The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

Water Security in an Uncertain Future: Enhancing Water Resources Management and Planning by Reducing Climate- and Weather- Related Risks

Global water security is vulnerable to a range of risks, including those that are climate- and weather-related, such as floods, recurrent droughts and variable rainfall patterns. As these become increasingly more frequent and intense, safeguarding water resources is paramount to achieving development outcomes that help countries become more self-reliant. An integrated approach to water resources planning and decision-making that addresses short- and long-term risks across capital investments in infrastructure, operations and maintenance, and human resources is needed to ensure high quality management and availability of increasingly scarce water resources.

The April Adaptation Community Meeting will focus on climate-related risks to water security and how USAID is responding through water resources management and planning. Approaches include examining climate related impacts affecting transboundary water resources and allocation, integrating a climate vulnerability assessment into decision-making, and use of natural infrastructure to improve water security and contribute to building resilience. The event will feature a panel discussion of relevant USAID-funded activities in Southern Africa, the Mara basin in East Africa, and Peru.

When: Thursday, 18 April; 4-5:30 p.m. EDT
Where: Washington, D.C. and Online
How to Participate: To attend in person, register here. To join the live webinar, click here.

Presentations will cover the following topics:
  • Resilient Waters – USAID’s Resilient Waters program builds on previous USAID investments in the region, such as the Southern Africa Regional Environmental Program (SAREP) and Resilience in the Limpopo Basin (RESILIM) programs, to build the resilience of institutions and communities to reduce climate related risks. Working in the Limpopo and Okavango basins, Resilient Waters will build the capacity of various stakeholder groups to identify, prepare for, and adapt to climate risks. The project, early in its inception, plans to facilitate scenario planning exercises with stakeholders to identify capacity needs and develop adaptation responses based on resilience and vulnerability assessments conducted by SAREP and RESILIM, among others.
  • Sustainable Water Partnership – The USAID Sustainable Water Partnership (SWP) launched an activity in the Mara basin to improve on-the-ground water security, develop a basin-wide plan for allocating water, and provide the tools and science to improve decision-making around water. To support these goals, the Adaptation Thought Leadership and Assessments (ATLAS) project conducted a basin-wide climate vulnerability assessment to inform water allocation plan decision-making.
  • Natural Infrastructure for Water Security – The Natural Infrastructure for Water Security program in Peru seeks to scale up investments in natural infrastructure in Peru to safeguard water supplies and increase climate resilience. In the tropical Andes, pre-Inca cultures developed nature-based water-harvesting technologies to manage drought risks under natural climatic extremes; however, today, most remain in disrepair. Policy reforms and new financial commitments in Peru hold the potential to revalue these indigenous practices, channeling funds from water users in cities like Lima to upstream, rural communities. The NIWS activity is also working with local partners to address barriers to allow these political and financial commitments to reach new, innovative projects on the ground, and to generate knowledge on their impacts to support effective adaptive management into the future.