Resilience, adaptation and transformability of water governance regimes

This project examined recently implemented water sector reforms in Sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia. Due to climate change water has become an issue of crucial importance, which the governments have to cope with quickly. The aim of the project was to identify strategies contributing to resilience. Possible ways for action are adaption or if necessary transformation at different scales of the social system.

Elke Herrfahrdt-Pähle

2011 - 2013 / Abgeschlossen


Stockholm Resilience Centre
School of Bioresources Engineering and Environmental Hydrology, University of KwaZulu Natal
University of Osnabrück


The rapid changes in ecological systems brought about by climate change put water resources and water governance regimes under pressure. As a result of changing precipitation patterns and increasing occurrences of droughts and floods, water resources are already highly stressed today in many parts of the world. These changes open up new mismatches between scales and levels of water governance and aggravate existing ones, thus underlining the urgency of learning and building resilience. Adaptation or probably even transformation is required at different scales of the social system in order to keep pace with current and possible future changes in the ecological system.
The project explored recent water governance reforms in Sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia. The aim was to identify their potential to increase the resilience of water governance regimes by either adapting to the changes brought about by climate change or (if adaptation does not suffice) transforming into more resilient water governance regimes.