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Posted on April 9, 2018 by

Categories: Events, News,

Shaping the water governance of the future

Miriam Kennedy

Miriam Kennedy

To kick off an exciting new project on water resilience governance, The Resilience Shift recently hosted a workshop to frame the resilience opportunity in partnership with the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), Arup Water, the City Water Resilience Framework (supported by the Rockefeller Foundation) and We Are Telescopic.

What does resilience opportunity framing mean?

Opportunity Framing is a process designed to articulate proposed projects in terms of the opportunity to create resilience value and gain alignment behind the opportunity.

Our objective was to define the opportunity to develop a tool that can be used by decision makers and other stakeholders, and which uses governance to support resilience outcomes of decision making at a catchment level.

In practice, this meant getting everyone in a room together over two days and figuring out:

  1. 1. Where are we now?
  2. 2. Where do we want to be?
  3. 3. How do we get there?

We already knew that each partner would bring unique strengths and a range of experience but we needed to align our ideas into a clear goal. Together, we recognised that water governance is complex, typically involving many stakeholders who may not coordinate with each other or even consider themselves part of a ‘water governance system’. Before anyone can improve a system, it’s therefore essential to understand how it’s currently working (or not working). Other points which the workshop participants raised included:

 ‘The difference between hazard risk reduction and resilience is that resilient systems can survive and thrive facing unknown shocks and stresses’

‘Collective action will be essential for resilient water governance’

‘Any tools we develop must be relevant and practical to end users in vastly different contexts’

At the end of two days of discussions in which we covered what water resilience governance should look, examples of poor water governance, the complexities of defining the boundaries of a water system and a whole range of other related topics, we agreed on the following ‘opportunity statement’:

By the end of 2018, the partnerships (SIWI, Resilience Shift, Arup Water and We Are Telescopic) will provide a methodology and a tool facilitating the mapping of the roles and responsibilities in the water cycle showing what happens under shocks and stresses and how current governance deals with it, identifying gaps and suggesting governance improvements. Our objective is to support one or more key players in the water cycle to mobilise and drive collective action for improving resilience via good governance practices. The partnership will plug in to the work on the City Water Resilience Framework but it will also have to be able to stand alone and drive resilience via good governance practices in catchments.

This is just the beginning of what looks set to be an exciting project. We expect that as the project evolves the opportunity statement will be further refined but for now it creates a direction of alignment for all partners.

Do you have experience improving water governance? We’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below or email us.

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