CLIMATE 2020 SUPPORTER

Increasing resilience to climate variability and change

How can the water sector provide solutions to the challenges posed by climate variability and change?

18th September 2017
CLIMATE 2020 SUPPORTER

Increasing resilience to climate variability and change

How can the water sector provide solutions to the challenges posed by climate variability and change?

By ANEAS
(Asociación Nacional de Empresas de Agua y Saneamiento de México)

Mexico, through the National Water Commission (Conagua) and the National Association of Water and Sanitation Utilities of Mexico (ANEAS), in cooperation with the World Water Council (WWC), has developed a programme called: “Increasing resilience to climate variability and change: the roles of infrastructure and governance in the context of adaptation”. A scientific book with the same title has also been published.

The book presents 11 case studies that document successful adaptation efforts in projects, basins and regions around the world. These analyse how the water sector can provide valuable solutions to the challenges posed by climate variability and change through sound water infrastructure and adaptive water management.

Among the key messages emerging from these studies is the need to close the scientific knowledge gap in this particular field, since these studies show that infrastructure can significantly contribute to building resilience to climate change.

Improved governance
However, infrastructure alone is not enough to increase resilience, as it must be coupled with appropriate management and governance approaches aligned to local contexts in order to be effective. These approaches need to be planned and managed within a governance framework that takes into account long-term perspectives and multi-sector and multi-level actor needs and perspectives.

Resilience to flood disasters will require properly maintained infrastructure through coordinated management, crisis prevention capacity, as well as coordinated actions and a pragmatic approach to future uncertainties such as climate change. Finally, governance will need to be improved in order to implement fundamental changes and help for post-disaster recovery.

The studies show that water infrastructure must have a multipurpose use to meet growing water demands for agricultural, industrial, energy and domestic use. However, multipurpose water infrastructure raises specific financing problems, in addition to those generic to water.

The figures involved are typically large, some components are not financially profitable under strict market conditions, a large number of different actors are affected, there are many competing users, and conflicts often arise about priorities between them.

It also points out that for a long time water has been a neglected and marginalised sector in the discussion of public policies for sustainable growth and development.

This lack of attention is most pronounced and dangerous in infrastructure, where there is inadequate resilience to climate change.

Much of this collection is freely available on the WWC website: www.worldwatercouncil.org

UNA-UK thanks ANEAS for its generous support for Climate 2020