Climate Essay Review

Can Integrated Water Resources Management Increase Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change?

Climate change is increasing pressure on water systems because of extreme drought, heat waves, melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and ocean acidification. Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) is the dominant policy paradigm for all levels of government to manage their water resources. Is IWRM up to the task of adapting to climate change and the stresses on our shared water resources?

I summarize a paper in the Journal of Water Resource and Protection which overviews the history of water resource management, the global norms of water security, how we define “adaptive capacity”, and identify the ways IWRM can improve the resilience of our water systems.

What’s needed is for climate planners to develop an integrated form of sustainably managing water specifically at the river basin scale with multi-stakeholder participation, equitable access, and demand management through quotas, tradable water rights, and user charges. 

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