Adaptation of the water sector to climate change

According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change “Adaptation refers to adjustments in ecological, social, or economic systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli and their effects or impacts. It refers to changes in processes, practices, and structures to moderate potential damages or to benefit from opportunities associated with climate change.”

Adaptation can and must be based on numerous measures in the field of water resources management that have already been worked out and being implemented.

Adaptation should be profitable, environmentally sustainable, suitable for the cultural context, and socially acceptable.

Any adaptation policy must consider the climate change within the context of many other factors that have pressure on water resources, e.g. population growth, globalization, change in the pattern of consumption, and industrial development.

The policy of adaptation has to be worked out in keeping with the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) concept that supposes the necessity to implement scheduling at the river basin level, close inter-sectoral cooperation, public participation, and optimization of water use.

Effective transboundary cooperation must be provided at all essential stages of the decision making, scheduling, and implementation process.

Adaptation is not a “one-shot” measure, but a permanent, long-term process integrated in all the stages of the scheduling process. Nowadays, people still too often think in terms of short-term categories.

Climate change is characterized by high level of uncertainty and risk. Different methods can be used to lower the level of uncertainty; anyway, however, uncertainty cannot be used as an excuse for inactivity. On the contrary, adaptation must be started now, simultaneously expanding the knowledge base by carrying out target-oriented studies (dual-purpose approach).

Planning of works aimed at implementation of the adaptation policy must be performed taking into account potential conflicts between different sectors associated with water. Adaptation should not be substituted by the measures oriented to prevention of climate change.

Adaptation should also include a disaster risk minimization strategy, which should be based on local knowledge and brought to public notice so as everyone knows about possible personal measures of adaptation. In this connection, a framework of retaliatory measures in the sphere of public health can be useful.

Some mechanisms of adaptation to climate change are as follows:

  • Improvement of land, grazing, water, and forest resources management;
  • Use of economical plant irrigation methods;
  • Introduction of drought-resistant crops and drought control;
  • Setting up of hothouse farms which ensure crop protection against frost and temperature fluctuation;
  • Implementation of energy-saving and energy-efficient measures;
  • Conservation of local agricultural and biological diversity, improvement of local environmental management.

Selected bibliography

Agreements at the Global and Regional Levels

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (New York, 1992) 

Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Kyoto, 1997) 

Paris Agreement on Climate (Paris, December 2015) 

Concepts and Strategies

The Global Climate Observing System: Regional Action Plan for Central Asia (2004) 

Monographs and brochures

Adapting to Climate Change in Europe and Central Asia (2009) 

Bowye P., Bender S., Rechid D., Schalle, M. - Adapting to Climate Change: Methods and Tools for Climate Risk Management (2014) 

Clifton C., Evans R., Hayes S., Hirji R., Puz G., Pizarro C. - Water and Climate Change: Impacts on Groundwater Resources and Adaptation Options (2010) 

Climate change in Central Asia. Illustrated Summary (CAREC, Zoi, 2020) 

Climate change in Uzbekistan. Illustrated Summary (CAREC, Zoi, 2020) 

Climate change in Tajikistan. Illustrated Summary (CAREC, Zoi, 2020) 

Climate Finance in Central Asia. A Survey of International and Local Investments (CAREC, Zoi, 2020) 

Climate Facts and Policy: Kazakhstan (Zoi, 2015) 

Climate Facts and Policy: Kyrgyzstan (Zoi, 2015) 

Climate Facts and Policy: Tajikistan (Zoi, 2015) 

Climate Facts and Policy: Turkmenistan (Zoi, 2015) 

Climate Facts and Policy: Uzbekistan (Zoi, 2015) 

Climate Change and Sustainable Water Management in Central Asia (2014) 

Disaster Risk Reduction Tools and Methods for Climate Change Adaptation (2007) 

Framework Document on Water and Climate Change Adaptation for Leaders and Policy-makers in the Asia-Pacific Region (2012) 

Mabey N., Gallagher L., Born C. - Understanding Climate Diplomacy. Building diplomatic capacity and systems to avoid dangerous climate change (2013) 

Overview of Climate Change Activities: 

Kazakhstan

Kyrgyz Republic

Tajikistan

Turkmenistan

Uzbekistan

Strzepek K., McCluskey A., Boehlert B., Jacobsen M., Fant C. - Climate Variability and Change: A Basin Scale Indicator Approach to Understanding the Risk to Water Resources Development and Management (2011) 

Water, Energy and Climate Change. A contribution from the business community (2009) 

Water Security. Water-Food-Energy-Climate Nexus (2011) 

Water and climate change adaptation in transboundary basins: Lessons learned and good practices (INBO, 2015) 

Weather, Climate and Water in Central Asia. A Guide to Hydrometeorological Services in the Region (2019) 

Women, food and climate change in Central Asia (CAREC, Zoi, 2020) 

Papers

Cherednichenko A.V., Halperin R.I., Davletgaliev S., Cherednichenko A.V., Cherednichenko V.S., Abdrahimov R.G., Nysanbaeva A.S. - Impact of Climate Change on change of runoff in the Republic of Kazakhstan (2016) 

Dinar S., Katz D., De Stefano L., Blankespoor B. - Climate Change, Conflict, and Cooperation. Global Analysis of the Resilience of International River Treaties to Increased Water Variability (2014) 

Kunwar S.B. - Assessing the Economic Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture in Central Asia (2020) 

Mejia J.F., Huntington J., Hatchett B., Koracin D., Niswonger R.G. - Linking Global Climate Models to an Integrated Hydrologic Model: Using an Individual Station Downscaling Approach (2012) 

Mukhamedjanov S., Mukhomedjanov A., Sagdullaev R., Khasanova N. - Adaptation to climate change in irrigated agriculture in Uzbekistan (2020) 

Nikanorova A., Dronin N. - Optimal Future for the Irrigation Agriculture Under Climate Change in the Fergana Valley, Central Asia (2017) 

Puma M.J. - A Holistic Approach to Guide Development of Future Climate Scenarios for Water Resource Applications (2012) 

Rieu-Clarke A., Moynihan A., Magsig, B.-O. - Transboundary water governance and climate change adaptation: International law, policy guidelines and best practice application (2015) 

Stulina G.V., Solodkiy G.F. - Adaptation of water planning to climatic and hydrogeological changes (2013) 

Stulina G.V., Solodkiy G.F., Eshtchanov O.I. - Estimation of Crop Water Requirements in Irrigated Land of the Khorezm Oasis in the Context of Climate Change (2018) 

Reports

Afghanistan: Initial National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2013) 

Afghanistan: Second National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2017) 

Intended Nationally Determined Contributions of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (2016) 


Kazakhstan. Initial national communication of the Republic of Kazakhstan under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1998) 

Kazakhstan: Second National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2009) 

Kazakhstan: Third–Sixth National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2013) 

Kazakhstan: Seventh National Communication and third Biennial report to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (2017) 

Intended Nationally Determined Contributions of the Republic of Kazakhstan (2016) 


Kyrgyzstan. First national communication under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (2003) 

Kyrgyzstan: Second National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2009) 

Kyrgyzstan: Third National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2017) 

Intended Nationally Determined Contributions of the Kyrgyz Republic (2020) 

Intended Nationally Determined Contributions of the Kyrgyz Republic (2021) 


Tajikistan. National action plan of the Republic of Tajikistan for climate change mitigation (2003) 

Tajikistan. The first national communication of the Republic of Tajikistan to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2003) 

Tajikistan: Second National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2008) 

Tajikistan: Third National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2014) 

Intended Nationally Determined Contributions of the Republic of Tajikistan (2017) 

Intended Nationally Determined Contributions of the Republic of Tajikistan (2021) 


Turkmenistan. Initial national communication on climate change under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2001) 

Turkmenistan: Second National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2010) 

Turkmenistan: Third National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2015) 

Intended Nationally Determined Contributions of Turkmenistan (2016) 


Uzbekistan: Initial communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1999) 

Uzbekistan: Second National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2008) 

Uzbekistan: Third National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2016) 

Intended Nationally Determined Contributions of the Republic of Uzbekistan (2017) 

Climate Change Adaptation and Water Governance (2011) 

Garcia L.E., Matthews J.H., Rodriguez D.J., Wijnen M., DiFrancesco K.N., Ray P. - Beyond Downscaling: A Bottom-Up Approach to Climate Adaptation for Water Resources Management (2014) 

Lutz A.F., Droogers P., Immerzeel W.W. - Climate Change Impact and Adaptation on the Water Resources in the Amu Darya and Syr Darya River Basins (2012) 

Lutz A.F., Immerzeel W.W., Droogers P. - Climate Change Impacts on the Upstream Water Resources of the Amu and Syr Darya River Basins (2012) 

Summary Report on Capacity Assessment and Raising Awareness on Climate Change in Tajikistan (2012) 

Stocktaking Exercise on Climate Change in Tajikistan (2012)