“The future is not what it used to be.”
Sustainability is one of those fancy words used on daily basis by the scientific community. But in a constantly and rapidly changing world, the concept of sustainability and sustainable development requires new thinking. This implies that although we may be tempted to isolate the problem and try to solve it from the perspective of water sustainability in a closed environment, the reality demands for a paradigm shift. In an excellent editorial by P. Hjorth and K. Madani (2014) the authors argue that the sustainability is about the whole society (systems of systems) and not about an individual sector (water, ecosystems, energy, society or economy). And I cannot agree more.
The research carried out by our group is aimed at advancing tools and evaluation methods to improve understanding of adaptive measures and opportunities for sustainable development under climate change. We approach the problem by looking at interactions between different resources (water, energy and food) and processes: (i) water, land and vegetation assets; (ii) simultaneous hazards (e.g. floods and fires); and (iii) subsurface and urban infrastructure systems. Through experimental and modelling work we are hoping to close links between interdependent processes and develop resources trade-off strategy for water supply security, which will provide solutions to society’s challenge to adapt to the future whatever it may be.