Water Policy And Governance Networks: A Pathway To Enhance Resilience Toward Climate Change

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Natural resources governance is key to enhancing resilience toward climate change and strengthening socioecological systems in light of future uncertainties. Overlapping jurisdictions and lack of clarity in the lines of authority reduce the efficiency of environmental policies and governance, jeopardizing the conservation and sustainable use of resources. With the forecast of longer droughts, extreme precipitation patterns, faster runoff, and slower water table recharge over the coming years, water governance becomes an impellent issue. To understand the risks posed by water scarcity and water regulations, a case study was conducted of Oklahoma state-level water policies and governance. A content analysis of water policies and a network analysis of water governance was used to determine how Oklahoma experiences features of fragmented and adaptive governance within its natural resource governance structure. Data analysis reveals that Oklahoma water governance experiences multiple forms of fragmentation while also showing features of an adaptive network. Such adaptive features make Oklahoma's water governance network more resilient than forecasted. Identifying gaps and understanding how a governance system experiences fragmentation can help policy makers develop strategies to enhance the adaptive features of water governance, thus preparing for risk and disasters related to water scarcity and climate variability.

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