Box 32 Lessons from the Dialogue on Water and Climate

• The aim of the Dialogue on Water and Climate (DWC) was to raise awareness of climate implications in the water sector. The DWC initiated eighteen stakeholder dialogues, at the levels of a river basin (Lena, Aral Sea, Yellow River, San Pedro, San Juan, Thukela, Murray-Darling, and Nagoya), a nation (Netherlands and Bangladesh), and a region (Central America, Caribbean Islands, Small Valleys, West Africa, Southern Africa, Mediterranean, South Asia, South-east Asia, and Pacific Islands), to prepare for actions that reduce vulnerability to climate change. The Dialogues were located in both developed and developing countries and addressed a wide range of vulnerability issues related to water and climate. Participants included water professionals, community representatives, local and national governments, NGOs, and researchers.

• The results have been substantial and the strong message going out of these Dialogues to governments, donors, and disaster relief agencies is that it is on the ground, in the river basins and in the communities, that adaptation actions have to be taken. The Dialogues in Bangladesh and the Small Valleys in Central America have shown that villagers are well aware that climate extremes are becoming more frequent and more intense. The Dialogues also showed that adaptation actions in Bangladesh, the Netherlands, Nagoya, Murray-Darling, and Small Valleys are under way. In other areas, adaptation actions are in the planning stages (Western Africa, Mekong) and others are still in the initial awareness-raising stages (Southern Africa, Aral Sea, Lena Basin).

• The DWC demonstrated that the Dialogue model provides a promising mechanism for developing adaptation strategies with stakeholders.

Table 3.4. Cross-scale issues in the integrated water management of the Colorado River Basin (Pulwarty and Melis, 2001).

Temporal scale



Flow necessary to protect endangered species


Inter-basin allocation and allocation among basin states


Upper basin delivery obligation


Lake Powell fill obligations to achieve equalisation with Lake Mead storage


Peak heating and cooling months

Daily to monthly

Flood control operations


Western Area Power Administration's power generation

Spatial Scale


Climate influences, Grand Canyon National Park


Prior appropriation (e.g., Upper Colorado River Commission)


Different agreements on water marketing within and out of state water district

Municipal and Communities

Watering schedules, treatment, domestic use

Table 3.5. Some adaptation options for water supply and demand (the list is not exhaustive).



Prospecting and extraction of groundwater

Improvement of water-use efficiency by recycling water

Increasing storage capacity by building reservoirs and dams

Reduction in water demand for irrigation by changing the cropping calendar,

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