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Adaptation to climate change impacts on water demand

Abstract

Research on climate change impacts and related adaptation to water demand is still very limited. A review summarising the findings related to climate change impacts on water demand is carried out in this article. A water management strategy is also proposed, which would help with adaptation to growing pressure on water resources due to climate change and socio-economic development. The study reveals that climate change will increase global water demand, though this will vary widely with geographic location and climatic conditions. Water demand in agriculture will be affected more heavily than will demands in other sectors. As irrigation comprises the major portion of global consumptive water use, increased water demand in irrigation may cause severe stress on water resources. Studies suggest that water demand management or water supply management alone will not able to adapt to mounting water stress. A combination of both water supply and water demand management strategies is necessary in order to adapt to varying environmental and associated uncertainties. A case study from the Haihe River basin of China is presented, to illustrate the effectiveness of water demand management strategies used alongside water supply management in adapting to environmental changes. It is expected that the study will help guide policy responses, with the goal of mitigating the impacts of climate change on water resources.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51309155), the National Basic Research Program of China (No. 2010CB951104 and 2010CB951103), the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (No. 2013 M530027), the Central Public-interest Scientific Institution Basal Research Fund (No. Y513004), the Open Research Fund of State Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of Water Cycle in River Basin (China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research Project No. IWHR-SKL-201212) and the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change (Grant No. ARCP2013-25NSY-Shahid) for providing financial support for this research. We are also thankful to anonymous reviewers and editors for their helpful comments and suggestions.

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Wang, Xj., Zhang, Jy., Shahid, S. et al. Adaptation to climate change impacts on water demand. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Change 21, 81–99 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11027-014-9571-6

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Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Water demand
  • Adaptation
  • Water resources management