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This already complex task is then further exacerbated by the predicted impacts of change on the water cycle; through climate change and more direct interventions such as land-use management and urbanisations. Also, many cause and effect relationships between the hydrological and the socio-economic systems, and between hydrology and ecosystems, are not currently well-understood. Thus, there are considerable challenges in identifying notionally optimal strategies for effective water resources management.  For operational purposes vulnerability and resilience are linked to incidents where a system state (e.g. flow, ground water level, pollution concentration, etc.) enters a domain that is considered unsatisfactory (or even bad); for example, too much (flood), too little (drought) or too dirty (water quality).

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