The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

From the ‘What?’ to the ‘How?' in the Water-Energy Nexus: Challenges, Opportunities And Lessons Learned

Recently the Baker Institute welcomed Diego Rodriguez, senior economist at the World Bank and team task leader for Thirsty Energy, to discuss those efforts with a focus on the existing challenges, opportunities and lessons learned in the implementation of a nexus approach for governments and the private sector.

During his presentation, Dr. Rodriguez discussed the reasons why combined water and energy management remains an important area for research and policy design. Many parts of the globe already experience significant water and energy shortages — more than 780 million people still lack access to potable water and more than 1.3 billion people do not have access to electricity. In light of these issues, the World Bank launched Thirsty Energy in January 2014, an initiative to address challenges presented by energy and water resource planning around the world. Over the last two years, the World Bank has worked to address the challenges of implementing planning and investment solutions in South Africa, China and Morocco.

The full presentation lasts approximately 54 minutes and is followed by 18 minutes of Q&A. You can find out more in the video above or by visiting

AGWA Featured on NPR | Drought Sabotages Critical Hydroelectric Dams

The following is a copy of the article from "The Takeaway." The original article can be found at The interview with AGWA's Secretariat Coordinator begins at the 5-minute mark.

Venezuela's energy crisis is rippling through its economy. Dropping oil prices have cut into state funds, and a drought has critically diminished water levels at the massive Guri Dam, which is home to Venezuela's largest hydroelectric power station.

To cut back on energy demand, the government has imposed a two-day work week for all public sector workers, and schools have also been closed on Fridays.

Hannah Dreier is Venezuela correspondent for The Associated Press and was in Caracas when a new round of protests erupted on Tuesday. She discusses the energy crisis, and the subsequent unrest.

Hydroelectric power has reshaped economies all over the world, but as in Venezuela, many even recently completed dams face genuinely different conditions than their designers anticipated because of climate change.

Low water levels at the Kariba dam on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe are causing blackouts, and the Hoover Dam in the American southwest, which supplies Las Vegas with water, reached a new all-time low in April 2015.

In the face of droughts and changing weather patterns, can these expensive and prestigious projects still be viable? The Takeaway spoke with John Matthews, secretariat coordinator, Alliance for Global Water Adaptation, about what a sustainable dam could look like. Read More...

After Paris, A More Fluid Approach To Climate Change?

On April 22nd leaders from over 175 nations joined together in New York to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change. AGWA's Secretariat Coordinator John Matthews joined with Regina Buono of the Baker Institute for Public Policy to write a piece for Forbe's on this historic occasion and what it means going forward.

"The agreement signaled a broad commitment to slow the rate of climate change and to provide support to many of the poor countries facing big climate impacts to their most vulnerable citizens. But what the Paris agreement really indicated is a shift in perspective: from a planet thinking about reducing the rate of climate change (and the regulatory and other risks inherent in managing businesses and economies with the primary objective of halting or slowing carbon emissions) to one looking at adapting to climate change by addressing the risks inherent in climate impacts. And the most important element in this shift—the medium through which change and adaptation can be seen most clearly and quickly—is water."

The full article is available here.

SURVEY | What are the information needs of engineers?

AGWA is seeking feedback from the practicing engineers within our network!

You are being invited to participate in a research study titled “Lifelong Learning for Engineers in Practice.” This study is being done by Mary DeJong and Wendy Holliday from Northern Arizona University.

The purpose of this research study is to investigate the information needs and practices of professional engineers. Results will be used to help determine the most valuable resources for current and future engineering students at NAU and other universities nationwide. The researchers want to learn more about the information sources engineers use in their practice and which they find most valuable; how engineers locate information sources; and barriers to access to information.

Please click here to take this 5-minute survey that benefits the next generation of engineers (or visit Your participation and responses will remain anonymous.

Solicitation for expert nominees to attend IPCC Scoping Meeting on 1.5C Special Report

At its 43rd Session (11-13 April 2016 • Nairobi, Kenya), the IPCC decided to:
“… in the context of the Paris Agreement, [to] accept the invitation from the UNFCCC to provide a special report in 2018 on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.”

The next step in the process is to convene a 3-day Scoping Meeting where experts and government representatives will develop an outline and work plan for this IPCC Special Report (SR) — to be held 15-17 August 2016, in Geneva. The outline will be approved by the Panel at its 44th Session in October 2016.

The U.S. Department of State is seeking nominations of Federal and non-Federal scientists with requisite technical background to contribute to scoping of the 1.5°C SR. Please refer to the broad disciplinary categories below for expertise sought by the IPCC. Read More...

High Level Event on Water: The bridge between SDGs and climate implementation

“This is our moment for ground-breaking transformational change on water, climate change and sustainability. Let us not fail to deliver," UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said at a recent event at UN Headquarters this week.

The event was held on the eve of the UNGA High Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the SDGs and signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change in New York, and aimed to bring attention to the importance of water as a connector between these global agendas. It was hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and the Permanent Mission of Sweden, in partnership with the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), WaterAid and the Rockefeller Foundation.

The event, Building a Resilient Future through Water – Connecting the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement, sought to highlight possible strategies for delivering on the 2030 Agenda and strengthening climate resilience through wise water management, and ways the implementation of the 2030 and climate agendas can be better integrated – with water as a useful connector. It featured a keynote address by the UN Deputy Secretary-General as well as a high-level panel including the Delegate Minister in Charge of Environment in Morocco (COP22 President), the Minister of the Environment in Jordan, the Permanent Representative of Mauritius to the UN, and the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN and event partners, WaterAid and The Rockefeller Foundation.

You can find the full article highlighting the entire event on SIWI's website at Read More...

New Book on Water Management | Earth Observation for Water Resources Management: Current Use and Future Opportunities for the Water Sector

The World Bank has recently released a new book on water management. Earth Observation for Water Resources Management: Current Use and Future Opportunities for the Water Sector describes some key global water challenges, perspectives for remote sensing approaches, and their importance for water resources-related activities. It presents eight key types of water resources management variables, a list of sensors that can produce such information, and a description of existing data products with examples.

This book provides a series of practical guidelines that can be used by project leaders to decide whether remote sensing may be useful for the problem at hand and suitable data sources to consider if so. The book concludes with a review of the literature on reliability statistics of remote-sensed estimations.

It is now part of the World Bank's Open Knowledge Repository and can be directly accessed at The publication is available to view or download for free.

Invitation to join a graduate student water initiative

The Water Research Centre at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada is pleased to invite you to submit an abstract to the Water Initiative for the Future (WatIF): International Graduate Student Conference July 2016. WatIF hopes to empower the leaders of tomorrow for the future of the world’s water and create a community of young water leaders.

Due to high demand and great interest internationally, the abstract submission deadline has been extended to APRIL 18th 2016.

For more information on WatIF 2016, abstract submission requirements, and to submit your abstract please visit Read More...

Delivering risk management strategies for coastal communities

Call for reviewers for PEARL knowledge base on resilience strategies

Rapid urbanisation in coastal areas, combined with climate change and poor governance, can lead to a significant increase in the risk of local pluvial flooding. Considering also high water levels in rivers and high tide or storm surges from the sea, there can be a greater risk of devastation in coastal communities.

There is a growing need to improve forecasting, prediction and early warning capabilities using state of art science and technology to help policy makers, urban planners and emergency services to develop robust risk reduction strategies.

To tackle this challenge, the Preparing for Extreme And Rare events in coastaL regions (PEARL) project funded by the European Union is assisting the development of adaptive risk management strategies for coastal communities, taking a multidisciplinary approach integrating social, environmental and technical research and innovation. Read More...

ROSES-16 Amendment 4: Instrument Incubator Program Released

The Instrument Incubator Program (IIP) funds innovative technologies that lead directly to new Earth observing instruments, sensors, and systems in support of SMD’s ESD. The technologies and measurement concepts developed under the IIP may extend up through field demonstrations, with a longer-term aim for infusion into future ESD research and flight programs.

The goals of the IIP are to research, develop and, demonstrate new measurement technologies that enable new or greatly enhance Earth observation measurements and reduce the risk, cost, size, mass, and development time of Earth observing instruments. This program element requests proposals for technology development activities aimed specifically at: (1) development and demonstration of new innovative Earth Science remote sensing instruments; and (2) demonstration of new instrument concepts and/or measurements.

Notices of Intent are requested by May 31, 2016, and proposals are due July 11, 2016. Read More...

Wetlands at Risk | Accepting Submissions for Articles

The Wetland Thematic Group (CEM, IUCN) is now accepting proposed chapters to their upcoming book Wetlands at Risk. The objective of this publication is to bring awareness about most important wetlands under risk in different world regions portraying their status, problems and conflicts related to human impacts, discussing and proposing suitable management practices and solutions for their effective recovery and conservation. Regions will be considered according to IUCN criteria.

Articles submission is open for people involved in management, research, conservation, restoration and other issues related to wetland. belonging or not to UICN. Articles that do not fit the author guidelines will not be considered and received articles will be accepted after review. A final document with ISBN number will be published under pdf format and freely distributed. However, in the case of sufficient funds availability a printed copy will be published as well.

Guidelines for submissions are listed below.


AGWA Updates: April 2016

The latest issue of AGWA's monthly newsletter is now available! We cover a number of updates about AGWA's activities and initiatives. This issue is full of the latest water and climate news, as well as a series of infrastructure, policy, & investment articles. You'll also find a listing of recent publications and funding opportunities that you've come to expect in AGWA Updates. Enjoy! Read More...

Designing for Climate Confidence | AGWA Members Write Chapter in "Water Monographies" Publication

The World Council of Civil Engineers, the United Nations Office in Spain and Aqualogy Foundation signed an agreement to publish a series of monographs under the topics chosen annually to commemorate the "International Year of Water" declared by the UN in the 2013-2015 triennium. At the close of last year they released the latest publication, entitled Water and Sustainable Development. This publication is a collection of pieces by different authors on a variety of issues related to water and sustainable development. You'll find pieces on the importance of the water management in sustainable development, risk assessment for water systems for a sustainable development of the communities, and sustainable initiatives on the water sector.

AGWA members John Matthews, Ad Jeuken, and Guillermo Mendoza wrote a chapter entitled "Designing for Climate Confidence: Moving Beyond Uncertainty in Sustainable Water Management" (click on link to view/download). A Spanish version is also available. Read More...