Water and Adaptation to Climate Change

Consequences for developing countries

Much of the effort invested so far in adaptation to climate change in higher income countries has been aimed at improving the knowledge base as a prelude to action. This has involved developing modeling capacity, building databases and documenting baseline conditions, monitoring conditions and changes through reporting requirements on public agencies and water utilities, and analyzing potential impacts. Other efforts have been aimed at reducing demand for water and water consumption, and at inter-sectoral transactions designed to firm up urban water supplies in lean years and reallocate scarce supplies during droughts. Key lessons include the importance of integrating adaptation to climate change into routine government planning and management practices, and of starting early to develop the capacity and knowledge base needed to support subsequent actions.

It is difficult to specify a time frame for the study. Even if carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere were to cease rising tomorrow, the impact of past CO2 releases on temperature and precipitation would continue for decades. Moreover, the further out into the future one plans the greater the uncertainty. This is largely because the future trajectory of increases in greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations will depend to a great extent on the actions that humankind takes to reduce them. Our capacity and re-solve on this score are unknown. Consequently, the study will generally emphasize changes expected by 2020 and 2050, which would be well within a human lifetime.

Read all of 32 pages of this publication by Marc Svendsen Ph.D., and Dr. Nana Künkel

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