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Water Demand Management: A strategic climatic change adaptive strategy in water-scarce MENA? ( see also abstracts 535 and 539 )

Congress: 2008
Author(s): Lamia El-Fattal(1), Hammou Laamrani(1), Guy Jobbins(1), Eglal Rached(1), Wael El-Khairy(2)
(1) International Development Research Centre (2) Arab Water Council & Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation 5th floor, Imbaba, Giza, Postal Code 12666, Egypt Phone: +202 544 - 9420 Fax : + 202 544 - 9470

Keyword(s): Water demand management, Middle East and North Africa, Climate change, adaptive capacity
AbstractThere is now solid evidence of the changes taking place in the global climate system with impacts on ecosystems, human health and livelihoods. There is also some evidence that climate change (CC) is exacerbating both water quantity and quality problems, particularly in water scarce regions which appear to be more vulnerable to weather extreme events such as recurrent and prolonged droughts. Predictions foresee that the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) will be hit the hardest by climate change. Water scarcity in this region is likely to be aggravated by the increasing demand for water of a rapidly growing population, decreasing renewable water resources and a reduction in water quality. One study predicts a decline of 1-7% in GDP as a result of CC affects on water resources in MENA . Economic diversification and the social adaptive capacity could alleviate the social, economic and environmental impact of water scarcity in specific contexts . We argue that water demand management (WDM) is a strategic adaptive strategy to the current challenge of water scarcity and will be become more so as climatic variability and change impacts intensify. We further argue that WDM increases social resilience and contributes to “preparedness policies,” as opposed to the current “responsiveness-policies” to CC in MENA. Objectives 1. Identify the drivers of change in water policy reform processes; 2. Assess the level of integration of climate change issues into water policy and the level of integration of water demand management as an adaptive strategy in CC policies. Using the above knowledge, explore options and opportunities for WDM as an appropriate adaptive management strategy in the context of CC. 3. Map out the emerging institutions/organizations with a mandate/potential related to water management and CC preparedness in the region and determine their institutional capacity strengthening needs. Methodology A set of tools will be combined to achieve the above objectives, including two political economy studies on WDM; an online cross-section survey in 9 countries in MENA involved in the in the Water Demand Initiative ; two regional policy workshops and a desk review of WDM and CC policy nexus. Expected Results A better conceptual understanding of WDM as an adaptive strategy to climate change is articulated and shared at the regional level this knowledge contributes to regional guidelines to integrate WDM in CC preparedness policies and strategies.
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