Water resilience

Understanding and managing Sweden’s exposure to water resilience risks in the Anthropocene

Sven Hoppe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Led by Lan Wang Erlandsson, this project aims at to understand and contribute to the identification and management of Sweden’s exposure to severe and widespread loss of water resilience in the Anthropocene. Through food imports, trade networks, and Earth system connectivity, Sweden both drives and imports global water resilience risks. Despite advances in water resilience and network analyses, water risks remain unaccounted for in current approaches to risk assessment and constitute a serious knowledge and governance gap. This research project aims to address this gap by contributing towards Sweden’s capacity to manage or adapt to its dependence on global water resilience. By Anthropocene water resilience risks, we refer to water-driven changes in ecosystems and production systems that are non-linear, persistent, and difficult to reverse (regime shifts), water-driven extreme events that occur simultaneously (compounding and synchronous risks), and water-driven impacts that may interact and propagate across regions and continents through trade or atmospheric networks (teleconnections).

To deliver on the overarching goal, we build on our previous work to address the following objectives:

  1. Mapping Sweden’s dependence on dynamically interacting global water resilience risk under climate change [WP1]
  2. Identifying strategic opportunities for Sweden to mitigate future global water resilience risks through climate mitigation, land management, and dietary shifts [WP2]
  3. Understanding national policy implications and identifying key stakeholder for Sweden’s navigation of water resilience risks [WP3]
  4. Transdisciplinary co-development of policy integration solutions with stakeholder focus group, dissemination of research results, and project coordination [WP4]

The conceptual and methodological innovations will be generalisable, and could be expanded in scope and applied to administrative units beyond Sweden. The approach will be developed with particular attention to the possibility of up-scaling it to other European countries, being Europe a net importer of delocalized water risk.

The research team is lead by Lan Wang Erlandsson as the PI of the project, and a stellar group of collaborators including Örjan Bodin, Michele-Lee More, Line Gordon (SRC), Sara Constantino (Northeastern University), Therese Rudebeck (Stockholm International Water Institute - SIWI), Marta Tuninetti (Politecnico di Torino), and Johan Rockström (PIK); plus three PhD students soon to be hired. Juan will be leading WP1. The project is supported by the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development (FORMAS).

Juan C. Rocha

Juan investigates critical transitions: from regime shifts in ecosystems to collective action in society.