Brief 2- Climate Change Considerations
Patterns of intensive and conflicting uses of water resources in transboundary river basins are resulting in significant ecological and economic damage, reduced livelihoods for the poor, and increased political tensions among downstream States. These impacts become exacerbated with increasing climatic variability.
Is there sufficient common terminology?Is there a common understanding of what climate change entails for each sector? Key concepts & skills: • Difference between Climate Change and Climate Variability • Linkages between Sensitivity, Adaptive Capacity, Vulnerability and Poverty • Impact of Climate Change on Livelihoods, Resilience, Health and Development
e.g. saline intrusion of groundwater or increased glacier melt and eventual decline of glacier runoff? Key concepts & skills: • There is uncertainty about the predicted impacts of climate change on water resources; nevertheless, being able to get a “what if” scenario is already an important adaptation measure • Despite the fact that there is uncertainty in population forecast, scenarios are still used in the planning process • Different climate models predict different impacts; it is therefore necessary to use a number of models and generate many scenarios • To reduce the level of uncertainty, models need good quality data, at different scales, that most countries lack; in countries where observed data is not available, satellite data can be used to fill the gap
How to integrate climate change into project designs, assessments and management e.g. to plan for and support community coping strategies for more frequent floods and droughts? Key concepts & skills: • Water practiioners must keep in mind that climate change is not the only stressor that must be incorporated into their scenarios and risks based approaches; other stressors such as population growth have to be considered • When incorporating climate change, the basin’s priorities have to be kept in mind • Water practitioners should assess the additional resources required for the incorporation of climate change in their projects • Before being presented to decision makers, results of climate change predictions have to be properly packaged to avoid contradictions and misunderstanding • Climate change should not be run in parallel with, but as part of, the IWRM process
e.g. how to assess vulnerability at the national or local level and what sectors have the highest priority? Key concepts & skills: • adaptation strategies, key sectors for national studies/assessments of resilience capacity • types of technologies, including new infrastructure and agricultural practices • types of risk management approaches, including security funds, insurance schemes, new infrastructure specifications
Are detailed guidelines available on how to manage conflicts e.g. between agriculture, fisheries and livestock herders driven by drastic decline in rainfall? Key concepts & skills: • Iterative decision-making • Feedback between monitoring and decisions • Explicit characterization of system uncertainty through multi-model inference • Embracing risk and uncertainty as a way of building understanding