What influences climate information use in water management? The role of boundary organizations and governance regimes in Brazil and the U.S.

Christine J. Kirchhoff, Maria Carmen Lemos, Nathan L. Engle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations

Abstract

Managing water resources to be resilient to climate-related risks calls for more adaptive and integrative water management with improved accessibility and use of climate information. However, there is relatively limited understanding of the mechanisms that promote information uptake and use in decision-making and planning across a range of water management approaches. We use qualitative and quantitative data to explore the role of different (1) institutions and water governance regimes and (2) knowledge support systems in shaping climate information use in the United States (U.S.) and Brazil. We argue that climate knowledge use among water managers is critically influenced by both the kind of water regime shaping governance-in this case IWRM and conventional approaches-and by the presence and character of knowledge systems producing and brokering climate information. In the cases studied, this research finds that, despite the positive influence of IWRM institutions in pushing for climate information use, other factors such as decision-makers' culture, level of risk averseness and management priorities might be more influential in shaping climate information uptake. Similarly, for conventional management, results suggest that, in Arizona, state planning policies may have played a limited role in advancing climate information use. Overwhelmingly, individual water manager behavior (e.g., information seeking) and risk perception spur consideration of climate information in planning and decision-making. The cases also suggest that more than institutions, it is interaction in the context of an integrated boundary organization that best predicts higher use of climate information by water managers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-18
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Volume26
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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