The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

Infrastructure

Investing in Water: Infrastructure + Technology

This article was written by Zara Amer, CEO, The Climate Change Project
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Climate change will be felt through water
Climate change will be felt through water as it alters the quality, amount, distribution and timing of available water. By 2025, one in every two people on the planet will live with water stress. For one in nine, the problem is already here. ⁣

All our existing water problems will be significantly exacerbated by climate change which is already having a measurable effect on the water cycle. Ecosystems, industries and communities will be affected as the global water crisis intensifies.⁣

In an attempt to better understand how the global water sector was evolving to meet the global water challenge, I produced and recently published the
Investing in Water: Infrastructure + Technology report. Over the course of 7 interviews I spoke with experts about the water infrastructure investment gap, the cost of the global water challenge, and we discussed how new technologies are changing the way in which water is being managed and used.

The small investing he still does is all focussed on one commodity: water
In 2017, I wrote a blog called
The Business of Water, inspired by the end credits of the movie The Big Short. ⁣

The semantics inferred a very bleak, unbalanced view of the future and in order to better understand that future I decided to produce a report that explored how Dr Michael Burry was investing in water. ⁣

That report was going to be called
Investing in Water Rich Farmland. Five research calls in my focus shifted from almond farms, high net worth investors and the secretive world of family offices to the kind of water investing that might serve a greater purpose and benefit everyone.
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Netherlands Invests €5.98 billion in Ecosystems to Cope with Climate Change Impacts

Netherlands Invests €5.98 billion in Ecosystems to Cope with Climate Change Impacts


LONDON (27 May 2019) — Global investors have enthusiastically embraced a national Netherlands 5.98 billion euro green bond designed to fund projects to cope with current and future climate change impacts and an advanced low-carbon economy. Much of the bond focuses on using coastal and river ecosystems as a safeguard for negative climate impacts such as high flood risk. Investors responded to the bond immediately, oversubscribing the issuance by more than 15.2 billion euros.

This green bond is the first globally to employ resilient nature-based solutions certified using the Water Infrastructure Criteria of the Climate Bonds Standard. A consortium of organizations led by the Climate Bonds Initiative, the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), the World Resources Institute (WRI), CDP, and Ceres launched water resilience bonds criteria in May 2018 to inform investors about the climate risks and solutions embedded in the green bonds market. Globally, the green bonds market reached about 168 billion USD in 2018.

Niels Vlaanderen, Policy Advisor for International Affairs at the Department of Infrastructure and Water Management for the Netherlands, commented: “We realized that we needed new solutions — automatically building flood dykes higher was no longer a sustainable solution. We had to change a system we had worked with for centuries and broaden our goals. We must future-proof our country by incorporating cultural and ecological values into our adaptive decision making.”

According to John Matthews, Executive Director of the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation and lead author of the Water Infrastructure Green Bonds Criteria, “For the past thousand years, the Dutch have reclaimed land from the sea. Today, the sea and their rivers are growing higher in a country where half of the country is already below sea level. With this bond issuance, the national government is signaling to investors the scope of the financing needed to adjust to climate change — and how we must link economies and ecosystems together to secure a joint future in a shifting climate.”

The bond also plays a role in sustainable development according to Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, Kingdom of The Netherlands Sherpa to the UN/WB High Level Panel on Water, adding, “This green bond is spot on, aimed at creating added values across the board of the sustainable development goals, leveraging investments for social, cultural, economic and environmental needs and challenges. Using water as leverage to catalyze transformative climate action.”

Justine Leigh-Bell, Deputy CEO at Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI) in London, stated, “Resilience is a powerful new target for investment. The Netherlands has just shown that investors are eager to see policymakers investing in long-term resilience and in working with rather than against nature. Using the Water Infrastructure Criteria rewards issuers and investors together, providing market and citizen confidence for innovative approaches such as nature-based solutions to flood risks.”

Niels Vlaanderen continued, “In Dutch, we say, ‘Als er één schaap over de dam is, volgen er meer,’ or ‘We need only a few to lead.’ Indeed, this bond is the beginning of a very promising area where we expect large funding requirements in the near future. We have proven that the Netherlands can shift strategies to prepare for a changing climate. With our room for the river projects, we have shown that we can combine flood protection and social values through nature-based solutions.”

The benefits of this bond are not limited to at-risk communities and ecosystems. The Netherlands’ Minister of Finance, Wopke Hoekstra, stated, “Our aim is to give an extra boost to the Dutch green capital market through the issuance of the Green Bond.”

The green bond finances low-carbon projects (renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean transportation). Perhaps the most innovative aspects of the bond, however, are projects designed to help the Netherlands adjust to climate change adaptation through sustainable water management, particularly the use of nature-based solutions and green infrastructure approaches for reducing increasing flood risks in coastal and low-lying areas.


Background
Link to the criteria: https://www.climatebonds.net/standard/water
Link to more detail on the bond itself: http://bit.ly/dutch-bond
Green Bonds State of the Market report: https://www.climatebonds.net/resources/reports/green-bonds-state-market-2018
Link to additional coverage: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-netherlands-bonds-green/the-netherlands-becomes-first-triple-a-rated-sovereign-to-launch-green-bond-idUSKCN1SR16W

Media contacts - For additional information about the issuance or the various organizations involved, please contact:
AGWA - Alex Mauroner (amauroner@alliance4water.org), John Matthews (johoma@alliance4water.org)
Dutch State Treasury Agency - sbr@minfin.nl
Niels Vlaanderen, Policy Advisor for International Affairs, Department of Infrastructure and Water Management (niels.Vlaanderen@minienw.nl)
CBI - Justine Leigh-Bell (justine@climatebonds.net), press enquiries Andrew Whiley (andrew.whiley@climatebonds.net)
WRI - Todd Gartner (todd.Gartner@wri.org)

Images
https://pixabay.com/photos/the-windmills-kinderdijk-river-555944/
https://pixabay.com/photos/landscape-river-nature-water-3565856/
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New Report: Ready for Tomorrow: Seven Strategies for Climate-Resilient Infrastructure

As the impacts of climate change are felt more forcefully around the globe, decision makers are asking, with increasing urgency, how they can make their communities and businesses more resilient. One obvious place to start is infrastructure. To address this, the Hoover Institution convened a yearlong collaboration with leading experts and practitioners in development banks, government agencies, universities, private firms, non-governmental organizations, and professional associations. It drew on diverse perspectives to the challenges of resilience, including physical and social science, engineering, policy, finance, and education. The resulting paper lays out seven strategies for developing more climate-resilient infrastructure.
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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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New OECD publication "Climate-resilient Infrastructure: Getting the Policies Right"

Climate change will affect all types of infrastructure, including energy, transport and water. Rising temperatures, increased flood risk and other potential hazards will threaten the reliable and efficient operation of these networks, with potentially large economic and social impacts. Decisions made now about the design, location and operation of infrastructure will determine how resilient they will be to a changing climate.

This paper provides a framework for action to help policy-makers ensure new and existing infrastructure is resilient to climate change.
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Enhancing the climate resilience of Africa's infrastructure: the power and water sectors

Africa has experienced economic growth of more than 5 percent per annum during the past decade, but to sustain this growth, investment in infrastructure is fundamental. Much of these investments will support the construction of long-lived infrastructure (for example, dams, power stations, and irrigation canals), which will be vulnerable to the potentially harsher climate of the future. Enhancing the climate resilience of Africa's infrastructure: the power and water sectors is the first book to use a consistent approach across river basins and power systems in Africa, including a comprehensive, broad set of state-of-the-art climate projections to evaluate the risks posed by climate change to planned investments in Africa’s water, and power sectors.

This book has been published as part of the Africa Development Forum Series sponsored by the Agence Française de Développement and the World Bank.
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Australian Rainfall and Runoff – The Interim Climate Change Guideline

This report provides a new approach to reduce key uncertainties for decision makers in Australia. The Interim Guideline for Climate Change for the Australian Rainfall and Runoff (ARR) draws on the most recent climate science and new climate change projections to better inform decision making regarding the region's infrastructure. The approach incorporates numerous factors related to infrastructure and climate change in order to make better plans for new assets and mitigate potential damage to existing ones. Read More...
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Cresting Research: June 2015 Selected AGWA Reading

Bridging the gap between climate science and engineering practice

How can we balance future needs for engineered infrastructure with the risks posed by the effects of climate change on long-term engineering projects? How do engineers plan for the likely effects of climate change while acknowledging the uncertain nature of when, where, and how they will manifest? The second installment of “Cresting Research” (AGWA’s research spotlight) will focus on the technical requirements and civil engineering challenges raised by adaptation to a changing climate.
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