Sunday April 26th, 2020 Water Blog

Resilience 2/7


The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

 (1834) By Samuel Taylor Coleridge


Water, water, every where, 

And all the boards did shrink; 

Water, water, every where, 

Nor any drop to drink. 


Resilience is an ecosystem’s ability to recover from disturbance and return to equilibrium. [1]


According to the Global Water Forum: The effectiveness of a resilient infrastructure depends upon its ability to anticipate, absorb, adapt to, and/or rapidly recover from a potentially disruptive event.[2] In terms of climate, communities must become resilient to shocks from floods and droughts that are now occurring more frequently.

In the long term water scarcity will be a significant concern for areas that currently don’t see water supply as a problem.

Johan Rockström [3] tells us that “pumped too fast, diverted too much, pushed too hard, water systems grow vulnerable. They can’t cope with what were once outliers–depletion, contamination, millennial droughts, 1,000 year floods– that are all too often becoming the norm.” He recommends that there needs to be more redundancy and flexibility  – with less focus on optimisation – in relation to water.  On a daily basis we in the greater Dublin area are using water at levels very close to the rate of supply. This can be seen in the updates given by Irish Water daily.[4] This does not allow much scope to absorb or adapt to a major disruption.

[1] Carpenter, S., Walker, B., Anderies, J. et al. From Metaphor to Measurement: Resilience of What to What?. Ecosystems 4, 765–781 (2001).




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