In Morocco, the floods of Ourika, aggravated by climate change, carry many solid waste downstream of the watershed. This waste pollutes drinking water, making residents sick. Our participants compost food waste and sell it. They use disposable plastic bottles to make jewelry and other craft items that they also sell. Re-using this solid waste can thus serve as a waster reduction strategy in the region and in the wadi.
The participants of our study are connected on a Facebook group. During a flood in the Ourika wadi in Morocco, women living upstream of the stream use the Facebook group to warn the women who live downstream to prepare themselves and protect their families and property.
Water scarcity is compounded by weak access to water and climate change. Poor women in informal settlements have weak access to water because they do not have formal land rights. Adapting to climate change requires that rights to land are secure especially under increasing conditions of water scarcity.
This research project was designed to gain a more nuanced understanding of how multiple interacting shocks and risks, including climate variability and HIV/Aids, influence capital stocks, local livelihood choices, and consequently vulnerability and food security. This knowledge was used to inform and support community and municipal adaptation practices, development efforts and regional/national policies. The research took place in two sites in the Eastern Cape of South Africa; Both sites are situated in the communal areas of the Eastern Cape where livelihoods are typically mixed. The results revealed that people in both sites are vulnerable to a range of longer term stressors and short-term shocks, with HIV/Aids being a critical one in terms of its impacts on household assets and future adaptive capacity. Livelihoods were also shown to have changed over time with possible implications for future food security given the decline in arable production and future climate change. Women were in many ways found to be more vulnerable to more stressors than men, but at the same time they were more innovative and creative in terms of responding to risk. Another major component of the project which ran in parallel to the research was a “social learning process”. The project team worked with two elected groups in each community over four years in a facilitated process of knowledge exchange and sharing. This built capacity and agency amongst local people to help them develop and build on their responses to the various vulnerabilities they identified.
The Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) is implementing climate and flood resilient (CFR) houses in two clusters in two villages namely Char Dhushmara and Char Haibat Kha in the sub-district Kaunia upazila of Rangpur district in Bangladesh in the lower Teesta flood plain. The CFR houses are conceptualized based on the traditional community-based “mount and ditch” approach. In this approach, the community digs a ditch near the house and makes the plinth with excavated earth from the ditch. They also plant household use plants/vegetables around the ditch and plinth. The pilot proved positive benefits for the poor who are exposed to climate extremes, mainly to floods, riverine erosion and heat and cold waves.
The steps followed in the process involve: (a) a baseline household survey; (b) community consultations to select potential pilot cluster and assess their preferences and practices; and (c) monitoring and evaluation in a participatory way. The interventions include plinth raising, traditional house reconstruction, as well as improvements to new pre-fabricated wooden and still plate houses imported from Ganges flood plain of central Bangladesh, homestead garden, poultry and livestock, hedge row and tree plantation surrounding the plinth, solar panel, improved cooking stoves, sanitary toilets, tube-wells, and skill development trainings. The technical challenge faced is mainly sandy soil washed away in each flood. For this, slope was protected with naturally abandoned hedge row and tree plantation. Up-scaling would include sharing lessons learned with stakeholders and policy makers; training of local masons and carpenters; and local entrepreneurship development. Large river erosion may be a high risk for CFR houses; however, these houses are quickly portable and thus can be saved from erosion and re-established in another location.
Short term paddy varieties will utilize less water compared to long term varieties. Therefore, shifting to short term varieties will help farmers protect their crops under limited water availability.
People in informal settlements in urban areas often leverage networks with labour contractors or kin from their villages to earn their livelihoods in cities. These strategies are carefully honed and cultivated along lines of caste, ethnicity and linguistic affiliations, and can be considered an adaptation to the new urban environment. These relationships also allow people to manage risk in times of localised floods, access local politicians to protect assets in occurences of disasters, etc.
Increased awareness and uptake of water management practices such as drip and sprinkler irrigation in Karnataka (and to some extent Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra). This behavioural change is not seen in all groups - typically medium to large landholders (>4 acres land) and is facilitated by government subsidies (tribal groups get upto 90% subsidy on the initial cost). Using drip and sprinklers has helped reduce water loss and consumption but has seen a shift towards vegetables and floriculture, crops which are water-intensive.
Women and water are intrinsically linked. The sharp gender division of work makes it women’s responsibility to secure, manage and store water for the household needs; also, a greater dependence of women on natural resources in rural areas make them more vulnerable to extreme climatic events. Furthermore, when coupled with unequal access to resources and to decision-making processes and limited mobility makes women disproportionately vulnerable to climatic shocks and changes. Currently, there is an important lack of gender sensitive strategies to address such environmental and humanitarian crises caused by climate change. It is a well-known fact that the decision-making within the water sector in south Asia is dominated by men at all levels and there is a dearth of women water professionals. It is expected that the framing of policies and implementation of water-related projects would become more gender sensitive if women are consulted at most stages in the planning process. We also consider it important to sensitize a wider group, both men and women, about a gender sensitive orientation of water resource management and climate change adaptation policies. In this context, the South Asia Water (SAWA) Fellowship project has created interdisciplinary water professionals in South Asia that are mainly women who are trained to address water and climate issues scientifically through interdisciplinary lens, beyond nation-state boundaries. The SAWA fellows who have completed the fellowship now hold prominent positions in several areas in water, as policy makers, academics and water practitioners.
The Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN) is a global consortium of individuals and institutions dedicated to the analysis of climate change mitigation and adaptation from an urban perspective. Based at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, the Network is designed to enhance cutting-edge scientific, economic and planning-related research and to promote knowledge-sharing among researchers, decision-makers, and stakeholders about all aspects of climate change and cities. UCCRN aims to institutionalize a sustained, state-of-the-knowledge assessment process of climate change science tailored for urban needs, drawing on the experience of cities across the world as they act to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
The ARC3 report series represents an effort by over 400 authors from cities in developed and developing countries around the world. The reports are the first-ever global, interdisciplinary, cross-regional, science-based assessments to address climate risks, adaptation, mitigation, and policy mechanisms relevant to cities. The Second Assessment Report (ARC3.2), to be published in 2017, presents downscaled climate projections and catalogues urban disasters and risks, along with the effects on human health in cities. ARC3.2 gives concrete solutions for cities in regard to mitigation and adaptation; urban planning and design; equity and environmental justice; economics, finance, and the private sector; critical urban physical and social sectors such as energy, water, transportation, housing and informal settlements, and solid waste management; and governing carbon and climate in cities. Other key topics include ecosystems and biodiversity, and urban coastal zones.