The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

AGWA Participating in SNAPP Project on Connections Between Land Use Management and Downstream Flows

This guest blog was written by Kari Vigerstol, Director of Water Security Science and Innovation at the Nature Conservancy.

AGWA will be participating as an implementation partner in a two-year Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP) project that will explore the connections between land use management and downstream flows. This work is critical for increasing our understanding of the scale of impact we can have on mitigating high and low flows through conservation activities such as forest protection, reforestation, agricultural best management practices and others. The driving question that the working group will address is: to what extent, and under what circumstances, can source water protection activities be expected to produce meaningful baseflow, groundwater recharge, and flood impacts, both under current and future climate conditions? The project is being jointly led by The Nature Conservancy1, the Natural Capital Project and Conservation International, with implementing partners AGWA and Forest Trends.

The proposed work is distinguished by a focus on ‘meaningful impacts’ from the perspective of different beneficiary groups: downstream (typically urban) communities and major water users, upstream (typically rural) communities, and native aquatic ecosystems and communities. The project will produce outputs targeted at decision makers and funders who are critical drivers of source water protection programs, and at on-the-ground practitioners who are charged with designing and implementing such programs. By bringing together world-class scientists and highly regarded beneficiary experts, the project intends to bridge technical knowledge and practical application to produce outputs aimed at helping source water protection programs set informed water quantity objectives and in doing so develop more effective programs and ultimately achieve greater success.

SNAPP is a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California, Santa Barbara aimed at creating a world where protecting and promoting nature works in concert with sustainable development and improving human well-being. SNAPP provides funding, neutral meeting spaces, and comprehensive travel, computational and logistical support to enable a team of experts from a diversity of disciplines to convene around a specific global challenge at the intersection of conservation and human well-being. This support allows working groups to quickly synthesize existing knowledge about a problem and deliver evidence-based, scalable solutions that can be adopted by governments, international business, and global NGOs.

This project will commence in January 2018 and run through December 2019. John Matthews, Coordinator and Co-founder of AGWA, will be serving as a core team member for this project, providing technical expertise and connecting this work to projects and programs at AGWA. AGWA's efforts on this project will help to expand its recent decision support work around climate change adaptation. As an Implementing Partner AGWA aims to integrate and promote the results of this collaboration worldwide for water managers and practice-oriented decision makers through the network's existing and future channels.

1 This project is funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through Grant GBMF7100 to The Nature Conservancy to support the work of SNAPP.
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