Climate Change Uncertainty Means Water Uncertainty

MADRID, Spain

A new guidance and planning document for integrating water into climate responses. “Watering the NDCs” offers guiding principles and recommendations for national climate planners and decision-makers to help ensure they meet their goals set out in National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Climate Agreement.

The report has been produced by the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA) network, an international NGO comprised of regional and global development banks, government agencies and ministries, utilities, other NGOs, academics, and the private sector working across technical and policy programs to mainstream resilient water resources management, focusing on the connections between water resources and climate adaptation and mitigation.

The document is designed to help Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to consider the reality of their water management across sectors, while working towards robust solutions that will be able to withstand the effects of climate change. The guiding principles are to be used as a starting point that would incorporate water into national climate planning with climate resilient water management at its core. The paper is designed to be a “living document” that would be routinely updated to incorporate new insights, case studies and resources.

The report also offers recommendations that can be built into climate planning that will incorporate the guiding principles:

1. Analyze explicit and implicit water commitments across and within sectors at the national level and determine how to systematically evaluate water consumption, allocation, and tradeoffs.

2. Invest in water-smart design and management systems for water-intensive energy infrastructure.

3. Integrate national and transboundary basin-level mechanisms to evaluate the robustness and flexibility of water commitments within and between sectors and countries.

4. Introduce measures to monitor and manage water demands and to buffer increased unpredictability in water availability due to climate change.

5. Respect and enhance integrated ecosystems, particularly for vulnerable populations most directly dependent on ecosystem services for lives and livelihoods.

6. Enforce sustainable and cooperative water allocation within and across basins. Water boundaries exist not only between countries but often within them; greater coordination and cooperation is needed at all levels.

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