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Marian J. Patrick, Sondoss Elsawah, Isabela Burgher and Anthony J. Jakeman

Prolonged droughts and increasing uncertainties in water supply due to climate change have brought water security to the forefront of the research and political agenda in Australia. Its water security is primarily undermined by inefficient water use, over-use and over-allocation. In order to address these issues and become more water secure, trade-offs need to be made between and within a number of sectors. Achieving water security necessitates a systemic approach which requires an understanding of the relationships between water, food, energy and the environment. This chapter provides an inter-sectorial perspective on how polices have conceptualised, valued and implemented actions to ensure water security for Australian cities and rural regions.

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Ben Stewart-Koster and Stuart E. Bunn

The provision of water security for humans generally requires a stable supply of high quality water, which is in contrast to the importance of variability in water quality and quantity for ecosystems. In this chapter we address this apparent conflict and seek congruence between humans and the environment. We discuss the concept of ecosystem health, its use for monitoring, reporting and evaluating of the aquatic ecosystem condition and how this can be used to guide the environmental component of water security. We then discuss the apparent conflict and congruence between humans and the environment in the quest for water security and seek opportunities where water security can be provided to humans with minimal reductions of ecosystem health. We argue that knowledge from ecological science can provide guidance toward this goal.

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Uschi Eid

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Kirstin I. Conti, Neno Kukurić and Joyeeta Gupta

Humans abstract two hundred times more groundwater than oil, annually. Ironically, the role of groundwater in water management and supply is underappreciated, partially due to its invisibility. By conducting a literature survey and investigating groundwater information databases, this chapter answers the question: what are the physical and human dimensions of groundwater security at each geographic level and do they present a security issue at any or all of these levels? The chapter does not discuss the appropriateness of the security concept for groundwater challenges; rather it examines the physical and human dimension of groundwater security. It concludes that groundwater can present security challenges because of hydrogeological complexities; issues of distribution, quality, and overexploitation; and environmental dynamics linked with global change. These challenges amount to a security issue, the severity of which increases as geographic scope decreases; global challenges are emerging, while national and subnational challenges are severe in several cases.

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Edited by Claudia Pahl-Wostl, Anik Bhaduri and Joyeeta Gupta

Water security has received increasing attention in the scientific and policy community in recent years. This Handbook covers the wide range of perspectives required to understand water security as a concept guiding water governance and management at different levels and in different regions. It reflects on past, present and future challenges to water security and strategies on how to overcome them. An invaluable resource for scientific scholars, it will also appeal policymakers and practitioners interested in a deeper understanding of this important concept.
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Anik Bhaduri

Water security is connected not only with the concept of sustainable development but has also been defined in the context of conflict prevention based on geopolitical concerns over water availability and its implications for human security. Today there is an increased likelihood of transboundary water conflict which may put the water security of a region at greater risk. In the framework of a basic Heckscher–Ohlin trade model, the chapter examines how water security in a transboundary setting can be achieved through trade policies. The chapter explores the linkage of water allocation to trade of commodities and shows how changes in the trade policies of riparian countries can influence the water resource allocation between them and affect the welfare and income distribution of the countries under free trade and trade restrictions.

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Pedi Obani and Joyeeta Gupta

Water security challenges are mostly covered in the literature on the food and energy nexus. This chapter however adopts a broader conception of water security in relation to lack of access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), and argues that the human rights approach could be instrumental in addressing the drivers that hinder access to WASH. Through policy analysis and literature review the chapter addresses the following research questions: a) What is access to WASH? b) What are the drivers of poor access to WASH? c) What are the multi-level human security implications of the lack of access to WASH? d) What improvements can be made in the post-2015 development agenda to address the drivers and the related human security challenges? The chapter essentially illustrates the need to translate global human rights norms into contextually appropriate operational targets and instruments for policy implementation at the national and local levels.

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Fulco Ludwig, Henk van Schaik, John H. Matthews, Diego Rodriguez, Marloes H.N. Bakker and Patrick Huntjens

This chapter starts out with a description of the main impacts of climate change on water and the needs for adaptation. Subsequently, five different perspectives on the responses to the impacts are discussed. These perspectives include (i) a section on the need to cope with the climate change impacts, paying special attention to decision-making processes and the need for improved economics. The next perspective (ii) presents and discusses the lobbying process that raised the attention to water-related climate adaptation under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations. The chapter continues with (iii) the need to adapt transboundary water agreements to also include climate change impacts. The chapter concludes with two regional cases: one about (iv) the need to adapt transboundary governance in the Mekong and (v) a case showing the usefulness of new tools developed to address the cost of adaptation in the Middle East and the North Africa (MENA) region. Through these different perspectives this chapter introduces the broad-ranging playing field for water security and climate change.

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Claudia Ringler, Tingju Zhu, Sebastian Gruber, Ronan Treguer, Laurent Auguste and Lee Addams

We define water security as current and future access to sufficient water resources for productive uses and economic growth. At withdrawal levels in excess of 40% of available water resources, countries or river basins are considered water scarce, and thus water insecure. We find that in 2010, 36% of the world’s population, 39% of global grain production, and 22% of global GDP are at risk due to water stress. Moreover, under Business-as-usual (BAU), that is, if current policy and investments continue, more than half, or 52% of the global population, 49% of total cereal production, and 45% of GDP will be at risk due to water stress by 2050 with withdrawal levels above 40% of renewable resources. Water and food security are closely interlinked: increased water security also improves global food security and vice versa. As irrigation is, and will remain, the largest single user of freshwater withdrawals, large gains in water security can be made from small water savings in irrigated agriculture. However, productivity improvement in domestic and industrial sectors can also make important contributions in reducing the share of population and GDP at risk of water scarcity and should continue to be pursued.

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Francisco Meza and Christopher A. Scott

Water security implies the access of water in sufficient quantity and of adequate quality to meet societal and ecological needs. From the supply side, traditional water resources management focuses on the characterization and exploitation of surface and groundwater resources. This chapter discusses other sustainable forms of water supply that could improve water security and thus will become increasingly important in water-scarce regions. Increasing supply is considered after options to manage demand (as described in other chapters of this volume). Water harvesting, for instance, has roots in ancient technologies and has been revitalized over the last decades, promoting its use to maximize the use of rainfall resources and ephemeral rivers. Fog harvesting is rather new but offers a great potential in semi-arid regions. Other technologies such as desalination and water reuse, as well their associated management and policy challenges, are discussed. Particularly challenging are the ecological footprints these innovations produce and the energy implications of expanding their adoption. Nevertheless, they offer considerable advantages in contributing to water security in arid regions. The selection of the most appropriate water supply system to ensure the satisfaction of water needs while maintaining ecosystem functioning and social demands is always a challenge that requires sophisticated tools for multi-objective decision making. Here we discuss some of the most salient issues that are involved in the process, classifying them into the three major criteria of sustainability.