Flowing Forward: Incorporating Climate Change Adaptation into Water Sector Projects

Periodically on ClimatePrep we like to draw attention to new and interesting publications that we feel are worth highlighting. This week we would like to point out Flowing Forward, a new report written by WWF for the World Bank.

Flowing Forward provides guiding principles, processes, and methodologies for incorporating climate change adaptation into water sector projects.  As such Flowing Forward actually marks the first comprehensive set of tools to achieve climate-sustainable water management.

Effective water resource management is central to adapting our economies and societies to emerging climate conditions. But the uncertainty surrounding our future climate poses a major challenge to engineers and policymakers, especially when developing long-term water infrastructure development strategies.

Practical methodologies, such as those presented in Flowing Forward are critically needed. According to Julia Bucknail, Manager for the World Bank’s Energy, Transport, and Water Department, “We can’t wait another 30 years for predictions to tell us how climate change is affecting freshwater resources. The threats are being felt now. The World Bank needs climate adaptation decision-making techniques, and it needs them now.”

WWF’s Lead Freshwater Adaptation Scientist, John Matthews, one of three primary authors on the report notes that, “We can no longer assume that what is sustainable now will remain sustainable in 10 years, much less 50. So a shifting climate means that the rules for water management must change too. Our current model of ‘sustainable development’ is threatened by climate change. Engineers, policymakers and resource managers need new tools to prepare for more extreme floods and droughts, and we believe that ecosystems are the best scorecard to see how our cities farms, and economies are adapting to climate change.”

“We need to design and operate dams, irrigation systems and energy production grids in ways that will help people and ecosystems adjust to emerging climate conditions together,” he adds.

The report can be downloaded at FlowingForward.org