Keywords: water management, adaptive management, paradigm shift, China, climate change, farmer response, farming, agriculture, rural areas, water governance, governance structures, eco water management
Climate change and farmers response in rural China
Important external drivers in China such as the rapid economic growth, urbanisation, climate change and a growing awareness of environmental degradation have contributed to a shift in governance structures in general and in water governance structures in particular. These external drivers result in shifting governance, which is also shifting because of more decentralisation, involvement of NGOs and CBOs in China and new opportunities for initiatives for farmers at the local level. These developments have created an enabling environment for farmers to take more initiatives, because they are relatively left behind and need to defend their own interests. In this contribution the economic incentives which play a role in these developments are analysed. Using the multi level governance concept, we will indicate the importance of existing governance structures and analyse the emerging initiatives identified in our research in the Yunnan Province in Southern China. We conclude that farmer's reactions can be classified as passive or active and the active reactions can be interpreted as showing agency, used to advance their own solutions, in a situation where they are not involved in current governance structures, which are not always considered to be effective and as such this is an example of adaptive eco water management.