The complexity of current water resource management poses many challenges. Water managers need to solve a range of interrelated water dilemmas, such as balancing water quantity and quality, flooding, drought, maintaining biodiversity and ecological functions and services, complicated by the growing uncertainties of global climate change.
This book, based on extensive collaborative research from the NeWater (New Approaches to Adaptive Water Management Under Uncertainty) project, explains the benefits, outcomes and lessons learned from adaptive water management (AWM). In essence, AWM is a way of responding to uncertainty by designing policy measures which are provisional and incremental, subject to subsequent modification in response to environmental change and other variables.
The book consists of 13 chapters, of which the first and last summarize the main points made in favor of adaptive management. The first part provides an overview of the major challenges faced as a result of pressures such as climate change and demographic development. From this background, the concepts of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) and AWM are explained, along with their theoretical origins and practical implementation. The second part describes water management tools and instruments and their use in AWM.
The last and largest part of the book consists of a description of cases and lessons learned in seven river basins from across Europe, West Asia and Africa. These illustrate the key challenges of adaptive water management, especially when rivers cross national boundaries, creating additional problems of governance.