Handbook on Water Security
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Handbook on Water Security

Edited by Claudia Pahl-Wostl, Anik Bhaduri and Joyeeta Gupta

Water security has received increasing attention in the scientific and policy community in recent years. This Handbook covers the wide range of perspectives required to understand water security as a concept guiding water governance and management at different levels and in different regions. It reflects on past, present and future challenges to water security and strategies on how to overcome them. An invaluable resource for scientific scholars, it will also appeal policymakers and practitioners interested in a deeper understanding of this important concept.
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Chapter 14: Water security and environmental water needs: the role of the ecosystem services concept and transformation of governance systems

Claudia Pahl-Wostl and Kathrin Knüppe


This chapter elaborates on the trade-offs between human water security on the one hand and environmental water needs on the other. Thereby it is crucial to take into account economic interests and livelihoods especially of poor communities. In most countries, economic considerations prevail over environmental requirements often resulting in the degradation of ecosystems which in turn affects in particular marginal groups and destroys livelihoods. The major governance challenge is the prevailing fragmentation of institutional settings, which is illustrated for different dimensions of water security. The ecosystem services concept is introduced as a bridging concept to support integration of fragmented institutional settings and to support negotiation about water security trade-offs within a guiding logic and an integrative framework. The chapter identifies requirements for environmental governance to move towards development trajectories which enhance human water security without jeopardizing environmental water needs.

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