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Water 2016, 8(3), 97; doi:10.3390/w8030097

Adaptive Governance of Water Resources Shared with Indigenous Peoples: The Role of Law

1
College of Law and Waters of the West Program, University of Idaho, 875 Perimeter Dr., Moscow, ID 83844-2321, USA
2
College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana, 32 Campus Drive, Missoula, MT 59812, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Sharon B. Megdal, Susanna Eden and Eylon Shamir
Received: 7 January 2016 / Revised: 29 February 2016 / Accepted: 3 March 2016 / Published: 11 March 2016
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Abstract

Adaptive governance is an emergent phenomenon resulting from the interaction of locally driven collaborative efforts with a hierarchy of governmental regulation and management and is thought to be capable of navigating social−ecological change as society responds to the effects of climate change. The assertion of Native American water rights on highly developed water systems in North America has triggered governance innovations that resemble certain aspects of adaptive governance, and have emerged to accommodate the need for Indigenous water development and restoration of cultural and ecological resources. Similar innovations are observed in the assertion of Indigenous voices in Australia. This presents an opportunity to analyze the emergence of adaptive processes within complex legal systems. We explore the role of law in locally driven innovation in this context, concluding that any system of governance that requires greater flexibility will only be viewed as legitimate, and thus succeed, if attention is given not only to adaptive capacity, but also to aspects of good governance. Through examples of the assertion of Indigenous rights, we illustrate critical links between adaptive capacity in water management, good governance, and law. View Full-Text
Keywords: adaptive governance; legitimacy; water law; water management; stakeholder processes; Native American rights; Aboriginal rights; Indigenous rights adaptive governance; legitimacy; water law; water management; stakeholder processes; Native American rights; Aboriginal rights; Indigenous rights
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Cosens, B.; Chaffin, B.C. Adaptive Governance of Water Resources Shared with Indigenous Peoples: The Role of Law. Water 2016, 8, 97.

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