• Climate Change Adaptation;
  • Adaptive Capacity Indicators;
  • Water Governance;
  • Case Studies


Climate variability and climate change impacts on hydrological conditions prescribe the need to better understand favourable conditions for developing and mobilising adaptive capacity. This paper presents new cases to the body of evidence on adaptive capacity in the context of institutional arrangements for water management. It aims to contribute insights into the challenges of developing approaches across governance scales for dealing with climate variability and climate change impacts. The different case studies explored in this article represent an exploration of the challenges across temporal and spatial scales in relation to the adaptive capacity of water governance to hydro-climatic stresses. The studies use a suite of governance related indicators to explore adaptive capacity in relation to past extreme hydrological events. Analysis is based on qualitative open ended interviews and questionnaires. Results indicate that tensions persist in developing proactive capacity and mobilising reactive capacity at different scales of governance to different scales of change. Findings support the increasing recognition in the literature for top down and bottom up approaches to be better balanced in efforts to improve resilience to climate variability and change. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment