Climatic Change

, Volume 149, Issue 1, pp 43–56 | Cite as

Managing urban water systems with significant adaptation deficitsunified framework for secondary cities: part I—conceptual framework

  • Assela PathiranaEmail author
  • Mohanasundar Radhakrishnan
  • Nguyen Hong Quan
  • Chris Zevenbergen


The lack of resilience of urban systems to weather and climate variability—termed type I adaptation—and also to climate change—type II adaptation—are both major challenges to the livability and sustainability of cities in the Global South. However, there is often competition and conflict in these cities between actions that address existing adaptation deficits (type I) and projected adaptation gaps (type II). Extending the concept of the environmental Kuznets curve, this paper argues that synergistic action on type I and type II adaptation is essential in order for these cities to maintain their livability and build resilience to climate variability and climate change in the face of growing urban populations. A proposed unifying framework has been demonstrated in Can Tho, Vietnam, where there are significant adaptation deficits due to rapid urbanization and adaptation gaps due to climate change and socioeconomic changes. The analysis in Can Tho reveals the lack of integration between type I and type II measures that could be overcome by closer integration between various stakeholders in terms of planning, prioritizing, and implementing adaptation measures.



Funding is acknowledged from (1) PRoACC programme by the Netherlands Ministry of Development Cooperation (DGIS) and (2) Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities (CRC), an initiative of the Australian government. Prof. Richard Ashley is acknowledged for his editorial contribution at the revision stage of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water EducationDelftNetherlands
  2. 2.Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive CitiesClaytonAustralia
  3. 3.Institute for Environment and Resources (IER)Viet Nam National University Ho Chi Minh City (VNU-HCM)Ho Chi Minh CityVietnam

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