The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

AGWA Updates: January 2020

We have just released the latest issue of AGWA Updates, our internal e-newsletter. You can access the January 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. As always it is full of the latest news on the intersection of climate and water from the fields of climate change adaptation, climate finance, policy, and much more. Stay updated! Stay informed!

To subscribe to our newsletter, sign up here.

Reflections on a Fantastic 2019

As we enter into a new year and a new decade, we have a great deal of reasons for excitement and hope. At the same time, we have much to be proud of in terms of accomplishments over the past year. AGWA — and the water community as a whole — made great strides in 2019 around water-centric adaptation.

Most importantly, we in the secretariat want to formally express our gratitude to both the members of the network we serve as well as to our two primary sources of core funding: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Institutionale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as well as Deltares and the Dutch Infrastructure and Water Management Ministry.

Here are just a few highlights of 2019:

Looking Back at 2018: A Year of Accomplishments for AGWA

As we enter into a new year, now is a great time to take a moment and look back at all that AGWA accomplished in 2018. Our secretariat, members, and collaborators have an incredible amount of things to be proud of! As a quick way to sort through the highlights of a busy year, we have compiled the a list of noteworthy achievements. These are just some of the major milestones:

CRIDA Publication Now Available | Open Access Guide to Water Resources Management in the Face of Uncertainty

CRIDA book cover

Global Launch of New Water Resources Planning Framework for Addressing Climate Change and Other “Deep” Uncertainties

PARIS: 23/10/2018: 14:00 CEST

At this very moment immense changes are happening at all scales, from global to local. Climatic, economic, demographic, and land-use shifts are fundamentally altering the ways in which we interact with and manage the planet’s resources — freshwater being chief among them. The stressors on water resources management will continue to increase as population and urban areas grow, and they pose a real risk to economic, social, and environmental security in many parts of the world.

In practice, much of our management of water occurs through the medium of long-lived infrastructure. That infrastructure can easily endure for a century or more — even outlasting the financing and governance mechanisms that created it. Decisions made today about their design, allocation, governance, and operations may have impacts decades away.

For well over a decade, water managers, decision makers, investors, and scientists have been looking for better ways to address risks. The challenge has been to build upon existing decision making processes in order to work with, rather than against uncertainty.

Climate Risk Informed Decision Analysis, or CRIDA, is a new “bottom-up” stepwise methodology designed for engineering-oriented water decision makers interested in incorporating resilience into planning and operational decisions with stakeholders. The CRIDA methodology begins with the early stages of project planning when stakeholders are engaged and vulnerabilities and future water demands are assessed. The goal is to mainstream robust and flexible approaches to water management by institutionalizing these methods into consistent, replicable, and accessible outcomes — especially in data-poor regions.

AGWA Updates: August 2018

We have just released the latest issue of AGWA Updates, our internal e-newsletter. You can access the August 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 on the intersection of climate and water from the fields of climate change adaptation, climate finance, policy, and much more. Stay updated! Stay informed!

To subscribe to our newsletter, sign up here.

Message from the Coordinator: AGWA & UNFCCC Regional Adaptation Workshops

Greetings! At the end of April, I got an email from the UN climate change convention (the UNFCCC) asking to set up a call. Such emails (and calls) are not that unusual, though the UNFCCC body was new to me - the “consultative group of experts,” or CGE.

The call began by my colleagues saying, We were asking many of our colleagues who was an expert on assessing climate risk for water, and many people — well, everyone, really — said to contact AGWA. We’re organizing three regional workshops for roughly a total of 130 national governments on the how to help countries and communities adjust to climate impacts expressed through freshwater.

AGWA Launching Its Own "ClimateReady" Podcast

AGWA has created a new podcast series focused on international climate change issues, stories, and initiatives. The ClimateReady Podcast features interviews and segments on emerging trends in the intersection of climate and water. Experts in policy, engineering, finance, and other sectors will provide cutting-edge perspectives and narratives on climate adaptation challenges and opportunities. AGWA has released several episodes for your listening pleasure!
  • Ep. 1 - Climate Adaptation Crash Course
  • Ep. 2 - COP23 Water & Climate Policy Primer (featuring AGWA's Co-Chair Maggie White)
  • Ep. 3 - Decision Making Under Uncertainty
  • Ep. 4 - Climate Change & Community-based Adaptation in the Himalayas
You have several listening options depending on your preference. All episodes are available on the brand new Knowledge Platform. Or, you can listen and subscribe using iTunes or SoundCloud. We hope you’ll enjoy the first few episodes and subscribe for future installments. Read More...

AGWA Annual Meeting Going on Now

The 7th Annual General Members Meeting is going on now in Stockholm. If you'd like to participate remotely, you can find the dial-in details here.

The meeting will run from 1-5 pm CEST. We value hearing from our members so we hope you can join! Read More...

Letter from the Coordinator


We have a lot of news this month in AGWA. We must first acknowledge with gratitude the years of service of Robert (Bob) Pietrowsky, who was one of the original members of the AGWA steering committee. Bob retired from the US Army Corps of Engineers quite recently. He gave much of himself to AGWA, and the Army Corps has been an enormous ally and partner with AGWA on a wide range of technical and policy activities. Bob will be greatly missed on the steering committee for his optimism and faith in the network, but I am also sure he will remain active in the network.

The past month has been very busy!

Very significantly, I am proud to announce that the World Bank, SIWI, and AGWA will be hosting our first technical meeting on mainstreaming climate adaptation into water resources management. The event will be held immediately after World Water Week this year in early September in Stockholm. Our partnership will also include an expansion of the site for capacity building and network level support. More details will be coming soon.

Other updates:

  • The AGWA Policy Group just had a meeting, and Sofia Widforss of SIWI will be representing the team at the Bonn intercessional meetings in May. #ClimateIsWater has also been active, organizing a session on 18 May in Bonn (details below). We always welcome new members to both groups! Please reach out to Danielle Gaillard-Picher for #CIW activities.
  • Ana Maria Quintero with The Nature Conservancy organized a well-attended session in Montreal, Canada, in April on bottom-up climate adaptation strategies, which included Ad Jeuken (Deltares) and Guillermo Mendoza (USACE) as well as myself (details here).
  • The World Bank and the Casey Brown lab at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst have recently been host training workshops on bottom-up adaptation methodologies in Amherst, and will soon host another workshop in Korea for adaptation professionals based in Asia.
  • This week, WWF, the Inter-American Development Bank, Mexico’s National Water Commission as well as other water management, environmental, and climate change agencies, and AGWA convened a workshop on guidelines for using water reserves as a tool for climate adaptation across Mexico. AGWA has been providing technical support using an approach we developed through the network to integrate ecological and engineering approaches to freshwater resilience. Ninel Escobar with WWF will be presenting some of this work at the Bonn intercessional meeting on 15 May in a Nairobi Work Program event on ecosystem-based adaptation. The International Water Resources Association conference (IWRA) will host a followup event at the end of May in Cancun, Mexico.
  • Not least, AGWA’s task force had a good meeting about how to continue to adapt AGWA itself to adjust to new challenges and better serve the network as a whole in a more responsive, robust way. We are grateful for this service!

Our Stockholm World Water Week calendar is already filling up. Please be sure to reserve the afternoon of 26 August CET for the AGWA annual meeting. More details on AGWA events will be coming soon.

As suggested by the list above, I’d also like to announce that we in the secretariat will be producing a short document that provides some tracking details on the range of activities within AGWA. Called the AGWA snapshot, we hope that this document can serve as a mechanism to show how much is happening within the network as well as to invite even broader participation. Putting this material down into a single list has been enlightening for myself and the steering committee, and I hope it inspires and engages you as well.

For myself, April has been intense. I recently returned home from an inspiring trip to Lahore, Pakistan, where I was part of a DFID delegation engaging with the Punjab provincial government on water and climate issues across a wide range of sectors. April has shown me late snow in Canada, extreme heat in South Asia, and unseasonal rains in central Mexico. I have been deeply struck by how rarely I now seem to need to make the argument that climate change is water change — these issues now seem deeply understood and appreciated globally. The questions I hear now are much more about what we do now that water changes are here and more are on their way, and I am confident that we are on the right path as a network.


john matthews
mexico city, mx

A Bright December: Notes from the Coordinator

AGWA’s network has been extremely active over the past month. As detailed below, COP22 in Marrakech saw a large and active AGWA and #ClimateIsWater attendance, led by SIWI, Arup, the US Army Corps and many others. An “outcomes” document is due soon that will provide a roadmap on how the water and climate change communities can support one another going forward.

The AGWA Policy Group was also very present at the Budapest Water Summit, while we saw AGWA representatives talking ecosystems and national policy (Mexico), cities and adaptation (China), and natural infrastructure and bonds (globally) at a number of events. Ben Denjean and Elena Lopez led an ambitious effort to synthesize the state of knowledge on insurance and climate adaptation around water issues, while this week Will Sarni with Deloitte with represent CBI, AGWA, and other partners at a TNC-Columbia University Global Water Summit in New York. The AGWA steering committee and a task force led by Joppe Cramwinckel with the WBCSD met to discuss AGWA’s institutional shape, while a team including the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, the World Bank, Deltares, and the Army Corps of Engineers (among others) met to strategize how to promote the next generation of climate adaptation practice more broadly over the coming year.

As an individual, sometimes it is hard to believe how AGWA has moved from 30 people to just shy of 1000, and to feel the warmth of enthusiasm and support globally as many institutions speak for all of us about the need to include climate change in our water work, and to include water in our climate work. The sense of progress is palpable and direct over a scale of months and quite striking on a scale of years. Most recently, I was deeply struck by how far we have come as I co-moderated the Water Dialogue session at the COP, while wearing a badge as a representative of the Moroccan government — a real honor to the trust Morocco and the UNFCCC have placed in us. And a sign that the water has a seat at the UN climate table at last.

December is a wet, chilly, rainy month in Oregon. The sun rises late and sets early, with less daylight every day. But my office has a glowing wood stove, and the rain makes a comforting sound on the roof. AGWA too has a warm heart.

Best wishes for the coming December holidays and for the New Year, and deep thanks for your engagement and support.


Letter to Members from AGWA Co-Chairs

Stockholm and Washington 2016-08-17


Dear AGWA friends,

We are now getting close to the World Water Week in Stockholm. In conjunction with this, the AGWA annual meeting will also take place in Stockholm on 27 August at 1-5 pm CET.

We very much hope to see many of you there. This is an important opportunity to take stock on the progress of AGWA and to discuss next steps and measures.

AGWA has seen some remarkable achievements as well as rapid growth during the past year. For instance, the number of subscribers to our newsletter has grown 70% compared to last year, to over 900 individuals. At the same time, AGWA has seen a rapid differentiation and expansion of its policy activities, the elevation of its policy capacity and the achievement of a number of significant policy goals, the delivery and adoption of a number of major new technical initiatives; the award of several new grants to support AGWA-informed programs and activities; and the publication of many high-profile AGWA documents and press around our activities. Much of this is reflected in our Annual Report. We have a great deal to be proud of but we need to maintain this momentum and reflect on where we take our network in the coming years.

At the same time we have faced severe financial constraints jeopardizing the proper functioning of our Secretariat. While the funding for projects has really taken off this year, it has proven difficult to identify long term sustainable financing options to support the core functioning of the Secretariat and its networking activities – i.e., the glue that keeps us together. It is fair to say that our coordinator John Matthews, his Research Associate, Alex Mauroner, as well as the SIWI office have been pushed very hard to maintain necessary networking service and to keep AGWA going. We are facing immediate budget constraints and in the long run, AGWA will not have the capacity to sustain itself and a solution must be found with urgency.

Therefore the Steering Committee (SC) has discussed alternative models for financing of AGWA core functions. These include setting aside a certain percentage of project income, starting membership fees, and identifying sponsors/donors for core funding. This year’s annual meeting will decide how to pursue this challenge.

Another vital issue for AGWA is the steering committee engagement. The annual meeting will decide on the steering committee for the next period. Please let us know if you would like to suggest a candidate or if you would be interested yourself.

We very much look forward to your participation in the annual meeting. If you are not able to travel to Stockholm but want to put forward your ideas and suggestion – please write an email to John and let us know what you think. Indeed, AGWA is its membership.

AGWA is a fantastic, effective, and promising network. We have already done so much, and what we have accomplished is amazing. But we are now at a crossroads – and what we will decide will be decisive for the development. Join us in Stockholm and help us chart the future.

Karin Lexén, Director, World Water Week and International Policy, SIWI and
Diego Rodriguez, Senior Economist, Latin America and Caribbean Region, the World Bank,
Co-Chairs of AGWA

You can download a copy of this letter here.