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Droughts and Governance Impacts on Water Scarcity: An Analysis in the Brazilian Semi-Arid

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Silva, A. C. S.; Galvão, C. O.; Silva, G. N. S.
Journal: Proceedings of the International Association of Hydrology
Volume: 369
Page(s): 129-134
Date: 2015
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/9815
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: South America
Subject(s): drought
social-ecological systems--frameworks
water management
Abstract: "Extreme events are part of climate variability. Dealing with variability is still a challenge that might be increased due to climate change. However, impacts of extreme events are not only dependent on their variability, but also on management and governance. In Brazil, its semi-arid region is vulnerable to extreme events, especially droughts, for centuries. Actually, other Brazilian regions that have been mostly concerned with floods are currently also experiencing droughts. This article evaluates how a combination between climate variability and water governance might affect water scarcity and increase the impacts of extreme events on some regions. For this evaluation, Ostrom's framework for analyzing social-ecological systems (SES) was applied. Ostrom's framework is useful for understanding interactions between resource systems, governance systems and resource users. This study focuses on social-ecological systems located in a drought-prone region of Brazil. Two extreme events were selected, one in 1997–2000, when Brazil's new water policy was very young, and the other one in 2012–2015. The analysis of SES considering Ostrom's principle 'Clearly defined boundaries' showed that deficiencies in water management cause the intensification of drought's impacts for the water users. The reasons are more related to water management and governance problems than to drought event magnitude or climate change. This is a problem that holdup advances in dealing with extreme events."

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