Environmental Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
others (Bogardi et al. 2012 ), one is exposed to the military and intelligence situa-
tion-room conception of strategic resources to be protected through military force,
espionage and the exercise of state power. This
view is
indeed the origin of the concept of security. International and transboundary ini-
tiatives for water management, for example, increasingly must avoid
guns, gates, and guards
which nation states view in sovereignty terms, in relation to the United Nations
Security Council (Varady and Scott 2013 ). Here, our intent is not to engage directly
in debates over the securitization of resources (Zeitoun et al. 2013 ; Fischhendler
and Katz 2012 ; Mollinga et al. 2012 ), but instead to relate the nexus to the more
benign human and ecosystem dependence dimensions of resource security (e.g.
Scott et al. 2013 for water security). Critical to enhancing water security is an
improved understanding of complex socio-ecological systems, causes of declining
resilience in such systems and the role that adaptive management can play in
mitigating the effects of such trends.
Complex socio-ecological systems are evident at different levels: from a policy/
legal perspective, complexity is evident
rules in use
that affect decisions
relating to allocation of resources, coordination of
financial and human resources
and equity effects on human populations. Examples of allocation rules include
formulas or criteria for allocation of water among different water uses like industry,
agriculture and water supply. Coordination rules could include rules that guide
allocation of central funds by regional departments/ministries or criteria for mon-
itoring water quality standards for river systems. Examples of equity rules could
include daily allocation norms for water supply between rural and urban areas or
criteria for allocation of central grants for wealthy and resource poor regions/
communities or households. Organizational rules are evident in formal rules in
operation within public sector and extent of discretion that is allowed by admin-
istrative culture that characterizes the work of line departments and ministries.
Complex socio-ecological systems that successfully deal with
in the
policy, environmental or socio-economic realm are usually characterized by resil-
ience. Some have argued forcefully that resilience is a measure of: (a) the amount of
change the system can undergo and still retain the same control on functions and
structure, (b) the degree to which the system is capable of self-organization and (c)
the ability to build and increase the capacity for learning and adaptation (Resilience
Alliance 2001). Resilience is an important property of a system because the loss of
resilience moves a system closer to a threshold, threatening to
flip it from one
equilibrium state to another (Berkes 2002 ). Highly resilient systems can absorb
stresses without undergoing a
flip; they are capable of self-organization based on
relationships of trust and have the ability to respond to unpredictable
through approaches that place a premium on learning by doing and trial and error
(Kurian and Dietz 2013 ).
The concept of resilience is based on the assumption that cyclical change is an
essential characteristic of all social and ecological systems. For example, resource
crises such as a forest
fire are important for renewal of ecosystems in as much as
demographic growth and educational opportunities can serve to renew communi-
ties. But such processes of renewal and change are seldom linear and predictable
Search WWH ::

Custom Search