The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

The Nature Conservancy

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

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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.”
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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.
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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.
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Guest Blog | Standardizing Uncertainty: Systematic Approaches to Climate Resilience for Water Security

This guest blog was written by Ana Maria Quintero, Policy Associate for The Nature Conservancy’s External Affairs and Freshwater Team. Ms. Quintero recently led a session at the IAIA17 conference that was co-chaired by AGWA and TNC.

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During the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) 2017 Annual Conference in Montreal, a group of water experts presented together on the challenges that our freshwater systems face when improper planning occurs and then explained the methodologies that exist to address water in an uncertain climate. Michael Edelstein, an environmental psychologist from Ramapo College, opened the session with a devastating example of the exponential decline of the Aral Sea. It is known as one of the planet’s worst environmental disasters, leaving the people of the region of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan without a fishing industry while facing unemployment and economic hardship.
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