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Effective WASH sector adaptation to climate change through improved governance

Over the past year, discussions have being going on within the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector on the possible implications of climate change on services provisions, and the practical adaptation measures that could or should be taken by the sector. Although not conclusive, two important points of agreement have emerged as a result of these discussions. First, climate change predictions are characterized by high levels of uncertainty, particularly at the spatial scales at which most decisions on WASH services provision are made. Second, while it should be taken very seriously, climate change is not the only, and probably not the most important, factor to consider in the short and medium term. This paper argues that the most effective approach to adaptation is to strengthen governance of the WASH sector, for example by adopting principles of adaptive management and by using tools such as scenario building as an integral part of decision-making. In addition, it calls for better embedding of WASH services provision within an integrated water resource management framework.

TitleEffective WASH sector adaptation to climate change through improved governance
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsSmits, S, Batchelor, C, Schouten, T, Moriarty, PB, Butterworth, J
Secondary TitleWaterlines
Volume28
Issue3
Pagination210-218
Date Published07/2009
PublisherIRC
Publication LanguageEnglish
ISSN Number0262-8104 (Print) 1756-3488 (Online)
Keywordsadaptive management, capacity building, drought, flooding, project cycle management, scenario building
Abstract

Over the past year, discussions have being going on within the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector on the possible implications of climate change on services provisions, and the practical adaptation measures that could or should be taken by the sector. Although not conclusive, two important points of agreement have emerged as a result of these discussions. First, climate change predictions are characterized by high levels of uncertainty, particularly at the spatial scales at which most decisions on WASH services provision are made. Second, while it should be taken very seriously, climate change is not the only, and probably not the most important, factor to consider in the short and medium term. This paper argues that the most effective approach to adaptation is to strengthen governance of the WASH sector, for example by adopting principles of adaptive management and by using tools such as scenario building as an integral part of decision-making. In addition, it calls for better embedding of WASH services provision within an integrated water resource management framework.

DOI10.3362/1756-3488.2009.023

Disclaimer

The copyright of the documents on this site remains with the original publishers. The documents may therefore not be redistributed commercially without the permission of the original publishers.