Table of Contents:

Both examples illustrate the simplistic, reductionist, and ad-hoc decision-making when water governance arrangements are not prepared to respond to crises and shocks. These forms of fast decision-making systems tend to adopt relatively reactive approaches to respond to the short-term risks (mainly within the political cycles), have limited capacity to consider system complexity and future uncertainty, fail to deliver cost-effective strategies that acknowledge a variety of interests and values, and are unable to apply effective stakeholder involvement processes (Caball & Malekpour, 2019). Pahl-Wostl et al. (2007) outline the main characteristics of both technocratic and adaptive water management regimes and how these can, or not, deal with future changes, including climate change impacts. The key above-mentioned responses to drought and flood events reflect the predominant technocratic regime. Unsurprisingly, they fell short in effectively dealing with uncertainty related to extreme weather, cascading effects, compound events, and reinforced path-dependency that can lead to maladaptation.

Pahl-Wostl (2017) has reiterated that the linear ‘predict and control’ paradigm is unlikely to address future climate risks because it heavily relies on expectations that uncertainty can be minimized through precise technical data and high confidence assessments. Without a paradigm shift toward more flexible, anticipatory, and adaptive water management approaches, it is unlikely that cities and regions will be better prepared to deal with future system shocks caused by climate change. Notably, the two examples discussed in this chapter point to the inextricable link between droughts and floods and the difficulties of tailoring responses that can address both hazards. Essentially, they continue to be done separately. Additionally, while the new floodplain management plan acknowledges future climate change impacts, the focus predominantly continues to be on creating structures that can minimize the negative effects on communities and assets and shifting responsibilities to individuals as opposed to systemic changes (Maniates, 2002; Welch, Swaffield, & Evans, 2018).


This chapter investigated the responses to two extreme weather events that affected the SEQ region over the last two decades: the Millennium Drought (1997-2007) and the 2010-2011 floods. It was found that the responses were predominantly reactive and responsive to crises as opposed to being a result of strategically planned measures. Additionally, responses followed the search for expensive, resource-intensive engineering solutions whose uses were placed on hold post the crisis peak, especially in the drought case (e.g., recycled water scheme and desalination plant). Both examples show little progress toward implementing more systemic changes that can deal with climate change uncertainty and, therefore, can better deal with unforeseen shocks.

On the positive side, there were significantly effective community responses relating to water usage efficiency and post-flood support to affected residents. However, caution needs to be taken to continue to shift responsibilities to individuals to find solutions to what are systemic problems, which require substantial efforts and leadership from authorities. This is especially important to deal with climate change impacts because dealing with shocks and uncertainty demands significant pro-action and anticipatory governance that need to be driven by authorities and not only individuals in the community.


Australian Bureau of Meteorology. (2016). National Water Accounts. http://www.climat- echangeinaustralia.gov.au.

Barr, C., Tibby, J., Leng, M. J., Tyler, J. J., Henderson, A. C. G„ Overpeck. J. T, & McRo- bie, F. H. (2019). Holocene El Nino-Southern Oscillation variability reflected in subtropical Australian precipitation. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 1627. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1038/ S41598-019-38626-3.

Bird, D., King, D., Haynes, K., Box, P„ Okada, T. & Nairn, K. (2013). Impact of the 2010-11 floods and the factors that inhibit and enable household adaptation strategies. Gold Coast, Australia: National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.

Brown, R. R.. Keath, N.. & Wong, T. H. F. (2009). Urban water management in cities: Historical, current and future regimes. Water Science and Technology, 59, 847-855.

Caball, R. & Malekpour, S. (2019). Decision making under crisis: Lessons from the Millennium Drought in Australia. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 34, 387-396. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212420918308835. doi: 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2018.12.008.

Carr, R., Marsden, J., & Jacob, P. (2012). Case Study #/ (of3) - South East Queensland Western Corridor Recycled Water Project. Retrieved from http://vuir.vu.edu.au/32227/.

Council of Australian Governments. (2004). National Water Initiative. Australian Government Retrieved from http://www.agriculture.gov.au/water/policy/nwi.

Dowdy, A., Abbs, D., Bhend, J., Chiew, F., Church, J., Ekstrom, M.,... Whetton, P. (2015). East Coast Cluster Report, Climate Change in Australia Projections for Australia’s Natural Resource Management Regions. In M. Ekstrom, P. Whetton, C. Gerbing, M. Grose, L. Webb, & J. Risbey (Eds.), Cluster Reports. Australia: CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology.

Dunn, G., Brown, R. R., Bos, J. J., & Bakker, K. (2017). Standing on the shoulders of giants: Understanding changes in urban water practice through the lens of complexity science. Urban Water Journal, 14(1), 758-767. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/1573062X.2016.1241284.

Ewart, J. & McLean, H. (2015). Ducking for cover in the ‘blame game’: News framing of the findings of two reports into the 2010-11 Queensland floods. Disasters, 39(1), 166-184. Retrieved from https://doi.Org/10.l 111/disa. 12093.

Folke, C., Carpenter, S. R., Walker. B., Scheffer, M., Chapin, T, & Rockstrom, J. (2010). Resilience thinking: Integrating resilience, adaptability and transformability. Ecology and Society, 15(4), 20.

Godden, L. & Kung, A. (2011). Water law and planning frameworks under climate change variability: Systemic and adaptive management of flood risk. Water Resources Management, 25(15), 4051-4068. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/sll269-011-9887-x.

Harman, B. & Wallington, T. (2010). Institutional Arrangements for Water Management in South East Queensland. Retrieved from https://publications.csiro.au/rpr/ download?pid=csiro:EP101644&dsid=DS7.

Harper, B. & Granger, K. (2001). Natural hazards & the risks they pose to south-east Queensland. Canberra, Australia: Geoscience Australia and Bureau of Meteorology, Department of Industry, Science and Resources.

Head, B. W. (2014). Managing urban water crises: adaptive policy responses to drought and flood in Southeast Queensland, Australia. Ecology and Society, 19(2), 33. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-06414-190233.

Heazle, M., Tangney, R, Burton, P., Howes, M., Grant-Smith, D., Reis, K., & Bosomworth, K. (2013). Mainstreaming climate change adaptation: An incremental approach to disaster risk management in Australia. Environmental Science & Policy, 33(0), 162-170. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901113001214. doi: 10.1016/j. envsci.2013.05.009.

Heberger, M. (2011). Australia’s millennium drought: Impacts and responses. In P. H. Gleick (Ed.), The world’s water: The Biennial Report on freshwater resources (pp. 97-125). Washington, DC: Island Press/Center for Resource Economics.

IPCC. (2014). Summary for policymakers. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Retrieved from Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York.

Laves, G., Kenway, S., Begbie, D.. Roiko, A., Carter, R. W., & Waterman. P. (2014). The research-policy nexus in climate change adaptation: Experience from the urban water sector in South East Queensland, Australia. Regional Environmental Change, 14(2), 449-461. Retrieved from ://WOS:000333267700003. doi: 10.1007/sl0113-013-0556-x.

Maniates, M. (2002). Individualization: Plant a tree, buy a bike, save the world? In T. Princen, К. Conca, & M. Maniates (Eds.), Confronting consumption (pp. 43-66). Cambridge, United States: MIT Press.

McDonald, R. I., Green. R, Balk. D., Fekete, В. M., Revenga, C., Todd, M., & Montgomery, M. (2011). Urban growth, climate change, and freshwater availability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, I08( 15), 6312. Retrieved from http://www.pnas.org/content/108/15/6312. abstract, doi: 10.1073/pnas.l011615108.

McGowan, J. (2012). A missed opportunity to promote community resilience? - The Queensland floods commission of inquiry. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 7/(3), 355— 363. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.Org/10.llll/j.1467-8500.2012.00778.x.

O’Brien, K. (2012). Global environmental change II: From adaptation to deliberate transformation. Progress in Human Geography, 36(5), 667-676.

Olsson, P., Moore, M.-L., Westley, F. R., & McCarthy, D. D. P. (2017). The concept of the An- thropocene as a game-changer: A new context for social innovation and transformations to sustainability. Ecology and Society, 22(2). Retrieved from https://www.ecologyandsociety. org/vol22/iss2/art31/. doi: 10.575l/ES-09310-220231.

Pahl-Wostl, C. (2008). Requirements for Adaptive Water Management. In C. Pahl-Wostl. P. Rabat, & J. Mdltgen (Eds.), Adaptive and integrated water management: Coping with complexity and uncertainty (pp. 1-22). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.

Pahl-Wostl, C. (2017). An evolutionary perspective on water governance: From understanding to transformation. Water Resources Management, 3/(10), 2917-2932. Retrieved from https:// doi.org/10.1007/sl 1269-017-1727-1.

Pahl-Wostl, C., Becker, G., Knieper, C., & Sendzimir, J. (2013). How multilevel societal learning processes facilitate transformative change: a comparative case study analysis on flood management. Ecology and Society, 18(4), 58.

Pahl-Wostl, C., Sendzimir, J., Jeffrey, P. Aerts, J., Berkamp, G., & Cross, K. (2007). Managing change toward adaptive water management through social learning. Ecology and Society, 12(2), 30.

Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry. (2012). Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry: final report. Retrieved from http://www.floodcommission.qld.gov.au/publications/ final-report/.

Queensland Government. (2019). Brisbane river strategic floodplain management plan. Brisbane: Queensland Reconstruction Authority, The State of Queensland.

Queensland Government Statistician’s Office. (2019). Residential land development activity profile for SEQ Regional Planning Area. Retrieved from https://statistics.qgso.qld.gov.au/ rlda-profiles.

Queensland Water Commission. (2010). South East Queensland Water Strategy. Brisbane: Queensland Water Commission.

SEQwater. (2018). Water for Life. South East Queensland’s Water Security Program Annual Report. Retrieved from https://www.seqwater.com.au/sites/default/files/2019-09/2018%20 Water%20Security%20Program%20Annual%20Report%20-%20for%20web.pdf.

Siders, A. (2019). Adaptive capacity to climate change: A synthesis of concepts, methods, and findings in a fragmented field. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 10(2), e573.

Spearritt, P. (2008). The water crisis in Southeast Queensland: How desalination turned the region into carbon emission heaven. In P. Troy (Ed.), Troubled waters: Confronting the water crisis in Australia’s cities (pp. 19-36). Canberra: ANU E-Press, Australian National University.

The World Bank & Queensland Reconstruction Authority. (2011). Queensland Recovery and Reconstruction in the Aftermath of the 201012011 Flood Events and Cyclone Yasi. Retrieved from http://www.qldreconstruction.org.au/publications-guides/reports/world-bank-report.

Turner, A. J., Hausler, G., Carrard, N. R., Kazaglis, A., White, S., Hughes, A., & Johnson, T. (2007). Review of water supply-demand options for South East Queensland. Retrieved from https://opus.lib.uts.edu.au/handle/10453/35041.

Walton, A. & Hume, M. (2011). Creating positive habits in water conservation: The case of the Queensland Water Commission and the Target 140 campaign. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 16(2), 215-224. Retrieved from http://onlineli- brary.wiley.com/st ore/10.1002/nvsm.421/asset/nvsm421. pdf?v= I&t=i9anxh6g&s=604d7078f- c70b458b73dfe7562107ae8dc70dala. doi: 10.1002/nvsm.421.

Welch, D., Swaffield, J., & Evans, D. (2018). Who’s responsible for food waste? Consumers, retailers and the food waste discourse coalition in the United Kingdom. Journal of Consumer Culture, 1469540518773801. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/1469540518773801.

Wong, T. H. & Brown, R. R. (2009). The water sensitive city: Principles for practice. Water Science Technology, 60(2), 673-682. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu- bmed/19657162. doi:10.2166/wst.2009.436.

< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >