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July 2018
Palgrave Macmillan

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Building Resilience for Uncertain Water Futures

Patricia Gober

This book describes the existential threats facing the global water systems from population growth and economic development, unsustainable use, environmental change and weak and fragmented governance. It argues that "business-as-usual" water science and management cannot solve global water problems because today’s water systems are increasingly complex and face uncertain future conditions. Instead, a more holistic, strategic, agile and publically engaged process of water decision making is needed.

"Building Resilience for Uncertain Water Futures" emphasizes the importance of adaptation through a series of case studies of cities, regions, and communities that have experimented with anticipatory policy-making, scenario development, and public engagement. By shifting perspective from an emphasis on management to one of adaptation, the book emphasizes the capacity to manage uncertainties, the need for cross-sector coordination, and mechanisms for engaging stakeholders with differing goals and conflict resolution.

This book will be a useful resource for students and academics seeking a better understanding of sustainable water use, water policy and water resources management.


Patricia Gober is a research professor in the School of Geographic Sciences and Urban Planning and senior sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley School of Sustainability at Arizona State University. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2008) and of the Association of American Geographers.