The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

Can climate change be a personal crisis as well as an institutional or technical one?

This guest blog is written by Ingrid Timboe, a member of the AGWA Secretariat.
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Born in the 1980s, I grew up during a time of increasing climate awareness as the concept of human-induced climate change moved out of obscurity and into the mainstream. I have no trouble believing what the science tells us: that global warming is real, it’s here, and it will continue to impact our planet in varying ways for decades if not centuries. But it wasn’t until a few years ago, listening to a piece of music for solo piano entitled “Elegy for the Arctic” by Italian composer and pianist Ludovico Einaudi, that I fully connected with the reality of climate change and what it means for us and for our planet. As I listened and later watched the video of Einaudi playing this beautiful composition floating in front of Norway’s Wahlenbergbreen glacier, I felt profound sorrow for what is happening. At the same time, his music moved me to feel an even deeper commitment to keep working.

Nearly everything about climate change – from the name itself to the global phenomena it generates – is maddeningly complex, broad, and impersonal. For example, it is rather difficult to elicit strong emotions or personal connection with words and phrases like “CO₂ concentration,” “mitigation,” or “general circulation models.” But strong emotions are precisely what is required to respond to the very real and present threats associated with a changing climate.
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NAIAD Project Presenting at European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2018

AGWA and SIWI are part of an ongoing EU project called Nature Insurance Value: Assessment and Demonstration (NAIAD). The project is coordinated by the Duero River Basin Authority and funded under the European Horizon 2020 Program. The goal of the project is to operationalize the insurance value of ecosystems to reduce the human and economic cost of risks associated with water (floods and droughts) by developing and testing - with key insurers and municipalities - the concepts, tools, applications and instruments (business models) necessary for its mainstreaming.

NAIAD will be presenting at the EGU General Assembly this April in Vienna, Austria. Representatives of the NAIAD project will give a presentation and answer questions as part of Session HS5.4 - "Nature Based Solutions for hydrological extremes and water resource management."

For more information about EGU General Assembly 2018, visit https://www.egu2018.eu/. To learn more about NAIAD, visit http://www.naiad2020.eu/ or check them out on Facebook. Read More...
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Water is "The Connector" in the Climate Change Challenge

OOSKAnews recently conducted a video interview with AGWA's Coordinator, John Matthews, as a follow-up to an OOSKAnews Voices column by Dr. Matthews on COP23. This video interview explores these matters further, with focus on the past and future roadmaps for increasing recognition of the importance of adaptation in global climate considerations, and the place of water as a "connector" across climate change discourse.

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AGWA Updates: February 2018

We have just released the latest issue of AGWA Updates, our internal e-newsletter. You can access the February issue by clicking here. You'll want to check out this issue to learn about the incredible amount of activity taking place within the AGWA network. Plus, as always it is full of the latest news related to climate change, climate finance, policy, and much more. It's well worth your time!

To subscribe to our newsletter, sign up here Read More...
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New Episode of #ClimateReady Podcast | Are We Tapped Out? How Urban Water Utilities Are Adapting to New Impacts

You can now listen to the latest episode of the ClimateReady Podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, or AGWA's Knowledge Platform.
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Billions of people worldwide depend on municipal water utilities to deliver clean drinking water and treat their waste. There’s a reason that the word “utility” in English means both an agency or business that provides public services and something that performs consistently, even automatically. What happens when the utility of a utility is under threat? Water utilities are arguably what makes modern cities possible, supplying clean water, treating sewage and industrial waste, securing urban areas as centers of economic growth rather than as cesspools of ill health and disease. Consider Cape Town, South Africa. A city often compared with San Francisco in the US for its optimism, culture, and lifestyle. Cape Town is about a month away from day zero -- the term they use for when their reservoir will absolutely run out of water.

In this episode of ClimateReady, we talk to civil engineer Divindy Grant to learn about a project led by Mott MacDonald to develop resilience standards for water utilities. Tune in to hear more about the ways in which these water service providers are working to ensure that taps continue to flow and toilets continue to flush even as floods, droughts, and sea level rise become more commonplace.
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Make sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave a review to tell us how we're doing! Happy listening! Read More...
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Keep AGWA at the Top of Your Facebook News Feed!

We hope that you're following AGWA's Facebook page to get the latest news from us as well as climate-centric stories and articles. If not, make sure to check us out at https://www.facebook.com/Alliance4Water/ or follow us using @Alliance4Water. To make sure you keep getting updates from AGWA, please see the important announcement below.

You may have heard that Facebook is making some changes to its algorithm. Here's how to update your News Feed Preferences in 3 easy steps:
  1. Go to AGWA’s page on Facebook
  2. Click “Follow” or “Following”
  3. Select “See First”

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AGWA’s Policy Team: The Year Ahead

The AGWA policy agenda for 2018 is quickly filling up. Based on the successes of the previous few years in global policy, we are making some significant but subtle shifts in our work for this year.

Especially for the UNFCCC, we have done a lot of awareness raising — seeking water partners willing to stand with us to tell stories of the linkages between water and climate change, as well as partnerships within the UNFCCC and national signatories. This work has been critical as well as dramatically successful. We clearly need to keep pursuing this path, but by itself awareness raising is no longer sufficient.

Beginning in late 2017, we began pivoting to describe more specific recommendations for how the UNFCCC can receive “plumbing”: which institutions, issues, and processes within the UNFCCC need resilient water knowledge, and how do we move towards building support and then implementing these recommendations? In many ways, this also means that we need to move outside of the comfort zone of other water-centered organizations.

For instance, urban resilience, disaster risk reduction (DRR), forestry and agriculture, energy and nature-based solutions are all growing areas of emphasis in global policy. How do we ensure that water knowledge is effectively represented in these areas? We must continue to cultivate a greater network of partners outside the traditional water community and we are pursuing ways to work more strategically, whether by participating in more major non-water meetings, such as the upcoming Adaptation Futures conference in Cape Town, or by partnering with organizations like the Red Cross or a broad set of the finance community to scale-up the impact of our work. 

This expanded focus also means that we need the full network to be involved to represent AGWA and to jointly articulate these issues and forge the necessary partnerships. Please volunteer and collaborate!
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Climate Change + Emoji = Climoji

Climate change communication is notoriously difficult, but a group of artists and students have come up with an innovative and thought-provoking new way to connect people to climate change in the 21st century: climate change emojis, or ‘Climojis.’ Designed by artists Marina Zurkow and Viniyata Pany with the help of Zurkow’s students at New York University, Climojis are a set of downloadable climate change-themed sms stickers for android and iphone that are designed to be used in text messages to spark conversations about climate change.
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