This paper aims to inform practitioners of Building with Nature (BwN) about the concepts of uncertainty and how to use this as a strength in the dialogue to come to sustainable solutions for coping with future global change related uncertainties. The choice to implement BwN rather than a traditional ‘grey’ infrastructure solution is often hampered by greater perceived uncertainty in the performance and implementation of Building with Nature. At the same time, the co-benefits of BwN are well documented, and an increasing body of evidence showcases the value and functioning of Building with Nature under both daily and extreme conditions.
This paper outlines how a BwN approach is a suitable method to deal with uncertainties surrounding both the problem and solutions space of water management challenges around the world. It also highlights what types of tools can be used to better frame and handle these uncertainties. The key planning characteristic to manage uncertainty of future water management challenges is adaptivity. BwN is particularly well-suited to confront these new challenges due to the flexibility of the application. The aim should not be to eliminate or minimise dynamics and uncertainty, but rather to formulate plans that ensure system performance under different conditions. Adaptive planning and management approaches help to formulate such flexible and robust strategies and should consider long-term functioning and exogenous impacts on the system.