|The authors present a new method for the study of socio-hydrological systems. They claim their method provides a way to detect patterns in cases studies that can be connected to general patterns that have been described in the literature. While a research method that covers this kind of connections may be useful, I am still not convinced by the way it is presented in this paper. To me it seems that the description and analysis of the case study in this paper is not very different from other case study descriptions. The analysis connecting the different hydrological and social patterns could be more detailed and the patterns of adapt and fight that the authors detect seem to still be very general. If the method is a way to fill the gap between patterns found in case studies and patterns described with generic models I would expect the analysis of the patterns in this case study to be a bit more detailed.|
In the introduction the authors state that: “As in any attempt to produce insights that transcend specific cases, methods of abstraction from reality to find causal relationships and stylised equations 15 (generalisation) are sometimes difficult to reconcile with more detailed representations of what is happening in a specific location (Blair & Buytaert, 2016). While enabling global comparison by using data sets from different locations, generic models unavoidably foreground some elements or dimensions of flood-society dynamics to the neglect of others (Magliocca et al., 2018).” Is your representation of these three spaces as either fight or adapt or a combination not just as simple as the ones described with generic models?
In the abstract the authors present their study as: “Our example of the use of SHS shows that the concept draws attention to how historical patterns in the co-evolution of social behaviour, natural processes and technological interventions give rise to different landscapes, different styles of living, and different ways of organizing livelihoods.” I do not really find these patterns of co-evolution in the descriptions of the case study. Instead to me it is a description of the separate social, economic, hydrologic, etc findings, and I miss an attempt to combine these to determine what different co-evolution patterns can be found in this particular case study. For example, the people in SHS2 have a higher income than in SHS1 and they seem to experience floods the least frequent, but still they have the highest amount of houses made of earthen floor, wood and bamboo mats. Why is that? Is it because there is a different pattern of fight and adaptation in this SHS than in the others? Also the damages in SHS2 seem to be lower than in the other SHS (with the exception of the flood in 1988), is this because the people there are already poorer and thus there is less to damage? Or because they are better adapted and are able to reduce the damages because of flooding? People in SHS3 have more experience with migration than in SHS1, but they flood less frequently, is there some explanation for that? These are the kind of connections I would expect from an analysis of “how historical patterns in the co-evolution of social behaviour, natural processes and technological interventions give rise to different landscapes, different styles of living, and different ways of organizing livelihoods.”
I would suggest to the authors to either rephrase their approach or application of SHS in a way that it indeed adds something new to the analysis of a case study (which I am still not convinced it does now) or to drop the concept of SHS and focus on the case study itself.