Climate change and water governance

Climate change and water governance : Adaptive capacity in Chile and Switzerland / Margot Hill. Springer, 2013, 345 p. – ISBN 978-94-007-5796-7

http://www.springer.com/environment/global+change+-+climate+change/book/978-94-007-5795-0

The book presents the results of several years’ research focusing on adaptive capacity and water governance in two widely-separated regions of the globe, namely the Swiss Alps and the Chilean Andes. The two regions share many similarities in hydrology and water resources: shifting precipitation patterns, highly variable winter snow pack and receding glaciers, resulting in changing seasonality and amounts of runoff that will subtly modify water availability and water use. As climate change is likely to amplify trends in surface run-off, the author investigates whether adaptive capacity in these two regions is sufficiently robust to respond to a situation which has never been experienced to date. In order to understand and assess the interplay of complex and interlinked environmental and socio-economic issues, the author looks beyond the technology, modeling, engineering and infrastructure associated with water resources management and climate change adaptation, to assess the decision-making environment within which water and adaptation policy and practices are devised and executed.

The research draws on good governance, vulnerability and resilience-based approaches to better understand the challenges of building adaptive capacity across temporal and spatial scales. It assesses the implications of climate change for the broader governance context, and the adaptability of that context to the impacts of climate change. Using these insights, the author introduces, tests and enhances an indicator framework for the assessment of adaptive capacity. The aim is to help readers better understand the adaptive processes that allow the regimes governing water resources to respond to new shocks and changes in the hydrological system, in order to build more resilient water governance systems that can bend, but not break, in the face of new and unexpected challenges. (© Margot Hill)


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