IV International Experts Meeting on Water Management and Climate Change: Dealing with Uncertainties

February 28, 2011 | Zaragoza, Spain

There is now scientific consensus that the world’s climate will steadily change over the next several decades. While there is consensus on the impacts of global warming and its impacts in terms of overall changes in the climatic patterns, scientific forecasts of how it will affect precipitation and streamflows over specific units of water management, like river basins, are fraught with many uncertainties.

Due to complex interactions of changes in the hydrological cycle with global circulation patterns and regional and local weather patterns, increase in energy in the hydrological cycle will not necessarily translate into an increase or decrease in precipitation in different geographical regions. At the present state of knowledge, it is difficult to predict possible changes in even annual average precipitation with any degree of reliability over specific units of water management. The uncertainties rapidly increase when information that is absolutely critical for proper water planning and management cannot be predicted such as the total amount and form of precipitation (rain or snow), their seasonal timings, and their intra-annual changes from year to year. Overall, precipitation may increase or decrease thus changing the current water availability patterns. In addition, the current seasonality may change significantly in many parts of the world and make water management a very difficult and complex process.

The workshop will bring together some of the world’s leading water experts on water and climate change to discuss issues like:

  • Which water management practices can be modified to cope with climatic and other related changes over the next two to three decades which can be considered as a transition period?
  • What type of strategies may be available, or can be developed, to cope with the current and expected uncertainties during this transition period?
  • What type of new water management tools and more reliable climate change models over smaller geographical areas can be developed for more efficient water planning and management practices.
  • What could be the new types of water management strategies that could be applied for specific river basins
  • What could be the processes by which such strategies could be developed.
  • What could be a priority research agenda in terms of dealing with climatic uncertainties adequately and practically in terms of efficient water management.
  • What could be some of the current good practices that may be considered for adoption to deal with the current and expected climate uncertainties?

The workshop will produce a very definitive book on water and climate. It should be noted that such a practical and policy-oriented book simply does not exists at present. This would add to the global visibility and credibility of CIAMA for producing a unique product.


Conference report