Climate change, water resources and WASH: a scoping study

Calow, Roger; Bonsor, Helen; Jones, Lindsey; O'Meally, Simon; MacDonald, Alan ORCID:; Kaur, Nanki. 2011 Climate change, water resources and WASH: a scoping study. Overseas Development Institute, 69pp. (Working Paper 337)

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Water is predicted to be the primary medium through which early climate change impacts will be felt by people, ecosystems and economies. Both observational records and climate projections provide strong evidence that freshwater resources are vulnerable, and have the potential to be strongly impacted. However, impacts on water resources and water-dependent services have yet to be adequately addressed in either scientific analyses or water policy. This report aims to fill in some of the gaps. No new research is presented; rather the aim is to pull together what we know about the links between climate change and water, drawing on both the scientific and non-scientific literature, for an informed but non-specialist audience. Commissioned by WaterAid in the UK, the report has two broad objectives: • To summarise current understanding of climate change projections and scenarios, and the impacts climate change may have on water resources, and water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Asia. • To discuss implications of the above for policy and practice at a range of different levels – from funding for climate change adaptation at an international level, to the planning and implementation of WASH interventions at a community level. It is important to note the marked absence of literature on climate change and sanitation. As such, this report has largely focused on water resources and water supply. A key conclusion is that more research is required to better understand the impacts of climate change on existing sanitation systems and to identify effective responses to current and future climate change. The report is intended for a broad range of decision-makers in government, the donor community, civil society organisations and the private sector. It is split into four sections as follows: Section 1 provides a summary of observations of recent changes in water-related variables and describes the projections of future changes on water resources. It describes the different scenarios for predicting future climate change, the global and regional climate change projections with an emphasis on SSA and South Asia, predictions of climate change impacts on surface water and groundwater, and current scientific uncertainties and data gaps. Section 2 builds on the discussion in Section 1 and focuses on climate change impacts on water availability, water quality and water infrastructure. The section also attempts to put climate change in context, highlighting other drivers of change that will affect the supply of water, the demand for water, or both. Section 3 discusses policy responses to address climate change impacts at different levels. The section discusses climate change policy responses at the international and national level and provides an overview of current and emerging approaches to adaptation planning. Section 4 documents how some of the adaptation policy responses and approaches discussed in Section 3 have been piloted and implemented. Specifically, it evaluates how pro-poor adaptation in the water sector is, and could be, integrated into programme and project planning. It provides an overview of the major toolkits and lessons learned, to date, in relation to climate screening, climate mainstreaming, community-level adaptation, and monitoring and evaluation. Section 5 provides a summary of the above and outlines recommendations for planning and implementing WASH interventions that are resilient to climate change.

Item Type: Publication - Report
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2010 > Groundwater Science
ISBN: 9781907288500
Funders/Sponsors: NERC
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This report is also available for free download from the URL above
Additional Keywords: GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater, Climate change, International development
Related URLs:
Date made live: 07 Oct 2011 13:51 +0 (UTC)

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