Limits to adaptation. Climate change adaptation in the Coorong, Murray Mouth and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert

Authors: Catherine Gross, Jamie Pittock, C. Max Finlayson and Michael C. Geddes
Year: 2011

This report identifies and documents limits to adaptation and adaptation pathways for theCoorong Wetlands. The Coorong and Lakes Region offers critical lessons for adapting to climate changebecause it is at the end of the iconic River Murray, and comprises a large and complexwetland system of international environmental importance by the coast. It is the traditionalcountry of the Ngarrindjeri Nation and supports vibrant communities. The Region has beensubject to continual environmental change. Key ‘limits’ to climate change adaptation in the Region were identified, concerning the availability of water and arrangements of water sharing, a lack of institutional capacity to create trust and effective working relationships between communities, governments and scientists, and an inability to learn from the past and consider all perspectives for future adaptation options. The primary adaptation strategy that would maximize environmental and socio-economic benefits in the Region under all conditions is to increase environmental flows from the River Murray, and to a lesser extent, the South Australian catchments. This report recommends climate change adaptation be mainstreamed into water management, development of a long-term management plan considering both Murray-Darling Basin inflows and ongoing climate change impacts, effective implementation of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and the implementation and assessment of a number of new adaptation measures. This report forms parts of a 7-part report NCCARF series that looks at the limits to adaptation in different locations.

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