Water in the West - Session 1 - Melinda Benson and Barbara Cosens


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Resilience in Water Governance: Building Adaptive Capacity within Socio-ecological Systems Facing Climate Change

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Water in the West - Session 1 - Melinda Benson and Barbara Cosens

  1. 1. Resilience in water governance: building adaptive capacity within social-ecological systems facing climate change Melinda Harm Benson University of New Mexico, Geography and Environmental Studies Barbara Cosens University of Idaho College of Law Transformational Solutions for Water in the West Workshop Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico 5 September 2013 1
  2. 2. Overview • Resilience • Resilience thinking and water governance – Examples: • U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Basin Studies • NSF supported “Social-Ecological System Resilience, Climate Change and Adaptive Water Governance” • Transformational? 2
  3. 3. Resilience The capacity of a system to absorb a spectrum of disturbances and reorganize so as to retain essentially the same function, structure, and feedbacks—to have the same identity (Walker and Salt 2012). 3
  4. 4. Social-Ecological System Social Ecological 4
  5. 5. Adaptive Capacity v. Optimization 5
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  9. 9. Thresholds v. Stationarity 9
  10. 10. • WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America's Resources for Tomorrow) • “water dependent ecological resiliency” 10
  11. 11. Basin Studies • projections of future supply and demand by river basin. • analysis of how the basin’s existing water and power operations and infrastructure will perform in the face of changing water realities. • Options and recommendation regarding how to improve operations and infrastructure to supply adequate water in the future. 11
  12. 12. “Social-Ecological System Resilience, Climate Change and Adaptive Water Governance” National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center 12
  13. 13. PROPOSED STUDY BASINS to assess ecological resilience to climate change and adaptive governance 13
  14. 14. Transformability • The capacity to reconceptualize and create a fundamentally new system with different characteristics (Walker and Salt 2004) • Elements – Preparedness to change (as opposed to state of denial) – Having the options for change (possible new “trajectories”) – The capacity to change 14
  15. 15. It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. — Charles Darwin 15
  16. 16. Support • This work was conducted as part of an Innovation Working Group by the Tri- State EPSCoR Programs and funded by National Science Foundation # NM 0814449 • “Social-Ecological System Resilience, Climate Change and Adaptive Water Governance” work is supported by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) under funding from the National Science Foundation DBI-1052875 • Thanks to my Natural Resource Management Seminar Students for their helpful feedback and suggestions! 16
  17. 17. Contact information • Melinda Harm Benson Geography and Environmental Studies • mhbenson@unm.edu http://www.unm.edu/~mhbenson • View my research on my SSRN Author page: http://ssrn.com/author=1225638 17
  18. 18. Selected References • • • • • • • • • • Photos of MRG (M. Harvey and D. Llewellyn) Benson, M. H., and A. Garmestani. 2011. “Can We Manage for Resilience? The Integration of Resilience Thinking into Natural Resource Management in the United States.” Environ. Manage. 48 (3): 392-399. Biermann, F. et al. 2012. “Navigating the Anthropocene: Improving Earth System Governance.” Science. 335: 1306-1307. Carpenter, S., B. Walker, J. M. Anderies, and N. Abel. 2001. “From Metaphor to Measurement: Resilience of What to What?” Ecosystems. 4 (8): 765–781. Craig, R. K. 2010. “Stationarity Is Dead Long Live Transformation: Five Principles for Climate Change Adaptation Law.” Harvard Environmental Law Review. 34 (1): 9— 73. Folke C., J. Colding, and F. Berkes, 2002. Building resilience for adaptive capacity in social-ecological systems. In: Berkes F., J. Colding, and C. Folke (eds). 2003. Navigating Social-Ecological Systems: Building Resilience for Complexity and Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. Milly, P. C. D. et al. 2008. “Stationarity Is Dead: Whither Water Management?” Science. 319: 573–574. Walker B. and D. Salt. 2004. Resilience Thinking (Island Press). Walker B. and D. Salt. 2012. Resilience Practice (Island Press). 18