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Afton Clarke-Sather

Assistant Professor


Ph.D., Geography, University of Colorado, 2012

M.S, Environmental Policy, Michigan Technological University, 2007

B.A., Politics, Whitman College, 2004


I am broadly interested in human dimensions of resource governance, particularly around issues of water and climate. I approach resources from a background in political ecology, political geography, and development studies. My regional interests are in China, though I do some research in North America as well, and have worked extensively in Latin America in the past. Most of my work in China is undertaken with collaborators from the Scientific Information Center for Resources and the Environment of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). My publications can be found on my google scholar page

Current projects

Green Water Policy in China Green water is water used by crops without every entering groundwater or surface flows. Depending on the model used, green water accounts for 80-90% of total water use by humanity, yet its governance has received little attention. This study will examine policy mechanisms that govern agricultural green water use in Gansu Province, China.

Irrigation Expansion in the Delmarva Peninsula This project examines the political and economic factors that have led to increasing use of irrigation in Delaware. Despite being located in an area of relatively abundant rainfall, Delaware is among the most heavily irrigated states in East of the Rocky Mountains. The portion of Delaware that is irrigated is expanding in Delaware, which is representative of broader trends in the U.S. of increasing acreage of groundwater irrigation even as acreage of surface water irrigation. This study will examine factors that lead to individual irrigators investing in new irrigation capacity. 

Domestic Carbon Inequality in China With colleagues from China I ask how do COemissions vary between different regions of China? Our earlier research showed for showed for the first time that patterns of inequality at the sub-national scale did not mirror international patterns. We continue research in this theme incorporating consumption based GHG accounting approaches.


I regularly teach:

Geography 120 World Regional Geography

Geography 320 Water and Society

Geography 422/622 Resources Environment and Development

Graduate Students

I am accepting graduate students at both the M.A. and Ph.D. level. You need not work on exactly the issues that I work on, but should be interested in a topic close enough to my interests that I can provide effective advising. If you are interested in working with me please email me with a brief statement of what your research interests are and a CV. Information on the graduate program in Geography at UD can be found on the geography department website


• Water & Society• Human Geography


CEOE School & Departments

School of Marine Science & Policy

Advancing the understanding, stewardship, and conservation of estuarine, coastal, and ocean environments.

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Department of Geological Sciences

Discovering how geological processes have operated over various time scales to create and influence the planet’s surface environments.

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Department of Geography

Investigating the interactions between people and the environment and the processes that explain the location of human and natural phenomena.

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College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment • 111 Robinson Hall • Newark, DE 19716 • USA
Phone: 302-831-2841 • E-mail: ceoe-info@udel.edu

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