Adapting to climate change: water management for urban resilience

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Marijn Meijering

Authors: M. Muller

Publication Year: 2007


Journal: Environment and Urbanization

Volume: 19

Issue: 1

Categories: Resilience


Global warming and related climate changes arelikely to significantly increase the weather-related risks facing human settlements, including floods, water and power supply failures and associated economic collapse into “failed cities”. Action to help poor urban communities adapt to become more resilient to possible change must therefore be initiated, although to date attention has focused on mitigation rather than adaptation. This paper considers the physical and financial implications for urban areas of the potential impacts of climate variability and change on water resources, illustrated by examples from sub-Saharan Africa, which is likely to be one of the most vulnerable and most affected regions. Water management, which will be particularly affected by climate change, could provide an opportunity to initiate structured adaptation responses. Adaptation costs in the sub-Saharan urban water sector are estimated at between 10 and 20 per cent of current overseas development assistance to the region. This paper suggests that additional funding should be made available in terms of the “polluter pays” principle, and should be channelled through government budgets rather than ring-fenced climate funds. This would help ensure that “climate proofing” is mainstreamed and would be in keeping with current trends in overseas development assistance reflected in the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.


Marijn Meijering