Characterizing Adaptive Capacity in Water Governance Arrangements in the Context of Extreme Events

  • Margot Hill


Climate change impacts on precipitation patterns, glacial retreat and associated changes in runoff regimes are observed from the Alps to the Andes. In order to manage future uncertainty as climate impacts on water resources further unfold, it is vital to better understand adaptive capacity and how it may be developed. Governance is an issue at the heart of the water discourse, with effective water governance seen as essential to building adaptive capacity in communities to manage future climatic uncertainty and stress. Governance and institutional components are more generally seen as key determinants of adaptive capacity, yet there has been relatively little empirical verification of indicators at the local and regional levels, as well as in the water sector. This study aims to contribute to the literature on adaptive capacity in the water sector, through the empirical and analytical development of more robust indicators of adaptive capacity relating to governance and institutions. The paper discusses how extremes can be an effective illustration of one type of climate uncertainty, in which to explore and assess the plasticity and adaptive capacity of the water governance system. Research is based on literature review, stakeholder interviews and statistical analysis of climatic extremes.


Adaptive capacity Climate change Water governance Extreme events Switzerland 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margot Hill
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Group on Climate Change and Climate ImpactsCarouge GESwitzerland

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