, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 775-788
Date: 12 Dec 2006

Challenges to Manage the Risk of Water Scarcity and Climate Change in the Mediterranean

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The Mediterranean region is undergoing rapid local and global social and environmental changes. All indicators point to an increase in environmental and water scarcity problems with negative implications towards current and future sustainability. Water management in Mediterranean countries is challenged these pressures and needs to evolve to reach the target of increasing population with reliable access to freshwater established by the Millennium Development Goals. This paper first reviews and evaluates current and future social and environmental pressures on water resources, including climate change. The results show that pressures are not homogeneous across the region and sectors of water use. Second the paper evaluates the adaptation strategies to cope with water scarcity, including technology, use of strategic groundwater, and management. Finally, the paper proposes a framework for managing the risk of water scarcity based on preparedness rather than a crisis approach. The importance of local management at the basin level is emphasized, but the potential benefits depend on the appropriate multi-institutional and multi-stakeholder coordination.