- Climate change adaptation in European river basins
- Regional environmental change
- Volume | Issue number
- 10 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This paper contains an assessment and standardized comparative analysis of the current water management regimes in four case-studies in three European river basins: the Hungarian part of the Upper Tisza, the Ukrainian part of the Upper Tisza (also called Zacarpathian Tisza), Alentejo Region (including the Alqueva Reservoir) in the Lower Guadiana in Portugal, and Rivierenland in the Netherlands. The analysis comprises several regime elements considered to be important in adaptive and integrated water management: agency, awareness raising and education, type of governance and cooperation structures, information management and—exchange, policy development and—implementation, risk management, and finances and cost recovery. This comparative analysis has an explorative character intended to identify general patterns in adaptive and integrated water management and to determine its role in coping with the impacts of climate change on floods and droughts. The results show that there is a strong interdependence of the elements within a water management regime, and as such this interdependence is a stabilizing factor in current management regimes. For example, this research provides evidence that a lack of joint/participative knowledge is an important obstacle for cooperation, or vice versa. We argue that there is a two-way relationship between information management and collaboration. Moreover, this research suggests that bottom-up governance is not a straightforward solution to water management problems in large-scale, complex, multiple-use systems, such as river basins. Instead, all the regimes being analyzed are in a process of finding a balance between bottom-up and top-down governance. Finally, this research shows that in a basin where one type of extreme is dominant—like droughts in the Alentejo (Portugal) and floods in Rivierenland (Netherlands)—the potential impacts of other extremes are somehow ignored or not perceived with the urgency they might deserve.
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