Forum Synthesis Report Issued

A synthesis report of the 2015 International Water and Climate Forum is now available. To develop the 12-page synthesis, the 27 Forum presentations were analyzed for common themes. Six key themes were identified and the synthesis discussion is organized by these six topic areas. Nine key take-away points were identified from the event. The key points are:

  1. Water challenges are now recognized as key climate change impacts.
  2. The water sector is responding to climate change by reimagining and reinventing itself – going from reactive to proactive, from drought management to drought anticipation, from flood control to stormwater management and harvesting, from silos to “one water” management integrated with community spatial planning.
  3. Uncertainty need not be a deterrent to action, as research efforts and practitioner experience have produced methods, tools and implementation strategies that embrace uncertainty, preserve options, plan for multiple futures and use diversification to manage risks.
  4. Cities around the world have proven adaptation success is possible by tackling prolonged drought, severe storage capacity constraints, massive rainfall events and intense storms with workable, locally tailored climate adaptation responses.
  5. Collaboration and partnerships are fundamental elements of effective climate change response; adaptation efforts need to reflect integrated planning and execution across the water cycle and across governmental responsibility areas.
  6. Climate adaptation and mitigation requires substantial resources, and successful approaches to funding include better integration of climate impact considerations into core infrastructure investment strategy, as well as seeking a mix of sources for financing, including various forms of public-private partnerships.
  7. With an understanding of the high interdependency between water and energy, water sector practitioners have moved to reduce the energy, and greenhouse gas, intensity of water.
  8. Resilient water requires a resilient community and vice versa; the Forum spotlighted broad-based sustainability plans that integrate water management with the physical, economic and social fabric of communities.
  9. Climate change adaptation success relies on effective engagement, partnerships and a knowledgeable, trusting, and supportive community, and these require effective communication.

The report also includes an appendix of supplemental information – global community examples that illustrate how utilities are addressing climate challenges to build resilience. The important lessons learned from the Forum can be considered and implemented by utilities of all shapes and sizes across the world.