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


  • Marjolijn Haasnoot


  • Hans Middelkoop
  • Astrid Offermans
  • Eelco Beek
  • Willem Deursen


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. Copyright The Author(s) 2012

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  • Marjolijn Haasnoot & Hans Middelkoop & Astrid Offermans & Eelco Beek & Willem Deursen, 2012. "Exploring pathways for sustainable water management in river deltas in a changing environment," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 115(3), pages 795-819, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:climat:v:115:y:2012:i:3:p:795-819
    DOI: 10.1007/s10584-012-0444-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kleijnen, Jack P. C. & Sargent, Robert G., 2000. "A methodology for fitting and validating metamodels in simulation," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 120(1), pages 14-29, January.
    2. Walker, Warren E. & Rahman, S. Adnan & Cave, Jonathan, 2001. "Adaptive policies, policy analysis, and policy-making," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 128(2), pages 282-289, January.
    3. M. Haasnoot & H. Middelkoop & E. van Beek & W. P. A. van Deursen, 2011. "A method to develop sustainable water management strategies for an uncertain future," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(6), pages 369-381, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mathy, S. & Criqui, P. & Knoop, K. & Fischedick, M. & Samadi, S., 2016. "Uncertainty management and the dynamic adjustment of Deep Decarbonization Pathways," Working Papers 2016-03, Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL).
    2. Matteo Giuliani & Andrea Castelletti, 2016. "Is robustness really robust? How different definitions of robustness impact decision-making under climate change," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 135(3), pages 409-424, April.
    3. Sierra C. Woodruff, 2016. "Planning for an unknowable future: uncertainty in climate change adaptation planning," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 139(3), pages 445-459, December.
    4. Warren E. Walker & Marjolijn Haasnoot & Jan H. Kwakkel, 2013. "Adapt or Perish: A Review of Planning Approaches for Adaptation under Deep Uncertainty," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(3), pages 1-25, March.
    5. Florence Crick & Katie Jenkins & Swenja Surminski, 2016. "Strengthening insurance partnerships in the face of climate change – insights from an agent-based model of flood insurance in the UK," GRI Working Papers 241, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    6. repec:eee:agisys:v:157:y:2017:i:c:p:216-229 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. K. M. Bruijn & N. Lips & B. Gersonius & H. Middelkoop, 2016. "The storyline approach: a new way to analyse and improve flood event management," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 81(1), pages 99-121, March.
    8. Jan Kwakkel & Marjolijn Haasnoot & Warren Walker, 2015. "Developing dynamic adaptive policy pathways: a computer-assisted approach for developing adaptive strategies for a deeply uncertain world," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 132(3), pages 373-386, October.
    9. Wil Thissen & Jan Kwakkel & Marjolein Mens & Jeroen Sluijs & Sara Stemberger & Arjan Wardekker & Diana Wildschut, 2017. "Dealing with Uncertainties in Fresh Water Supply: Experiences in the Netherlands," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 31(2), pages 703-725, January.
    10. Judy Lawrence & Dorothee Quade & Julia Becker, 2014. "Integrating the effects of flood experience on risk perception with responses to changing climate risk," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 74(3), pages 1773-1794, December.
    11. Dittrich, Ruth & Wreford, Anita & Moran, Dominic, 2016. "A survey of decision-making approaches for climate change adaptation: Are robust methods the way forward?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 79-89.

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