The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

Essay

The Needs of the Adaptation Community

This guest blog was written by AGWA member Benjamin Denjean (Icatalist - Beijing Forestry University).

Thousands of professionals assembled to present their work, exchange ideas, and try to decipher the best way forward. This was the 2016 Adaptation Futures Conference — a magnet for climate adaptation professionals to feel of where the winds of change will blow next. But as the amount and variety of information forbid any real wrap up of the event, it is valuable to pause for a moment and reflect on the conference participants and the evolution of our common jargon.

As was highlighted at the opening keynote speeches, adaptation needs to shift to the implementation realm. But who will carry on this task? In the myriad of methodologies and frameworks presented, most were illustrated by on the ground data, gathered usually by the researchers or NGOs that developed those tools. And here we arrive to what appears to be the Gordian knot of the adaptation community — participants all understand the needs to move forward (as ecological professionals already understood the power of Ecosystem Services thinking) but they still evolve in a closed circle. Indeed, finance of all those innovations still comes from two main sources: research funding and international institutions. While those were crucial for the development phase of the sector, neither of them is fitted to mainstream innovation. Instead, they are best suited to demonstrate potential through pilot projects.
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Guest Blog | Wetland Restoration improves livelihoods in developing cities

Wetland Restoration improves livelihoods in developing cities
by Rob Cadmus (Ramsar Convention Secretariat), Chris Percival (The South Pole Group), and Ania Grobicki (Acting Secretary General, Ramsar Convention Secretariat)

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Much of our increasingly urban world takes access to clean water for granted, viewing it as an inexhaustible resource. Yet today, hundreds of millions of people will go without clean water and one out of three people will not have access to proper sanitation (WHO & UNICEF, 2015). In 2010, more urban dwellers were without access to water services than in 2000 (De Castro Zoratto & Ivins, 2015), and it is estimated that by 2050 the global demand for water will increase by 55% (WWAP, 2015). Meeting basic water needs will continue to be a challenge.

As people have migrated from rural areas to urban centers in hope of jobs and education, cities have expanded outwards and in many cases have degraded the waterways and wetlands that surround them, resulting in polluted water with the worst conditions felt by the poor and disadvantaged. This cycle of expansion and degradation is seen throughout the world, but is particularly striking in some of the least developed countries where informal settlements and slums have sprawled faster than basic services. Nearly 900 million people will live in slums by 2020 (WHO & UN-Habitat, 2010), and in developing countries 90% of sewage is discharged untreated into water bodies (Corcoran et al., 2010). In many of these informal settlements, pollution and open sewers contaminate water, resulting in disease and deaths. The UN estimates that approximately 3.5 million people die each year as a result of inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (UN Water, 2013). Further, these populations are often the most vulnerable to natural disasters, food shortages, and the impacts of climate change. Read More...
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Guest Blog | Water Management and Decision-Making: CONCLUSION

Competing Needs and the Decision-Making Process:
A Travel Blog on Water Management in the Western US - CONCLUSION
by Steve Moncaster


Steve Moncaster is the Supply Demand Strategy Manager for Anglian Water, a regional water and water recycling company in the east of England. Mr. Moncaster is travelling in the US on a grant from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. The Trust was established in memory of Sir Winston and is dedicated to exchanging ideas and best practice between different peoples and cultures.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Anglian Water, the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, or AGWA.


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The past week was my last in the US (I am writing this on a train to London). I spent those final days in Arizona and Nevada meeting with staff from the Central Arizona Project, the Southern Nevada Water Authority, the Arizona Department of Water Resources and the City of Phoenix Water Services Department. My discussions with water managers and stakeholders focused mainly on the management and use of water in the lower Colorado basin, including the emergence of a “structural deficit” (the possibility of shortages in the supply from Lake Mead and measures which are being implemented to manage the related risks). Read More...
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Guest Blog | Water Management and Decision-Making: PART THREE

Competing Needs and the Decision-Making Process:
A Travel Blog on Water Management in the Western US - PART THREE
by Steve Moncaster


Steve Moncaster is the Supply Demand Strategy Manager for Anglian Water, a regional water and water recycling company in the east of England. Mr. Moncaster is travelling in the US on a grant from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. The Trust was established in memory of Sir Winston and is dedicated to exchanging ideas and best practice between different peoples and cultures.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Anglian Water, the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, or AGWA.


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It has been yet another busy week full of meetings across the west. In the last week I have had meetings with the USGS and the Bureau of Reclamation in Colorado and a public utility in Portland, Oregon. The discussions in Colorado covered lessons learned from the current drought in California and the Southwest. We also had productive discussions about the Colorado Basin study and issues related to the adaptation of ecological systems to the effects of a changing climate. In Portland, we spent time examining the lessons we could learn from past and present collaborations between the water supply agencies in the metropolitan area. Read More...
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Guest Blog | Water Management and Decision-Making: PART TWO

Competing Needs and the Decision-Making Process:
A Travel Blog on Water Management in the Western US - PART TWO
by Steve Moncaster


Steve Moncaster is the Supply Demand Strategy Manager for Anglian Water, a regional water and water recycling company in the east of England. Mr. Moncaster is travelling in the US on a grant from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. The Trust was established in memory of Sir Winston and is dedicated to exchanging ideas and best practice between different peoples and cultures.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Anglian Water, the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, or AGWA.


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I am now past the halfway point of my journey throughout the U.S. In my travels I have done my best to find out more about the competing needs for water, the roles and desires of stakeholders, and the multiple facets of the decision-making process surrounding sustainable water management. My trip has taken me far and wide, and I have met with experts and stakeholders from all walks of life. Below is a glimpse into the most recent part of this journey. Read More...
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Guest Blog | Wetlands: The Hidden Resource for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation



Wetlands: The Hidden Resource for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation
by Chris Perceval (left), Head of Strategy and Partnerships at the Ramsar Convention, and Rob Cadmus (right), Manager, Investing in Natural Infrastructure at the Ramsar Convention

The Convention on Wetlands, called the Ramsar Convention, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. The Ramsar Convention and its Contracting Parties commit to work towards the wise use of all the wetlands and water resources in their territory, through national plans, policies and legislation, management actions and public education. In this article the authors discuss the importance and hidden value of wetlands as a resource in both climate mitigation and adaptation.

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Wetlands – areas of land that meet water – are among the most productive and valuable ecosystems. They are fundamentally important for supporting sustainable development and combatting climate change. Between now and the end of the year, the world’s governments will meet to discuss the global agendas for both sustainable development and climate change. They would do well to remember the contribution that these critical ecosystems can make. Read More...
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Guest Blog | Water Management and Decision-Making

Water Management in the Western US – Competing Needs and the Decision-Making Process
by Steve Moncaster

Steve Moncaster is the Supply Demand Strategy Manager for Anglian Water, a regional water and water recycling company in the east of England. Mr. Moncaster is travelling in the US on a grant from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. The Trust was established in memory of Sir Winston and is dedicated to exchanging ideas and best practice between different peoples and cultures.

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The purpose of my visit is to meet with water resource professionals in the western states to discuss current and emerging issues related to the management, conservation and use of water resources. My aim is to learn how the competing needs for water are being managed and how different stakeholders are coming together to develop reliable, affordable and sustainable systems of water supply. From the lessons I learn, I hope to improve the way that strategic water resource planning is undertaken in the UK. This includes increasing stakeholder participation in the key decision-making processes and enhancing the quality and robustness of the resulting strategies and plans. Read More...
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Building Water Security Through Green Infrastructure

Science magazine is publishing a series of six Policy Forum essays on water to coincide with leading annual water conference, World Water Week. The 3-part series of paired essays contrasts perspectives on water governance (local vs global), monitoring water (satellite vs on the ground), and green infrastructure (feasibility for emerging economies). An essay advocating for the wider deployment of green infrastructure was co-authored by John Matthews and others from AGWA. Dr. Margaret Palmer, head of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), served as lead author for the essay. You can see the article online via the Science website or directly download it here. The counterpoint to this essay on green infrastructure is also available to download here. Read More...
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