Tackling water scarcity – part 1: addressing the effects of climate change

The threat of water shortage is quite common in Crans-Montana-Sierre, a region in the Swiss Alps. In the future, the situation might even get worse. This calls for new strategies and management practices: an ideal case for transdisciplinary approaches.

Crans-Montana is one of the driest areas of Switzerland. Located in the Alps, it has faced several periods in which water became scarce. The problem is expected to intensify as climate change and various demographic developments take effect. The search for a more sustainable water governance involves a group that combines scientists from various disciplines, as well as stakeholders from non-academic backgrounds.

Transdisciplinary research offers a way to co-produce the knowledge necessary for solving such problems. However, the case of water scarcity in Crans-Montana required novel research designs, methods, and approaches. This was one of the challenges the MontanAqua team faced as it started to tackle the complex situation.

As a result, the team designed and implemented an innovative and participatory process. It allowed all parties to share their knowledge. Jointly, they generated sustainability visions. In addition, the MontanAqua team developed a tool for assessment and communication: the sustainability wheel.

In this video, Flurina Schneider introduces the complex case. She considers the main issues, explains how the team got different actors to cooperate, and gives you a first glimpse at the sustainability wheel.

What do you think were the biggest obstacles the MontanAqua team had to overcome and why? Write down your thoughts.

Educator: Prof. Dr. Flurina Schneider