The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

Press Release

Water Resources IMPACT 2018 Article of the Year Announced

American Water Resources Association (AWRA) selects inaugural Water Resources IMPACT magazine Article of the Year winner, names two runners-up.

MIDDLEBURG, VA, March 26, 2019

The American Water Resources Association (AWRA) is pleased to announce that "Climate Change: Resilient Infrastructure or Infrastructure for Resilience?" written by John Matthews and published in the November 2018 issue is winner of the Water Resources IMPACT magazine 2018 Article of the Year.

In nominating this article one of the editors wrote, “Matthews’ engaging writing style draws in the reader, asks critical questions, and promotes multidisciplinary approaches.”

"Many, many thanks for this," responded Matthews, lead and co-founder of the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), chaired by the World Bank and the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and a senior water Fellow at Colorado State University. "I'm so honored to be nominated, much less to have achieved article of the year. Resilience may be the newest, most important (and least understood) concept for water management today. Practical lessons for resilience water management -- what we need to do differently in light of climate change -- are here already, but often those examples are not where we're used to finding them. Now is the time for us to draw on the global pool of examples and reach across traditional boundaries to achieve the non-traditional solutions we need today."

Download Matthews' winning article here.

The evaluation process also revealed two articles that tied for second place:

"Endangered by Injustice: The Human Right to Water in the United States," by Susan Lea Smith, March 2018, IMPACT.
"Integrating Law, Science and a Path Forward: Opportunities for Collective Action in a Time of Change," by Lara B. Fowler, and Robert T. Caccese, November 2018, IMPACT.

Download runners-up articles here.
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Climate change altering wetlands, affecting bird migration in the American West

Summer Lake Wildlife Area

The Summer Lake Wildlife Area is a wildlife refuge in south-central Oregon. Photo by Susan Haig, U.S. Geological Survey. CC BY-SA 2.0

CORVALLIS, Oregon, USA. – New research shows that recent climate change is having profound effects on wetlands across the American West – affecting birds that use these wetlands for breeding, migration and wintering.

According to a study published today in the journal Scientific Reports, long-term trends towards higher temperatures and less precipitation have altered environmental water quality and reduced waterbird habitat, creating clear winners and losers in bird species and potentially threatening the integrity of the Pacific migratory flyway for many species. The study, which began in the mid-1990s, is the result of a research collaboration between scientists at Oregon State University, U.S. Geological Survey, University of California, Merced; and the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation.

Study co-author John H. Matthews, Executive Director of the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation, said, “Migrating, breeding, developing and post-breeding birds need water, but they also need good quality water. This is one of the first studies globally to show that climate change is altering water quality. If shifts in climate can alter water quality for birds, then climate change can alter our water quality too. These bird populations are the canary in the coal mine for all of us.”

The researchers examined more than a century’s worth of temperature and precipitation data across the Great Basin, which spans nearly all of Nevada, much of Oregon and Utah, and portions of California, Idaho and Wyoming. They compared the data with more than 50 years of results from the U.S. Geological Survey Breeding Bird Surveys, which began in 1968.

The research focused on waterbirds, which are species that include shorebirds, ducks, geese, swans, herons and rails. The Great Basin is a major part of the Pacific Flyway, a major north-south route for migratory birds in North America. During spring migration, more than 2 million waterfowl pass through the southern Oregon-northeastern California region of the Pacific Flyway.

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Media Release - Global Launch of New Climate-Based Water Resilience Criteria

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
Global Launch of New Climate-Based Water Resilience Criteria
Boost for Green Bond Investment in Water Infrastructure, Sustainable Ecosystems, Cities, Agriculture & Energy

LONDON: 22/05/2018: 11:00 BST:
The Water Consortium, a global group of climate finance and sustainability organisations, has formally launched the new Water Infrastructure Criteria of the Climate Bonds Standard marking a major turning point in best practice for sustainable investment in water-based infrastructure and green/grey hybrid systems.

The final development phase extends the Criteria’s reach to cover nature-based and hybrid water infrastructure, such as wetlands and watersheds, that may be used for purposes of water collection, storage, treatment and distribution, flood protection and drought resilience.

This means that for the first time, nature’s water infrastructure such as watersheds, wetlands, and forests, which are essential for the provision of clean water around the world, can be protected, managed and restored, using Climate Bonds Certified green bonds – making them ripe for the investments they direly need.

Developed for potential green bond issuers and investors, the new Water Infrastructure Criteria defines and evaluates low carbon and climate resilient water infrastructure projects by encompassing two broad components: 1) climate mitigation and 2) climate adaptation and resilience.  

The Criteria screens what types of water assets and projects can be included in green bond investment in water projects to qualify for Climate Bonds 
Certification. Certified projects must contribute to reductions in greenhouse gases over the lifetime of the asset, and must prove sufficient adaptation to changing climatic conditions.

Developed in two phases, the first phase of the Criteria covered both traditional ‘built’ or grey engineered water infrastructure for water treatment, flood defence, drought defence, storm water management, and ecological restoration and management.

Since the initial phase launch in 2016, about USD1.5 billion of Certified green bonds have been issued against these Criteria in
 North America and South Africa.

The Criteria now fully recognise that ecosystems (including rivers, lakes, natural watersheds, aquifers and groundwater) are the original water infrastructure and are essential to meet local, national, and global resilience goals. Nature-based solutions are increasingly being integrated within formal water management systems as green and hybrid infrastructure.

The Water Infrastructure Criteria is part of the overarching 
Climate Bonds Standard, which provides investors with a verifiable, science-based screening process to evaluate bond investments in a variety of sectors, bringing climate mitigation, resilience and adaptation planning to the fixed income investment space.

Undertaking the staged development program has been a Technical Working Group (TWG) and Industry Working Group (IWG), convened by the Water Consortium, which is comprised of the Climate Bonds Initiative, Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA; supported by the Stockholm International Water Institute), Ceres, CDP, and the World Resources Institute (WRI).

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Water Criteria Phase 2 "Nature-based and Hybrid Water Infrastructure" Opens for Public Consultation

LONDON: 19/10/2017: 16:00 BST
WaterCriteriaFlyer


Water Consortium Moves to Next Phase in Water Standards Development

The Climate Bonds Initiative on behalf of the Water Consortium has released Water Criteria Phase 2 Nature-based and Hybrid Water infrastructure for public consultation.

The Water Criteria is part of the overarching Climate Bonds Standard which provides investors with a verifiable, science-based screening process to evaluate bond investments bringing climate mitigation, vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning to the fixed income investment space.

The Water Criteria lay out the requirements that water infrastructure assets and/or projects must meet to be eligible for inclusion as a Certified Climate Bond. They provide a means for investors to easily categorise and prioritise water infrastructure projects against climate impacts and climate resilience factors.

The Criteria have been developed in two phases:

Phase 1 Criteria, covering engineered water infrastructure, were released by the Water Consortium to the market in October 2016.

Phase 2 Criteria have a focus on nature-based and hybrid water infrastructure, such as wetlands and watersheds including for purposes as water collection, storage, treatment and distribution, flood protection and drought resilience.

The Phase 2 Criteria aim to:
I. Certify water infrastructure that are compatible with a 2°C trajectory
II. Ensure these assets and the surrounding ecosystem are adaptive and resilient to a changing climate

Water Phase 2 Criteria have been developed throughout 2016 and 2017 by a Technical Working Group (TWG) and Industry Working Group (IWG), convened by the Climate Bonds Initiative, Ceres, CDP, the World Resources Institute (WRI) & the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA) acting in collaboration as a Water Consortium. AGWA is supported by the Stockholm International Water Institute.

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Harnessing Nature to Manage Rising Flood Risk

Press Release from WWF

WASHINGTON, D.C. (24, May 2017 - 8:00am ET) – Worldwide, flood risk will continue to rise as cities grow larger and rainstorms become more intense, making conventional engineering insufficient as the sole approach to flood management. “Natural and Nature-Based Flood Management: A Green Guide” released today by WWF, introduces an integrated framework for flood management, drawing on policy, green infrastructure and conventional engineering to help communities adapt and better manage growing flood risk.
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From Climate Bonds Initiative - Launch of Hydropower Technical Working Group: Developing new criteria for green investment

Below is an excerpt from CBI's Press Release on their new Hydro TWG:

The Climate Bonds Initiative has launched a Hydropower Technical Working Group (TWG) to assess and develop Criteria for climate-friendly investment in the sector.

The aim is to develop Criteria that can identify and monitor hydropower investments which deliver climate mitigation benefits and/or incorporate adaptation and resilience impacts, whilst screening out those that don’t meet these objectives.

The Criteria are intended to provide a screening tool for both investors and issuers to determine whether bonds linked to hydropower assets can be considered consistent with limiting warming to a global average of 2°C. They will provide a potential path for certifying green bonds in the sector, under the Climate Bonds Standard and Certification Scheme.

The TWG will be taking a robust science-based approach, one that looks at verifiable targets and metrics and takes into account in its analysis and assessment processes the environmental and social challenges that face some hydro developments.

Continue reading the full article at http://www.climatebonds.net/2016/07/launch-hydropower-technical-working-group-developing-new-criteria-green-investment-science Read More...
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1500 Organizations Around the World to Celebrate World Fish Migration Day

Event Highlights Importance of Open Rivers and Migratory Fish

World Fish Migration Day (WFMD), held on May 21, 2016, will bring together more than 1,500 organizations, featuring more than 350 events worldwide. Organized by the World Fish Migration Foundation, this one-day global initiative calls attention to the needs of migratory fish to ensure that more natural river networks remain connected, and those already fragmented can be restored.


Migratory fish such as catfish, sturgeon, eel and salmon support the diets and livelihoods of millions of people worldwide. However, these fish face a number of threats. Physical barriers—including dams, weirs and sluices—are one of the most widespread challenges for these species. In addition to blocking migratory paths, these man-made structures disrupt the natural flow of rivers, which is critical fish spawning. Migratory species depend on open rivers and natural pulses of water to reproduce, feed and complete their life cycles. The main goal of WFMD is to improve the public’s understanding of the importance of migratory fish, the need for healthy rivers, the communities that depend on both, and the options we have to minimize or avoid impacts. WFMD will be marked by events ranging from educational tours of river restoration projects to global inaugurations of “fishways” that help migratory species bypass water infrastructure. Family and educational events will also include celebrations at zoos and aquariums worldwide, drawing and coloring contests, and kayak tours.
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