A meta-model of socio-hydrological phenomena for sustainable water management
A. Mijic, L. Liu, J. O'Keffe et al
Nature Sustainability
School of History and Geography

Overemphasizing technological solutions in water management without considering the broader systems perspective can result in unintended consequences. For example, infrastructure interventions for drought adaptation may inadvertently increase flood risk, illustrating a socio-hydrological phenomenon. Here we propose a systems meta-model that reveals the complex mechanisms and feedback loops underlying the critical human–water interactions. We show that the unintended outcomes of water management decisions result from the lack of integration and coordination of the feedback loops. The insights highlight the importance of considering environmental capacity in water management, as well as the necessity for integrated assessment and coordinated solutions for long-term sustainability.