Combining backcasting and exploratory scenarios to develop robust water strategies in face of uncertain futures

M. van Vliet, K. Kok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Water management strategies in times of global change need to be developed within a complex and uncertain environment. Scenarios are often used to deal with uncertainty. A novel backcasting methodology has been tested in which a normative objective (e.g. adaptive water management) is backcasted within the context of exploratory scenarios that sketch four different plausible futures (Economy First, Policy Rules, Fortress Europe, and Sustainability Eventually). The main advantage of combining exploratory and normative scenarios is in the identification of robust actions: actions that are effective in the different socio-environmental contexts sketched in the exploratory scenarios. This paper has three objectives: (1) to present the methodology, focussing on its novel aspects (2) to test the methodology and evaluate its perceived success by analysing organiser and stakeholder feedback and (3) to analyse and evaluate the results, in order to study the impact of the exploratory scenarios on the backcasting results and the added value of robust actions. The methodology was successfully tested in 9 local and one regional case study in a water project water scenarios for Europe and for Neighbouring States (SCENES). Results showed that the exploratory scenarios influenced the content of the backcasts, thus making the identification of robust strategies possible. The list of robust strategies includes both technological and social/organisational strategies, highlighting the need for an integrated approach. The approach shows high potential, but as the methodology is in its infancy more research is needed, particularly in methods to facilitate and monitor information flow between exploratory scenarios and backcasts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-74
JournalMitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • climatic change
  • water management
  • uncertainty analysis
  • methodology
  • stakeholder participation
  • sustainability
  • framework
  • management
  • visions
  • europe
  • world
  • land
  • tool

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