Water Resources Management

, Volume 25, Issue 15, pp 3977–3992 | Cite as

Sustainable Catchment Managing in a Climate Changing World: New Integrative Modalities for Connecting Policy Makers, Scientists and Other Stakeholders

  • Ray Ison
  • Kevin Collins
  • John Colvin
  • Janice Jiggins
  • Pier Paolo Roggero
  • Giovanna Seddaiu
  • Patrick Steyaert
  • Marco Toderi
  • Chiara Zanolla


This paper characterises some of the main issues confronting water-catchment managing in a climate-changing world and addresses wide-spread concerns about the lack of connectivity between science, policy making and implementation. The paper’s arguments are ‘framed’ within a paradigm of systemic and adaptive governing, regulating, planning and managing understood as a nested systemic hierarchy. It is argued that climate change adaptation is best understood as a coevolutionary dynamic, principally, but not exclusively between human beings and the biophysical world. Two forms of ‘knowledge brokerage’ based on mode 1 (knowledge) and mode 2 (knowing) are distinguished with practical implications. Drawing on extensive research by the authors, eight modalities for enacting ‘knowledge brokerage’ are introduced. The conditions for or against success in employing these modalities are described. Consistent with the views of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 4th Report 2007, it is argued that water managing is a paradigmatic domain for making climate change adaptation ‘real’ and a systemic issue of global concern at the core of sustainable development.


Water governance Catchment managing Watershed managing Knowledge management Social-ecological thinking Dualism Duality 



The Italian co-authors acknowledge the contribution of the national project “Agroscenari”.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ray Ison
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kevin Collins
    • 3
  • John Colvin
    • 3
  • Janice Jiggins
    • 4
  • Pier Paolo Roggero
    • 5
  • Giovanna Seddaiu
    • 5
  • Patrick Steyaert
    • 6
  • Marco Toderi
    • 7
  • Chiara Zanolla
    • 8
  1. 1.School of Geography and Environmental ScienceMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Communication & Systems DepartmentThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK
  3. 3.Open Systems Research Group, Communication & Systems DepartmentThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK
  4. 4.Communication & Innovation Studies GroupWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Dipartimento di Scienze Agronomiche e Genetica Vegetale Agraria and NRD Desertification Research GroupUniversity of SassariSassariItaly
  6. 6.INRA-SAD, UR SenSUniversité Paris-Est, Marne la ValléeChamps-sur MarneFrance
  7. 7.Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali e delle Produzioni VegetaliUNIVPM (Polytechnic University of Marche)AnconaItaly
  8. 8.NRD Desertification Research GroupUniversity of SassariSassariItaly

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