Building Resilience through Water: Water Security Journal



Published: April 2020

This content was originally published on The Resilience Shift website. The Resilience Shift, a 5-year programme supported by Lloyd’s Register Foundation and hosted by Arup, transitioned at the end of 2021 to become Resilience Rising. You can read more about The Resilience Shift’s journey and the transition to Resilience Rising here.

The Resilience Shift is delighted to announce the launch of a Water Security Journal Special Issue: Building Resilience through Water that offers a solutions-focused exploration of how to navigate our changing climate and uncertain future.

Find out more about the project in this feature.


To thrive under climate change, humanity faces two urgent imperatives: sustaining an earth system with a suitable environment; and adapting human systems to change, thereby building resilience to incremental stresses and to rapid onset disasters. Fresh water is vital to achieving both. Water is a defining element of human and natural systems, underpinning their diversity, distribution, and productivity. Shifting patterns of water in space and time will define key pathways for adaptation to climate change. This Special Issue examines the thesis that the challenges inherent in managing water offers a window into the broader, complex challenge of designing and managing for the resilience of human systems. We consider what is necessary for water resilience and how human system resilience may be charted and navigated through water. A conceptual framework articulates this central thesis, examining the nature of water resilience and its relation to water-dependent human systems. A portfolio of applied research further explores this proposition, including modeling, metrics and applications to water systems, infrastructure, cities, energy systems and to the water cycle at regional and planetary scale. Human dimensions of adapting to global change and building resilience are explored in a related essay.