Anticipating change: sustainable water policy pathways for an uncertain future

Marjolijn Haasnoot

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research external, graduation UT

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Water management should preferably bring solutions that sustain even if conditions change. In anticipating change, a sustainable plan should not only achieve economic, environmental, and social targets, but it should also be robust to uncertainty and able to be adapted over time to (unforeseen) future conditions. The objective of this Ph.D. research was to develop and test a method for exploring adaptation pathways for sustainable water management in river deltas into an uncertain future. The research resulted in two main products: 1) A stepwise policy analysis framework for the development of a sustainable plan that can cope with changing conditions. The key principles of this framework are: the use of transient scenarios representing a variety of relevant uncertain changing conditions over time; the exploration of adaptation pathways after an adaptation tipping point; and an adaptation map showing the set of most promising adaptation pathways and options for transferring from one pathway to another in the format of a metro-map, and 2) A fast, Integrated Assessment MetaModel (IAMM) that allows for exploring many policy pathways under a multiplicity of transient scenarios, and helps to assess when a policy’s tipping point might occur at earliest and at latest (time-span). The approach proved to be valuable for informed decision making on a sustainable water management plan, and has been adopted in the concept of adaptive delta management of the Delta Programme.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • van Beek, Eelco, Supervisor
  • van Beek, E., Supervisor, External person
  • Middelkoop, H., Supervisor, External person
Award date20 Jun 2013
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-3559-5
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2013


  • IR-86294
  • METIS-296700


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