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Enhancing Climate Services for Improved Water Management

CLIMWAR_cracked earth drought_434933854_Shutterstock.jpg

CLIMWAR_cracked earth drought © Chaisit Rattanachusri / Shutterstock
© Chaisit Rattanachusri / Shutterstock

Hydroclimatic Services

Improved climate services for flood and drought risk management

The first component of the project engages in the improvement of relevant information on climate and water for decision-making. To make the information actionable, (locally) relevant and timely, two different spatial levels will be considered:

The regional level At the regional level, the flood and drought monitors for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean will be further developed to bring them in line with the needs at the national level for real-time floods and droughts monitoring and early warning system. For both regions, this requires tailoring of the current system to allow local uptake and ownership. In particular, the project will consider improving the spatial resolution and integrate actively available national data sources where available. The Monitor will also integrate climate change models as an integral component of the Monitor, to allow projected scenarios for each location in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

The subregional and national level At the subregional and national level, a more detailed type of climate services is needed. These involve national or subregional observatories, where local information sources can be integrated relevant for local stakeholders. As these observatories are tailored to local needs, they are independent, but connected entities that aim at providing monitoring and early warning capacities that can be integrated into national flood and drought management strategies and policies. These local level observatories also have the capability to ingest the climate services provided by the regional Flood and Drought Monitors, to ensure connectivity between both levels.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, two national observatories in Chile and Peru were developed during the MWAR-LAC project that have been operating independently since the project finalized in 2016, indicating the sustainability of these systems and the adoption by national governments.

Based on these two examples, targeted actions are needed to provide support to these existing and emerging observatories in the region. Activities will be implemented further in the Chilean Agroclimatic Observatory[1] , the Peruvian National Drought Observatory[2], the Midsummer Drought Observatory[3], and in additionally interested Member States.

In Africa, similar needs were identified during the regional workshop on ‘Climate Change risk, Vulnerability Assessment and Early Warning for Africa’, held on 13-16 June 2017 at the AGRHYMET Regional Center in Niamey, Niger. As a pilot case study, a regional drought observatory will be developed at AGRHYMET for Western Africa, incorporating all products developed at the centre as part of the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought control in the Sahel (CILSS) and complementing with international data sources. A regional training will complement that effort to engage actors from other parts of the region to prepare extension to other subregions in a later stage.

During the regional workshop on ‘Climate Change risk, Vulnerability Assessment and Early Warning for Africa’, held on 13-16 June 2017 at the AGRHYMET, the need was identified to develop a drought frequency atlas for the continent. This activity is an expansion of the earlier work realized in Latin America and the Caribbean as part of the MWAR-LAC project, and benefits from the developed tools and methodologies. During the project, a workshop will be implemented involving the different subregions of Africa to train national counterparts in the use of the Regional Frequency Analysis using L-Moments (RFA-LM) and to jointly develop their national drought atlases.

To assess how climate change can further aggravate the effects of water-related hazards, a specific analysis tool needs to be developed that supports decision-makers on the probability of adverse events to occur under climate change uncertainty. A recent methodology developed is the Collaborative Risk Informed Decision Analysis (CRIDA) that provides a framework for a bottom-up approach to include uncertain climate change information into decision-making. Preliminary work has been performed in the Project ‘The Impact of Glacier Retreat in the Andes’, which resulted in a methodological tool for a climate stress test for vulnerable watersheds. As part of this project, the toolset will be further consolidated in collaboration with project partners at CAZALAC, the Global Alliance for Water Adaptation (AGWA) and the Category 2 Institute for Water Education (IHE). The second component involves the development of a dedicated CRIDA manual to give a hands-on pathway how to perform a stress test for catchments. A third component involves training for catchments in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa, and will be described in that section.

The development of a water-related vulnerability atlas is a crucial part in integrated drought (and flood) risk management, as it allows to identify those communities that are most vulnerable to these hazards to tailor adequate management and policy solutions for these communities. This involves both the identification of the exposure to water-related hazards, but also the sensitivity to the impact of these hazards, which are mostly socio-economic in nature. The project will support the development of guidelines to develop such a (Drought) Vulnerability Atlas, in collaboration with the Category-2 centres CAZALAC and the Regional Center for Water Security at the Mexican Institute of Water Technology (IMTA), that have developed pilot experiences for Chile and Mexico respectively. This will provide a template for application in other interested member states. Extension of the framework to an African pilot country will be evaluated with local partners and stakeholders during the inception meeting.