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Archetypical opportunities for water governance adaptation to climate change

Anastasiia Gotgelf, Resource Economics Group, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Matteo Roggero, Resource Economics Group, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Klaus Eisenack, Resource Economics Group, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany


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We explore opportunities for climate adaptation in the context of water governance. We focus on opportunities linked to the provision of climate information, raising the question of whether they are limited to incremental adaptation, or can also bring about transformational adaptation. We address this question through an archetype analysis based on 26 peer-reviewed articles. In each article, opportunities are identified, coded using the social-ecological system framework, and then bundled into archetypes that encompass similar opportunities reappearing across multiple cases. Results suggest that the provision of climate information can constitute an opportunity for adaptation that goes beyond purely incremental adjustments to a changing climate. Specifically, two of the six archetypes identified enable transformational adaptation by bringing long-term implications of current impacts into focus and by addressing the issue of capacity of existing institutions to respond to climate change. However, there is a high degree of heterogeneity in the characterization of opportunities, and the six archetypes only cover about one in three of the opportunities identified. This indicates the need for further research to develop more streamlined conceptualizations. In this respect, the archetypes identified herewith suggest some avenues for further conceptual development. We also explore policy implications, raising questions regarding the current development of climate services.

Key words

adaptation; archetypes; climate change; climate information; opportunities; transformation; water governance; water management

Copyright © 2020 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087