This working paper by the Challenge Program for Water and Food explores the intersection between water management, climate change, and adaptation in the Ganges River system, a basin vital to the security, economy, and environment of South Asia.
Recognizing that an understanding of both the science and the policy of water management, climate change, and adaptation is rapidly evolving, it is not the intention of the paper to encompass all the issues related to these broad fields, but rather to provide a starting framework from which to further develop research questions and priorities for work in water and adaptation.
As such, the aim of the paper is to advance the understanding of key issues in this critical basin and to identify strategies for improving water management and adaptation. In meeting this goal the paper is structured into the following sections:
- Section 1 is a general summing up of the discussion on water, climate change and adaptation.
- Section 2 provides an overview of water resources and changing circumstances in the Ganges basin.
- Section 3 takes an in-depth look at the experienced and anticipated impacts of climate change through water on ecosystems, agriculture, energy, and health in the region.
- Section 4 examines institutional mechanisms in place for water governance within the basin as well as commitments by each country government to adaptation.
- Section 5 proposes strategies for improving water and adaptation.
- Section 6 discusses five key barriers to the development and implementation of adaptation strategies.
The impacts of climate change through water will be felt across sectors. The paper provides an in-depth look at how the experienced and anticipated effects of climate change on water resources will impact key sectors. Particular attention is paid to how changes in water quantity, quality, and extreme events are likely to affect ecosystems, agriculture, energy, and human health within the Ganges river basin.
In doing so, it highlights not only the critical consequences of climate change, but also the interconnectedness of each sector and the cross-cutting effects of various changing circumstances.
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