The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

Source Water Protection

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.”

AGWA Participating in SNAPP Project on Connections Between Land Use Management and Downstream Flows

This guest blog was written by Kari Vigerstol, Director of Water Security Science and Innovation at the Nature Conservancy.

AGWA will be participating as an implementation partner in a two-year Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP) project that will explore the connections between land use management and downstream flows. This work is critical for increasing our understanding of the scale of impact we can have on mitigating high and low flows through conservation activities such as forest protection, reforestation, agricultural best management practices and others. The driving question that the working group will address is: to what extent, and under what circumstances, can source water protection activities be expected to produce meaningful baseflow, groundwater recharge, and flood impacts, both under current and future climate conditions? The project is being jointly led by The Nature Conservancy1, the Natural Capital Project and Conservation International, with implementing partners AGWA and Forest Trends.