University. He worked on interdisciplinary teams with collaborators from industry, academia, and local community and agricultural groups.

Chris led an assessment effort in Northwest Costa Rica with a river basin organization that resulted in a new management process for conserving and developing groundwater supplies. He worked on a number of other projects in the Costa Rican dry tropics, including: developing strategies to better manage escalated water conflict in rural areas, reforming drought response systems, and exploring opportunities to better manage risks faced by smallholder rice farmers in Central America’s largest irrigation district. Chris is a U.S. Fulbright grantee, and his work has been awarded grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Organization for Tropical Studies.


Ph.D., Sustainability, Arizona State University

M.P.A., Arizona State University

B.A.S., Arizona State University

A.A.S., Mesa Community College


Kuzdas, C., Warner, B., Wiek, A., Yglesias, M., Vignola, R., & Ramírez-Cover, A. (In-press). Identifying the potential of governance regimes to aggravate or mitigate local water conflicts in regions threatened by climate change. Local Environment.

Kuzdas, C., Warner, B., Wiek, A., Vignola, R., Yglesias, M., & Childers, D. (In-press). Sustainability assessment of water governance alternatives: The case of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Sustainability Science.

Warner, B. & Kuzdas, C. (In-press). Manufactured global change risk pathways in industrial-based agrarian development. Climate and Development.

Wiek, A., Bernstein, M.J., Foley, R.W., Cohen, M., Forrest, N., Kuzdas, C., Kay, B., Withycombe Keeler, L. (2016). Operationalising Competencies in Higher Education for Sustainable Development. In: Barth, M., Michelsen, G., Rieckmann, M., Thomas, I. (Eds.) Routledge Handbook of Higher Education for Sustainable Development, pp. 241-260. Routledge: London and New York.

Kuzdas, C., Wiek, A., Warner, B., Vignola, R., & Morataya, R. (2015). Integrated and participatory analysis of water governance regimes: The case of the Costa Rican dry tropics. World Development, 66, 254-268.

Warner, B., Kuzdas, C., Yglesias, M., & Childers, D. (2015). Limits to adaptation to interacting global change risks among smallholder rice farmers in Northwest Costa Rica. Global Environmental Change, 30, 101-112.

Warner, B. & Kuzdas, C. (2015). Origins of water scarcity in rural development in the Costa Rican dry tropics: Neoliberalism, international trade, and climate change. GWF Discussion Paper, UNESCO Global Water Forum, Canberra, Australia.

Kuzdas, C. & Wiek, A. (2014). Governance scenarios for addressing water conflicts and climate change impacts. Environmental Science & Policy, 42, 181-196.

Kuzdas, C., Wiek, A., Warner, B., Vignola, R., & Morataya, R. (2014). Sustainability appraisal of water governance regimes — The case of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Environmental Management, 54(2), 205-222.

Kuzdas, C., Yglesias, M., & Warner, B. (2013). Governing Costa Rica’s Water Resources. The Solutions Journal 4(4), 31-36. English Spanish

Kuzdas, C., Yglesias, M., Wiek, A., & Vignola, R. (2013). Sustainable Water Governance in Guanacaste: Future Scenarios and Strategies. Comisión para el Manejo de las Cuencas Potrero-Caimital. Nicoya, Guanacaste, Costa Rica (Spanish)

Kuzdas C. (2012). Unpacking water conflict in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. GWF Discussion Paper 1242, UNESCO Global Water Forum, Canberra, Australia.

Yglesias, M. & Kuzdas, C. (2012). Water Management in Guanacaste: Toward a Sustainable Future? Voz de Nosara/Voz de Guanacaste, November (Spanish)

Kuzdas, C., Yglesias, M., Wiek, A., Warner, B., Vignola, R., & Morataya, R. (2012). Sustainability assessment of water systems and water governance in the Portrero, Caimital, and Upper Nosara Watersheds. Comisión para el Manejo de las Cuencas Potrero-Caimital. Nicoya, Guanacaste, Costa Rica (Spanish)