The Mekong River and its tributaries are critical waterways that support the economy and food supply chains of both Cambodia and Lao PDR. However, these waterways also present a significant risk. Flooding and drought events are becoming increasingly erratic, longer, and more intense as a result of the compounding effects of anthropogenic climate change. In support of the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) in the Mekong River basin, appropriate data collection, integrated management of data and proper analysis are crucial as a basis for decision-making and policy development. There have been numerous efforts in data collection, analysis, and monitoring by relevant key stakeholders such as MRC, MoWRAM, NCDM and other development partners. Those systems have been developed to track climate information, provide basic data for risk-informed technical planning at the national and local level. However, data availability and the ability to contextualize information at local level remain a big challenge for Cambodia, which leads to the persistence of misinformation and misunderstanding of risks associated with living near the Mekong River and its tributaries.

In 2021, UNDP received funding from Ministry of Environment the Government of Republic of Korea for the project “Enhancing Integrated Water Management and Climate Resilience in Vulnerable Urban Areas of the Mekong River Basin”. This project looks to address gaps in data collection management and analysis, enhance institutional and technical capacity at the subnational level for integrated climate and flood risk management, enhance availability of resources for investment in water-related risk reduction, and aid the flow of risk knowledge and coordination across the borders of Cambodia and Lao PDR. Key outputs include (i) technical studies on flood propagation models, hydrometeorological disasters forecasting models, capacity assessment, and improvement of risk monitoring systems and early warning system (EWS), (ii) capacity building design for climate change risk assessments, and hazard/vulnerability mapping using open source software, and (iii) design and piloting of disaster risk management initiatives at the community level.

FutureWater was hired by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Cambodia to provide strategic and technical support to the successful delivery of Mekong urban resilience project on its current and further initiatives to promote climate risk informed integrated water resource management in the target 3S and 4P river basins in Cambodia. This includes a close collaboration with the project team to design project intervention strategies through building alignment with existing efforts and ensuringe that the project is part of a bigger system of disaster risks informed water resources management in the target river basins.

With over 1,850 km of 500kV lines, 6,200 km of 220kV lines and 15,300 km of 110kV lines, the power transmission system in Uzbekistan is facing challenges with respect to deteriorating infrastructure and unreliable power supply. To address these issues, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is assisting the Government of Uzbekistan through the “Uzbekistan Power Transmission Improvement Project” which aims to: i) improve the power transmission network capacity and reliability in the northwest region of the country, ii) reduce transmission losses, and iii) improve the operational efficiency of the power sector. This will be done through the i) construction of a new 220kV single-circuit overhead transmission line spanning over 364 km, ii) expansion, rehabilitation, and construction of 3 substations and iii) capacity building and institutional development.

Additionally, given the growing impacts of climate change in the region, FutureWater has been assigned to carry out a climate risk and adaptation assessment for 12 transmission lines and 2 substations in the country. FutureWater will make use of state-of-the-art downscaled Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) ensembles, and other relevant hazards and local information to develop this CRA. The insights from this assessment will enable ADB to justify climate financing for further enhancing the climate resilience of the grid system. Moreover, through the adoption of climate-resilient technologies and adaptation measures based on the climate risk assessment, the country will be able to cut down on their GHG emissions and ensure uninterrupted power supply in light of a changing climate. This will be complimented by deriving adaptation costs to justify the need for climate financing. In addition, FutureWater will also be reviewing the existing meteorological monitoring network and recommending additional potential monitoring sites for improved surveillance in the country.

To facilitate the needs of ZIPAK, this training aims to build data-driven capacities relevant to sustainable nature conservation practices and ecosystem-based natural resources management in Iran:

  • Leveraging the Climate Change Knowledge Portal (CCKP) for performing climate risk and vulnerability assessments
  • Leveraging the online dashboard Earth Map for environmental hazard mapping and socio-economic risk assessments
  • Applying the InVest model (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs) for assessing ecosystem service provision

The training focuses on knowledge and skills development and how how to meaningfully integrate these capabilities into ZIPAK’s objectives on sustainable management of the environment and natural resources.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) identified the need for a detailed Climate Risk and Adaptation (CRA) assessment for the DKSHEP to understand the risk posed by the changing climate on hydropower and the environment. Therefore, the objective of this Climate Risk and Adaptation Assessment (CRA) is to assess the vulnerability of the project components to future climate change and recommend adaptation options for climate-proofing of the design. Therefore, this CRA covers both type 2 adaptation, related to system change and resilience building, as well as type 1 adaptation related to climate-proofing This CRA assesses historic trends in relevant climate-related variables and analyses climate projections for the DKSHEP. Based on these projections, an assessment of the current and future climate risks and vulnerabilities relating to the proposed project activities will be outlined. Finally, recommendations will be presented for climate adaptation measures.

UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. As some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, UNCCD especially addresses these drylands. Productive capacities in drylands are threatened by megatrends such as climate change and land degradation, where changing precipitation and temperature potentially exacerbate processes of degradation and where degraded lands make productive systems more vulnerable to impacts of climate change.

UNCCD therefore aims to support the reorientation of productive capacities towards sustainable and resilient patterns, in order to reverse the impact of land degradation and mitigate climate change impact. To this end, UNCCD is interested in the identification of regions and crops at a particularly high risk of land degradation and climate change impact. The outcomes of this activity should support informing of national governments of risk profiles of their main cash crops and, subsequently, support identification of alternatives for value chains that are projected to become insufficiently productive in the future.

Subsequent work will link towards opportunities around other megatrends such as population changes, consumption patterns, energy and shifting geopolitical patterns present in the identification of new value chains.

The study will focus on selection of key traded crops between the EU and Africa and their key producing regions. The tasks will include overall analysis of current practices and the background in the regions, determination of key sensitive parameters in order to select key crops and food products and map hotspot regions. In addition, project team will assess climate risks for these hotspots on key crops and food products and link these risks with the importing countries. Climate risks will be assessed by identifying the multiple climate sensitivities on the food systems in each region, assessing changes predicted by a CMIP6 (latest) climate model ensemble on key agriculture-related climate indices, and analysing impacts on production-related indices, distinguishing between rainfed and irrigated production systems. It will be focused on country specific case studies in each partner country. The impacts of climate change on trade patterns will be evaluated to assess the carbon- and water footprints and virtual water profiles of key traded commodities of these countries. At the end, the project team will focus on policy relevance and assessment of adaptation strategies and identify interventions that will be needed, at which point in the system, and from which sector (or actor) is of interest.

The outcomes of CREATE will be used to increase awareness of the risks that climate change poses to the agro-food trade and the broader economy at large. They can contribute to efforts by the governments (macro-scale), the communities (meso-scale), as well as relevant agricultural producers (micro scale) in the case study countries, by providing essential information for promoting actions towards mitigating the negative consequences of climate change on agro-food trade.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) seeks to develop a new climate and disaster risk screening and assessment tool to replace the current tool in use. The next generation tool will embody lessons learned over almost ten years of ADB activities aimed at improving the climate and disaster resilience of ADB investments, including inputs from a wide range of ADB staff and consultants.

The tool will be designed to provide scientifically credible and context specific screening of projects for risks associated with climate, climate change and a range of geophysical hazards at project concept stage in order to guide subsequent activities, including the design of adaptation and resilience strategies and interventions.

The next generation tool will provide greater access to the underlying data, greater flexibility in user-initiated exploration of specific risks, greater scope for screening more spatially complex projects such as road networks and power grids. The tool will also include a module that allows a light-touch Climate Risk and Adaptation (CRA) assessment to be produced, semi-automatically. Future modules will support Paris Alignment and automated completion of applicable sections of the adaptation (BB2) assessment.and will be expanded to provide a basis for more detailed climate risk and adaptation assessments as appropriate.

The methodology behind the tool is being developed by a specialized team of experts in which FutureWater provides expertise on climate and hazard data, climate model projections, and climate risk assessments. The methodology is based on an iterative and consultative process with an external expert group, ADB staff and experts on software development and user experience design. The methodology defines the risk calculation based on hazard, exposure and vulnerability spatial and project data, and user inputs.
The tool will also become available for ADB member countries. Two pilots in Laos and Uzbekistan will make sure that the tool will align with their requirements and datasets.

FutureWater is involved in testing the methodology in these pilot countries and developing example risk screening and CRA reports.

Nepal’s freshwater availability and timing are under thread by extreme temperature and precipitation variations, changing monsoon patterns, melting of ice caps and glaciers, and reduced snow cover. Some initial estimated economic cost of climate change in agriculture, hydropower and water induced disasters show a number of up to 2-3% of GDP per year by 2050.

The proposed project aims to improve landscape-scale adaptation and disaster risk management through a set of outputs:

  1. Climate-smart landscape management practices adopted and enhanced
  2. Climate-resilient rural livelihoods developed
  3. Integrated disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation approaches
  4. Capacities of local communities, regional and national decision-makers, and institutions on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction strengthened

FutureWater developed a so-called “Problem Tree” analysis for the proposed project. A Problem Tree is a helpful tool to understand the relationships between a problem, its causes, and its effects. The trunk of the tree represents the main problem, the roots the causes of the problem, and the branches the direct and indirect effects of the problem.

The project will be further developed as a so-called Climate Change Adaptation Project. More traditional development projects include also climate proofing, but focus is on development investments and adaptation is a secondary objective. Although those development projects contribute to adaptation (by helping the proposed asset or activity being financed to adapt to identified physical climate risks to the asset/activity), the primary objective of such a project is not adaptation. Climate Change Adaptation Projects are intentionally designed to enable climate adaptation of a high-risk topics. This is achieved by supporting outputs and activities that reduce the impacts of current and future expected climate risks and/or address barriers to adaptation, thereby advancing resilience. So this Climate Change Adaptation Project is meant to advance Nepal’s goal on adaptation.

FutureWater has undertaken a country wide climate risk screening as starting point for further project specific assessments. Main conclusions in the context of the program objectives were that by increased temperatures water supply will be challenged by the risk that water demand will increase and that at the same that supply will reduce by higher evaporation from catchments. Also waste water treatment will face the risk of reduced efficiencies.

India’s number of warm days and nights are expected to increase up to 70%. Water supply, wastewater treatment and urban water bodies will face same challenges as by increased temperature but more intense during those days. Similarly, heat waves are projected to be 3 to 4 times higher by the end of the twenty-first century. The result will be that water supply, waste water treatments and urban water bodies will face same challenges as under increased temperature but even more pronounced during those heat wave periods.

An increase in mean precipitation is uncertain according to various climate projection. If this increase will happen the impact on the three program components (water supply, waste water, urban water bodies) will be manageable. However, a decrease in mean precipitation is projected as well according to some climate scenarios. If this will happen then water supply will be at high risk of water shortages by a higher demand from users and a reduction in supply from rivers, streams and in the longer run from groundwater. An increase in daily precipitation extremes is quite likely to happen according to most climate scenario. Risk of additional flooding will increase.

The analysis concluded that since the location where projects will be implemented in the context of this program has to be defined yet, only generic conclusions relevant for the entire country could be provided. It was highly advised that for each specific project that will be implemented a detailed Climate Risk Assessment has to be undertaken.

The goal of the Asian Development Bank project ‘Renewable Energy for Climate Resilience’ in Bhutan is to diversify Bhutan’s energy portfolio. Bhutan’s power sector almost exclusively relies on hydropower generation. Hydropower, however, is vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters caused by climate change. The first deployment of non-hydro renewables at utility scale in Bhutan will be the first step to diversify the power generation portfolio, increase the resilience against severe weather events such as droughts, and complement the hydropower generation profile during the dry season. Other renewable energy resources such as solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind can complement hydropower in forming a more diversified electricity generation portfolio, which is, in healthy mix, resilient to changes in seasonal weather patterns and weather extremes that can adversely affect power supply.

Within this project ADB develops two solar and one wind plant. FutureWater has undertaken a Climate Risk and Adaptation assessment (CRA) for these power plants, with a two-fold objective:

  1. Validate the underlying rationale for diversification of Bhutan’s energy generation portfolio. The rationale is that more unreliable flows under climate change adversely affect the hydropower generation, in particular in the low flow season outside the monsoon season. This are the seasons with high potential for solar and wind energy, under the current climate conditions. The diversification of Bhutan’s energy generation portfolio is considered as type 2 adaptation, related to system change and resilience building in the climate change context.
  2. Assess the vulnerability of the project components to future climate change and recommend adaptation options for climate-proofing of the design. This is considered as type 1 adaptation, related to climate proofing.

The rationale for diversification is related to the expectation that climate change impacts on the cryosphere and hydrology in Bhutan will lead to less reliable flows, in particular outside the monsoon season. This will make hydropower a less reliable source of energy, which may not be sufficient during the dry season. During these periods outside the monsoon season, the climate in Bhutan is characterized by clear skies and daily patterns of wind. This intuitively makes solar and wind suitable energy sources to complement hydropower.

The CRA concludes that this rationale holds when validated with future scenarios of climate change and hydrological changes. These project more erratic flows, meaning on one hand more extremes on the high end (floods), in itself posing risks for hydropower infrastructure, but also through increasing sediment loads and risks of exposure to landslides and glacier lake outburst floods. On the other hand, a small increase in frequency and length of hydrological droughts is projected. Furthermore, projections of wind speed and incoming solar radiation indicate more or less stable conditions compared to the present day climate, further substantiating the rationale for portfolio diversification.

For adaptation and climate proofing the main recommendation is to verify that the proposed drainage systems at the sites are sized for extreme flows that are 20-30% larger in magnitude than current extremes. This is valid across return periods. The second high priority recommendation is to design foundations of solar, wind, and transmission infrastructure to withstand increased erosion rates and substantially increased risk of landslides in landslide prone areas. A third recommendation is to take into account lower production for solar panels at increased frequency of heat stress, as well as in the sizing of capacity of transmission infrastructure, which may have reduced capacity during periods of high heat stress.