Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Climate change, land use and runoff theme - first posting

Hello from the "Climate change, land use and runoff theme". Jointly with Bob Evans, I'm leading the theme under IWAM. We hope to post more soon, but for now here are some thoughts on how some of my current work relates to the theme. Last year, I published a paper with Richard Betts looking at global river flows under climate change. This found changes in total annual flows for most of the globe - increases in high latitudes and decreases in areas like Southern Europe and the Mediterranean.

Changes in seasonality were also found - such as earlier runoff peaks in spring in Siberia due to earlier snow melt. Now Met Office Hadley Centre climate models are being extended to include large scale crop models, and soil carbon and nitrogen models as well as river flows, my questions for the theme are:
  • How will changes in rainfall and river flow affect soil erosion?
  • How will climate change affect nutrient losses in agricultural systems?
  • How will these changes interact with future land use changes?
  • What is the impact of these changes on the agricultural system (productivity, management, irrigation..)?
The paper on river flows can be found here:

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Defra announces: Ecosystem Approach-Action Plan

Defra have recently sponsored several research projects looking into how an Ecosystem Approach could be followed in the UK. They have just released 'Securing a healthy natural environment' report that sets out how Defra (and the broader UK Government) will adopt an Ecosystem Approach for a more holistic, integrated and adaptive approach to natural resource management. A key aspect is assessing the state of the evidence base and improving the two way communication between researchers and policy makers- key objectives of IWAM!

Friday, 7 December 2007

Recent thinking on IWRM at CAIWA 2007

At a recent workshop on Critical Perspectives on IWRM Theory and Practice at CAIWA 2007

Nigel Watson (Lancaster, UK) presented a case that the implementation of IWRM needs rethinking. This has implications for Policy and Practice:

•IWRM should be designed around the principle of multi-party collaboration
“…the pooling of appreciations and/or tangible resources, e.g. money, labour etc., by two or more stakeholders to solve a set of problems which neither can solve individually.” (Gray, 1985, p.912)

•Move away from programmed (blue-print) implementation for IWRM and adopt an adaptive approach

“The ideal of adaptive implementation is the establishment of a process that allows policy to be modified, specified and revised – in a word, adapted – according to the unfolding interaction of the policy with its institutional setting. Its outcomes would be neither automatic nor assured, and it would look more like a disorderly learning process than a predictable procedure.” Berman (1980, p.210)

More detail to be found at:

‘Critical Perspectives on Integrated Water Management’
Special Issue of The Geographical Journal, Volume 173, No. 4,
December 2007.
Edited by Nigel Watson, Gordon Walker and Will Medd