The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

Global Resilience Partnership

Robust, flexible management of rivers, watersheds, groundwater, and wetlands can enable communities to thrive in a shifting climate

Climate change presents a new range of threats, drivers, and uncertainties in how we interact with freshwater ecosystems, but recently developed approaches to cope with climate impacts will ensure that source waters can survive — and thrive — into the future, according to a new report published by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), in collaboration with the Global Resilience Partnership and the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA).

“Water is our connector — linking cities, businesses, infrastructure, energy, agriculture, and disaster prevention. If we can make our water choices resilient, we can prepare all these sectors for future impacts,” says John Matthews, Executive Director of AGWA and lead author of Wellspring: Source Water Resilience and Climate Adaptation. “Assumptions that future climate and hydrological conditions will be similar to the past no longer apply. Actions that represented best practices five year ago we now know could lock us into bad decisions that could hurt our economies and ecosystems for decades.”

New Episode of #ClimateReady Podcast | What the Heck Is Resilience? Moving Words into Practice

Sustainable development has been the guiding principle for meeting today’s needs without compromising the future of our planet. But what happens when the pace of change outpaces sustainable development practices? And how can we adequately plan for development when the future is increasingly uncertain?

Often we use the term “resilience” in the context of climate adaptation but, perhaps artfully, we also often leave the word undefined. Resilience is a value, a goal, an ethic, and a principle intended to lead to action. Resilience-based approaches to adaptation and sustainable development are gaining more traction in recent years as ways to help communities, governments, and development organizations adapt, transform, and thrive in the face of change. In this episode of ClimateReady—the final one of Season 2—we finally take a deep dive into this resilience thread that runs through almost all of our stories around climate and water. Dr. Nate Matthews of the Global Resilience Partnership joins the show to discuss the principles behind the concept, the systemic changes involved, and the evolving relationships between donors, practitioners, and the private sector.

Following our main interview, we close out with a poetic story as our “Postcard from the Future.” Dr. Raha Hakimdavar, a Hydrologist at the US Forest Service, reflects on the cultural and personal significance of water, and an important but often forgotten impact of climate change. A full version of her poem is available at