Research in Modeling the Hydrosocial Contract for Protection Against Extreme Hydrometeorological Eve

Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)
Saint-Martin-d'Hères, France
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Entry Level (0-2 Years)
Degree Required: 
Languages Required: 
English and French


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.

As part of the Climat-Métro research project, the postdoctoral researcher's mission is to model the characteristics of the hydro-social contract (past-current-future) for the protection of the Grenoble area against extreme rainfall and floods.

The hydrosocial contract

A first definition of the hydrosocial contract (weak sense) has been proposed by Arnaud BUCHS (2012)1 from TURTON and MEISSNER (2002)2. Applied to the problem of extreme floods, the "hydrosocial contract" can initially be understood as the translation of the contractual relationship between a population and public actors that exists from the moment when the population can't mobilize alone the resources needed to protect against floods. The nature of this relationship determines the nature of the contract and its maintenance or questioning.

A more holistic conception (strong sense) is proposed by LUNDQVIST et al. (2001)3 and allows us to delineate the relationship between individuals and society more precisely when the studied territory has adopted a multi-level governance in which the State - various territorial public powers and dedicated actors or agencies- are deprived of critical skills or capacities in flood risk governance.

The main mission of the postdoctoral researcher will be to model the characteristics of the hydrosocial contract at two levels:

  1. A first level of analysis will be that of socio-climatic scenes. The hydrosocial contracts characterizing two or three scenes will be modeled by the postdoctoral fellow
  2. A second level of analysis will be that of the Metropolis as the authority organizing water-related skills (drinking water, sanitation, GEMAPI). The postdoctoral researcher will retrace on the one hand the historic trajectory of adaptation of the Metropolis to extreme hydrometeorological events; on the other hand, he will model the current characteristics of the metropolitan hydrosocial contract.

BUCHS, A., 2012, Observer, caractériser et comprendre la pénurie en eau. Une approche institutionnaliste de l'évolution du mode d'usage de l'eau en Espagne et au Maroc, Thèse de doctorat en sciences économiques, Université de Grenoble.
2 TURTON, A-R., MEISSNER, R., 2002, The Hydrosocial Contract and its Manifestation in Society: A South African Case Study, In : TURTON, A-R., HENWOOD, R., (dir.), Hydropolitics in the Developing World: A Southern African Perspective, AWIRU, Pretoria, p. 37-60.

The'hydro-social contract' is a term used to describe the pervading values and often implicit agreements between communities, governments and business on how water should be managed. This contract is shaped by the dominant cultural perspective and historically embedded urban water values, expressed through institutional arrangements and regulatory frameworks, and physically represented through water systems infrastructure (LUNDQVIST et al., 2001, Social, institutional and regulatory issues. In: MAKSIMOVIC, C., TEJADA-GUILBERT, J-A., (eds.), Frontiers in Urban Water Management: Deadlock or Hope, IWA Publishing, London, pp. 344–398.

Research in modeling the hydrosocial contract for protection against extreme hydrometeorological events at the Grenoble-Alpes-Métropole scale.

The Institute of Environmental Geosciences (IGE) is a public research laboratory under the supervision of CNRS / INSU, IRD, Grenoble Alpes University (UGA) and Grenoble-INP.

It brings together about 240 people including 145 permanent members (researchers, lecturers, engineers) and about 95 doctoral students, post-docs and staff on fixed-term contracts. The laboratory also hosts several dozen trainees and visiting scientists each year. The laboratory is located on three sites of the University Campus of Grenoble (sites Molière, OSUG-B, and Bergès).

The recruited agent will carry out his mission within the HMCIS team and will be placed under the responsibility of Juliette BLANCHET.

The proposed mission is part of the Climat-Métro research project (2017-2021) which focuses on the impacts of climate change for the Grenoble-Alpes Metropolis in the field of local water management, in particular in the face of extreme situations (Deliberation of the Metropolitan Council of May 27, 2016). The terms of this deliberation recall the confirmation of the evolution of the climate by the 5th report of the IPCC as well as the specific vulnerability of all the territories of the Rhone basin highlighted by the work of the Water Agency RMC.

By launching this project, the metropolitan departments in charge of water draw attention to the consideration of climate change in the management of water but also on its place in development. Still often perceived as a theoretical risk and very long term, climate change is, according to them, not yet entered the practices of planners and managers of the city. However, the simple observation of recent data shows a local evolution of climatic parameters such as temperatures. The characteristic time of this evolution (typically a few decades) coincides with that of the evolution of the shape of the city, putting de facto the planning and management choices made today under the constraint of new climatic conditions.

Teams / laboratories involved:

  • IGE: HMCIS / Juliette Blanchet, Jean-Dominique Creutin
  • CREG: Yvan Renou
  • PACTE: Environments / Céline Lutoff


Eligibility criteria

  • Doctor in political science or planning-urbanism with a proven track record of research on issues related to water and climate change
  • A field research experience of the Grenoble Metropolis is a considerable asset
  • Experience in public water management services and a good knowledge of the geophysical and engineering problems associated with these services will be highly appreciated
  • A researcher's work experience in a context of radical interdisciplinarity will also be valued
  • Ability to conduct historical research work
  • Ability to animate research-intervention devices

Web site for additional job details



1 - 4


1 - 4


1 - 4


  • Geography: PhD or equivalent
  • Architecture: PhD or equivalent
  • Sociology: PhD or equivalent