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Links between Floods and Other Water Issues in the Himalayan and Tibetan Plateau Region

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The Himalayan and Tibetan region and adjacent plains are highly flood-prone, causing massive damage in both urban and rural areas. While this is well known and moderately well studied, we contend that floods are connected to other water issues in this region and hence should not be analyzed in isolation. We use influence diagrams to present initial hypotheses concerning possible cause-effect links between key variables of the wider system. The links emphasize a need to take a much broader than usual view to minimize the unintended consequences of governance interventions, and to avoid worsening already highly dangerous situations. The governance challenges revealed by such a view are immense, but the large-scale framework presented here indicates a need for a collaborative, cross-sectoral approach to adaptive governance. While some of what is suggested in this paper is geopolitically unrealizable at the moment, the discussion is offered as a guide to future planning.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2015

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