Adaptive Governance by Margot Hurlbert

9783319578019 © SpringerHurlbert, M. 2018. Adaptive Governance of Disaster: Drought and Flood in Rural Areas.  - Pahl, Wostl, C., Gupta, J., (Series Eds) of Water Governance: Concepts, Methods, and Practice. Springer: Cham, Switzerland

Water is a simple compound (H20), but increasingly a resource and sector with complex problems.  Focus on one problem may give rise to other problems if consideration is not given to synergies and trade-offs of interrelated problems.  For instance, expensive, energy intensive solutions to water quality issues may result in increased Greenhouse Gas emissions and worsen climate change.  Maximizing clean energy from hydro-electric dams may impact irrigators or traditional livelihoods associated with the river, raising issues of food security. 

Strong disciplinary science provides answers.  For instance, hydrology provides information about water resources, quantity, seasonality, and access and allocation to water resources.  Economics provides information on the efficiency of and wealth created by water markets.  However, interdisciplinary gaps of knowledge exist including questions of scale.  Although integrated watershed management is desirable, how does watershed planning between communities, local, regional or national governments occur?  How are global questions of climate change mitigation with long-term impacts for water resources reconciled with local, immediate and proactive adaptations to water shortage, drought and flood?   How do policy instruments relating to not only water allocation and access, but development, mining, energy, or environment impact water in the short term and long term?  How can resilient communities be developed through reduced vulnerability, and increased adaptation that advance social and community learning for transformative change?  Can adaptation be combined with mitigation and assurances that decisions are not maladaptive? This book addresses the binary between climate first, versus development first solutions.

This book provides a model to unite the interdisciplinary science and tackle wicked problems surrounding water, adaptation, and mitigation to climate change in order to build transformative resilient pathways.  By providing a comprehensive review of adaptive governance and a model to address issues of climate change, drought and flood on the local, regional, national and global scale, a method is built of assessing policy instruments, organizations, and government response to the embedded problems of agricultural producer livelihoods.  This model is transferrable to activities that are dependent on water resources and vulnerable to drought, flood, and climate change.  This book fills an important gap in how climate and sustainable development polices organized in a multi-scalar frame, involving different actors, processes and drivers can reinforce each other and enable the wicked problems surrounding water to be addressed.

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