Climate Variability and Adaptive Capacities of Intergovernmental Arrangements: Encouraging Problem Solving and Managing Conflict

Authored by: Edella Schlager

Water Policy and Planning

Print publication date:  June  2016
Online publication date:  June  2016

Print ISBN: 9781482227970
eBook ISBN: 9781482227987
Adobe ISBN:


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Residents and policy makers of western river basins face three substantial challenges. First, hydrologic cycles are changing, but how rapidly and toward what new and different patterns is unknown. Thus, uncertainty is substantial, complicating adaptation efforts. Second, reorienting infrastructure and governing arrangements that were matched to particular hydrologic regimes and that historically have focused on water and hydropower production and flood control will be a slow and difficult process. Path dependencies are difficult to overcome. Third, incorporating a wider range of ecosystem services in management efforts is becoming increasingly more critical not just to recover and protect threatened and endangered species but also to bolster resilience to climate change impacts. This chapter explores how multiscale governing arrangements are better suited for addressing these challenges than are more centralized river basin organizations, and suggests ways in which to bolster the adaptive capacities of intergovernmental arrangements.

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