Nothing characterizes adaptive management better than the call to embrace uncertainty, and to be proactive in the design of better policies to avoid unpleasant surprises. Firstly, this means that uncertainty of all forms is acknowledged, and its consequences explored. Secondly, by taking on the challenges this uncertainty poses, we can take full advantage of the opportunities for better analysis, robust and flexible policy design, and efficient learning institutions. Finally, the implementation of adaptive water management (AWM) provides greater resilience in the face of those unexpected conditions and uncontrollable, possibly irreversible changes, which inevitably may give rise to huge negative impacts on both ecosystems and society. Accepting this, we need to consider the measurable outputs and outcomes that research and policy are supposed to deliver.