Looking beyond glaciers to understand mountain water security

Fabian Drenkhan*, Wouter Buytaert, Jonathan D. Mackay, Nicholas E. Barrand, David M. Hannah, Christian Huggel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Changes in the mountain cryosphere impact the water security of downstream societies and the resilience of water-dependent ecosystems and their services. However, assessing mountain water security requires better understanding of the complex interaction between glacial meltwater and coupled human–natural systems. In this context, we call for a refocusing from glacio-hydrological monitoring and modelling to a more integrated social-ecological perspective of the wider catchment hydrology. This shift requires locally relevant knowledge-production strategies and the integration of such knowledge into a collaborative science–policy–community framework. This approach, combined with hydrological risk assessment, can support the development of robust, locally tailored and transformational adaptation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Sustainability
Early online date7 Nov 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was developed within the framework of the Newton–Paulet Fund-based RAHU project, which is implemented by CONCYTEC Peru and UKRI (NERC grant no. NE/S013210/1). J.D.M. publishes with the permission of the Executive Director, British Geological Survey (UKRI). We would like to thank C. Jackson, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, for the professional design of Figs. , and .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Springer Nature Limited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Food Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Urban Studies
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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