Territorial design and climate change: innovating to adapt to an uncertain water resource

By François Bertrand, Sandrine Petit, Marie-Hélène Vergote, Jean-Marc Brayer

How can local collectives for water governance appropriate the issues of adaptation to water resources modified by climate change? The “Climate workshops” held on two territories in Burgundy were observed. Referring to the methods of «territorial design», they gathered local actors and researchers to introduce a collective debate on the adaptation of the water management according to the climate change effects. They represented an unusual participation time, compared to Local Water Commissions which are, in France, the institutional framework of the local water governance. The adoption of an interpretative mode allowed knowledge circulation and hybridization between scientists and local stakeholders. This action-research provides lessons on ways of establishing a dialogue among scientists and non-scientists, the implementation of territorial design methods to deal with uncertainty and a better understanding of representations of adaptation for water management.JEL Codes: Q2, Q5


  • territorial design
  • climate change
  • adaptation
  • action-research
  • water supply
  • Burgundy
  • watershed
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