Global water governance and Climate Change: Identifying innovative arrangements for adaptive transformation

Maria de Lourdes Melo Zurita*, Dana C. Thomsen, Neil J. Holbrook, Timothy F. Smith, Anna Lyth, Paul G. Munro, Annemarieke de Bruin, Giovanna Seddaiu, Pier Paolo Roggero, Julia Baird, Ryan Plummer, Ryan Bullock, Kevin Collins, Neil Powell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


A convoluted network of different water governance systems exists around the world. Collectively, these systems provide insight into how to build sustainable regimes of water use and management. We argue that the challenge is not tomake the systemless convoluted, but rather to support positive and promising trends in governance, creating a vision for future environmental outcomes. In this paper, we analyse nine water case studies from around the world to help identify potential 'innovative arrangements' for addressing existing dilemmas. We argue that such arrangements can be used as a catalyst for crafting new global water governance futures. The nine case studies were selected for their diversity in terms of location, scale and water dilemma, and through an examination of their contexts, structures and processes we identify key themes to consider in the milieu of adaptive transformation. These themes include the importance of acknowledging socio-ecological entanglements, understanding the political dimensions of environmental dilemmas, the recognition of different constructions of the dillema, and the importance of democratized processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018


  • Adaptive transformation
  • Global environmental governance
  • Innovative arrangements
  • Institutional analysis
  • Water governance

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