Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 449–461 | Cite as

The research-policy nexus in climate change adaptation: experience from the urban water sector in South East Queensland, Australia

  • G. LavesEmail author
  • S. Kenway
  • D. Begbie
  • A. Roiko
  • R. W. Carter
  • P. Waterman
Original Article


Despite an exponential growth in the volume of adaptation research over the last decade, there is still a research gap in regard to the provision of suitable information to adequately inform climate change adaptation policy makers. Contributing to this gap is a paucity of research reporting on the effectiveness of implemented adaptation strategies. This paper reports on the success, failures and future risks of the responses taken by the South East Queensland (SEQ) water sector during the Millennium Drought. The adaptation strategy employed a portfolio approach mixing ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ adaptations. Strategies included the following: large-scale water manufacturing facilities and distribution networks; the exploitation of local water resources; regulatory instruments; institutional reforms; support for research and training and a range of demand management programmes. The strategies employed were innovative and in many cases required rigorous scientific evidence for their development, implementation and follow-up assessments. However, we show that there has been considerable disparity between anticipated and actual policy outcomes, which points to maladaptive consequences. By revisiting the effectiveness of implemented adaptation strategies in the SEQ water sector, our paper provides evidence for the need for integrative studies with genuine policy integration.


Climate change adaptation Water supply Research South East Queensland Millennium Drought Water tanks 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Laves
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. Kenway
    • 2
  • D. Begbie
    • 2
  • A. Roiko
    • 1
  • R. W. Carter
    • 3
  • P. Waterman
    • 3
  1. 1.Urban Research ProgramGriffith UniversityNathanAustralia
  2. 2.Urban Water Security Research AllianceBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.University of the Sunshine CoastSunshine CoastAustralia

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