AN INTEGRATED SYSTEMS APPROACH TO DESIGNING CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION POLICY IN WATER RESOURCES
Abstract:Climate change projections are characterised by large uncertainties with rainfall variability being the key challenge in designing adaptation policies. Climate change adaptation in water resources shows all the typical characteristics of 'wicked' problems typified by cognitive uncertainty as new scientific knowledge becomes available, problem instability, knowledge imperfection and strategic uncertainty due to institutional changes that inevitably occur over time. Planning that is characterised by uncertainties and instability requires an approach that can accommodate flexibility and adaptive capacity for decision-making. An ability to take corrective measures in the event that scenarios and responses envisaged initially derive into forms at some future stage.
We present an integrated-multidisciplinary and comprehensive framework designed to interface and inform science and decision making in the formulation of water resource management strategies to deal with climate change in the Musi Catchment of Andhra Pradesh, India. At the core of this framework is a dialogue between stakeholders, decision makers and scientists to define a set of plausible responses to an ensemble of climate change scenarios derived from global climate modelling. The modelling framework used to evaluate the resulting combination of climate scenarios and adaptation responses includes the surface and groundwater assessment models (SWAT & MODFLOW) and the water allocation modelling (REALM) to determine the water security of each adaptation strategy. Three climate scenarios extracted from downscaled climate models were selected for evaluation together with four agreed responses—changing cropping patterns, increasing watershed development, changing the volume of groundwater extraction and improving irrigation efficiency. Water security in this context is represented by the combination of level of water availability and its associated security of supply for three economic activities (agriculture, urban, industrial) on a spatially distributed basis. The resulting combinations of climate scenarios and adaptation responses were subjected to a combined hydro-economic assessment based on the degree of water security together with its cost-effectiveness against the Business-as-usual scenario.