XIVth IWRA World Water Congress

DATE: September 25-29, 2011 - VENUE: Porto de Galinhas, Pernambuco Brazil





The World Water Congress will highlight emerging drivers of water resources management including climate change; population growth, urban expansion and demographic changes; economic development; water quality degradation, and ecosystem water requirements including to mantain biodiversity. Each of these will alter the way water is managed; together, they will require fundamentally new priorities for technology and infrastructure, management and policy, allocation and pricing, laws and institutions, and above all a new future outlook for water resources professionals.


What is "adaptive management"? As we enter an era of drastically heightened pressure on water resources combined with greater exposure to extremes (drought and floods), managers and decision makers (from users to agencies, to global water initiatives) must reconfigure conventional approaches that have assumed bounded variability in hydrologic, water demand, and institutional terms. This new conception of water management seeks to better integrate scientific, engineering, social, and institutional perspectives. It requires new understanding of multiple factors that influence how water is used and managed and of what we must do to innovate. For example, what are the tradeoffs of new treatment systems for water supply or wastewater that are increasingly energy-intensive when climate change mitigation will require reduced energy inputs? How do decision processes at local to national to global scales incorporate new perspectives? Are agencies, professionals, and the public able to change their thinking ("learn") quickly enough to keep pace with growing uncertainty in conditions? How do water systems build adaptive capacity to face multiple stressors, some of which are potentially catastrophic or yet unknown such as climate change impacts? These and other questions will challenge Congress participants.

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