Water Management as a Means for Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Development
The earth’s total water resources reserve is said to be limited, becoming depleted and a more precious commodity over time, due to different stressors or drivers which include climate change and variability impacts. Moreover, it is becoming clear that no one is sure how the future climate will unfold. However, as the impacts of climate change and variability on social and natural systems grow and are projected to persist unless there are substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions which, together with adaptation, can limit the climate change risk, the need to adapt is evident. Even if it seems clear that climate change adaptation and actions toward resilience are important for sustainable development, adaptation faces many constraints, particularly in low-income settings. Climate data, scenarios and impact models are insufficient for supporting adaptation, particularly as they relate to food systems and rural livelihoods; the adaptation response to date has been limited, fragmented and divorced from national planning processes, with limited engagement with local expertise, and adaptation policies and programs are too narrowly focused on explicit responses to climate change rather than responses to climate variability or broader development issues.
The stress on water resources is further compounded by improper management and handling of the resource while the demand for water, food and energy is expected to rise by 30–50% in the next two decades. This paper discusses how water resources need to be managed as a means of climate change adaptation for sustainable development. It also discusses the ever increasing competing and conflicting demands for water under the climate change and variability–driven impacts on the water resources.
KeywordsWater resources management Climate change adaptation Sustainable development
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