Exploring pathways for sustainable water management in river deltas in a changing environment

M. Haasnoot*, H. Middelkoop, Astrid Offermans, E. van Beek, W.P.A. Deursen

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Exploring adaptation pathways into an uncertain future can support decisionmaking in achieving sustainable water management in a changing environment. Our objective is to develop and test a method to identify such pathways by including dynamics from natural variability and the interaction between the water system and society. Present planning studies on long-term water management often use a few plausible futures for one or two projection years, ignoring the dynamic aspect of adaptation through the interaction between the water system and society. Our approach is to explore pathways using multiple realisations of transient scenarios with an integrated assessment meta model (iamm). This paper presents the first application of the method using a hypothetical case study. The case study shows how to explore and evaluate adaptation pathways. With the pathways it is possible to identify opportunities, threats, timing and sequence of policy options, which can be used by policymakers to develop water management roadmaps into the future. By including the dynamics between the water system and society, the influence of uncertainties in both systems becomes clearer. The results show, among others, that climate variability rather than climate change appears to be important for taking decisions in water management.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)795-819
    JournalClimatic Change
    Issue number3-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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