Sustainable Management of Water Resources

Sustainable Management of Water Resources

An Integrated Approach

The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development

Edited by Carlo Giupponi, Anthony J. Jakeman, Derek Karssenberg and Matt P. Hare

Experts across a wide range of specialist fields including social sciences, informatics, ecology and hydrology are brought together in this truly multidisciplinary approach to water management. They provide the reader with integrated insights into water resource management practices that underpin the three pillars of sustainable development – environment, economics and society – through a series of international case studies and theoretical frameworks.

Chapter 10: Integrated Modelling: Construction, Selection, Uncertainty

Anthony J. Jakeman, John P. Norton, Rebecca A. Letcher and Holger Maier

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, environmental economics, management natural resources, water


Anthony J. Jakeman, John P. Norton, Rebecca A. Letcher and Holger R. Maier 10.1 INTRODUCTION Integrated water resource management (IWRM) is basically a tool to achieve more sustainable outcomes in catchments or watersheds. Uncertainty, subjectivity and compartmentalisation are three notions that characterise the problem of achieving sustainability in catchment systems. There is uncertainty and subjectivity about what sustainability is, how to reach it and about the representation of system processes affecting it. In addition, there is compartmentalisation of natural resource management and policies, so much so that one policy may conflict with another in its environmental or socioeconomic objectives. IWRM embraces these problems and emphasises ideas of community choice, precaution, risk, learning and adaptive management. Precaution is often recommended where there is doubt about the sustainability of a system. The level of precaution and the risk of a dire outcome need to be addressed in the participatory process. Active adaptive management uses policy implementation to achieve two closely linked objectives: robustly sustainable outcomes and accelerated learning about the system. Robustness of desired outcomes requires monitoring of the system and revision of management actions to deal with unforeseen changes, such as new disturbances, unpredicted consequences of earlier actions and additional demands on the system. It clearly requires continued acquisition of new knowledge about the system, which will partly come as a result of monitoring but may also pose a need to perturb the system. For this reason accelerated learning may involve a compromise between perturbing the system enough to cause clearly...

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