Articles | Volume 369
Proc. IAHS, 369, 129–134, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/piahs-369-129-2015
Proc. IAHS, 369, 129–134, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/piahs-369-129-2015

  11 Jun 2015

11 Jun 2015

Droughts and governance impacts on water scarcity: an~analysis in the Brazilian semi-arid

A. C. S. Silva1, C. O. Galvão1, and G. N. S. Silva2 A. C. S. Silva et al.
  • 1Federal University of Campina Grande, Campina Grande, 58429-900, Brazil
  • 2Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, 50670-901, Brazil

Abstract. Extreme events are part of climate variability. Dealing with variability is still a challenge that might be increased due to climate change. However, impacts of extreme events are not only dependent on their variability, but also on management and governance. In Brazil, its semi-arid region is vulnerable to extreme events, especially droughts, for centuries. Actually, other Brazilian regions that have been mostly concerned with floods are currently also experiencing droughts. This article evaluates how a combination between climate variability and water governance might affect water scarcity and increase the impacts of extreme events on some regions. For this evaluation, Ostrom's framework for analyzing social-ecological systems (SES) was applied. Ostrom's framework is useful for understanding interactions between resource systems, governance systems and resource users. This study focuses on social-ecological systems located in a drought-prone region of Brazil. Two extreme events were selected, one in 1997–2000, when Brazil's new water policy was very young, and the other one in 2012–2015. The analysis of SES considering Ostrom's principle "Clearly defined boundaries" showed that deficiencies in water management cause the intensification of drought's impacts for the water users. The reasons are more related to water management and governance problems than to drought event magnitude or climate change. This is a problem that holdup advances in dealing with extreme events.

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Short summary
The analysis of Ostrom’s framework for understanding Social-Ecological Systems applied in a drought-prone region of Brazil showed that deficiencies in water management cause the intensification of drought’s impacts for the water users. The reasons are more related to water management and governance problems than to drought event magnitude or climate change. This is a problem that holdup advances in dealing with extreme events.