3 years ago

Adapting water management to climate change: Institutional involvement, inter-institutional networks and barriers in India

The capacity of a nation to address the hydrological impacts of climate change depends on the institutions through which water is governed. Inter-institutional networks that enable institutions to adapt and the factors that hinder smooth coordination are poorly understood. Using water governance in India as an example of a complex top-down bureaucratic system that requires effective networks between all key institutions, this research unravels the barriers to adaptation by combining quantitative internet data mining and qualitative analysis of interviews with representatives from twenty-six key institutions operating at the national level. Institutions' online presence shows a disconnect in the institutional discourse between climate change and water with institutions such as the Ministries of Water Resources, Earth Sciences and Agriculture, indicating a lesser involvement compared to institutions such as the Ministries of Finance, External Affairs, Planning Commission. The online documents also indicate a more centralised inter-institutional network, emanating from or pointing to a few key institutions including the Planning Commission and Ministry of Environment and Forests. However, the interviews suggest more complex relational dynamics between institutions and also demonstrate a gap between the aspirational ideals of the National Water Mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change and the realities of climate change adaptation. This arises from institutional barriers, including lengthy bureaucratic processes and systemic failures, that hinder effective inter-institutional networks to facilitate adaptation. The study provides new understanding of the involvement and barriers of complex multi-layered institutions in climate change adaptation.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0959378017304478

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