Water & Climate Change Task Force

IWRA has formed a Water & Climate Change Task Force to help further the Association’s work on effectively bridging water and climate change science with policy development.

Why Focus on Water & Climate Change?

Climate Change will increasingly impact water resources and the way we use water for agriculture, cities, industries with environmental consequences.  There are several climate and water challenges that need to be addressed in the future.  The first is how to adapt and build more resilience into our water management systems.  The second is how to manage water to reduce our carbon footprint and greenhouse gases, given that the energy requirements of water management are significant, and at the same time there is potential for hydropower.  The third challenge is to anticipate how the world will respond to climate change, understand the impact, and be better prepared as we are entering new areas as far as geoengineering and carbon removal from the atmosphere.

Why Focus on Water & Climate Change?

The IWRA Water & Climate Change Task Force was formed to position the Association in discussions of water and climate change.  The task force’s role is to identify topics of interest from IWRA membership, work in an interdisciplinary way to better understand the issues and develop solutions, and to engage in policy at country, regional and in international processes like UNFCCC. 

The Task Force will form working groups drawn from the IWRA membership to produce concept notes, academic research, policy briefs or webinars around various topics of interest. 

It will also help to coordinate and support IWRA’s presence in international events such as the UNFCCC COP.

Call for Working Groups for Action

IWRA is seeking participation by all interested members in the development of three topics directly related to water and climate change:

    1.  Afforestation
    2.  Carbon Dioxide Removal Strategies
    3.  Water Pollution

In the future more working groups will formed depending on members’ interests.  IWRA members are encouraged to get in touch with the Task Force to let us know you areas of interest, or key messages that IWRA should pursue with regards to climate change and water.

Members are encouraged to contact the leads and contribute to the development of the finalized Focus Areas of their choice. The working groups will decide outputs of their joint work including issue or policy briefs, academic papers, webinars, and conferences.  The work product of each Working Group will be used as a basis for presentation at the World Water Congress in Daegu in September in the form of presentations or special sessions or walk-up booths. Proper recognition will be provided to Working Group members who provided all their help and assistance on publications, events, presentations and projects.

More topics will be introduced in the future, but for now, we are seeking working group members in these areas.

  • Afforestation. This is the process of planting new trees and creating new forest lands, thereby increasing carbon sequestration, flood protection and stabilizing soils. These advantages along with shortcomings posed by a lack of biodiversity and reductions in recharge will be explored, along with case studies from Ethiopia and Pakistan.


  • Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) Strategies. The Paris Agreement and IPCC have called for deployment of various negative carbon emission measures over the next decades. In partnership with the French Water Partnership, an analysis of the benefits and risks of CDR strategies will be explored. Examples include bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and agriculture, forestry and other land-use (AFOLU); a formalized literature search on these strategies will be conducted.


  • Water Pollution. In many areas, the water quality of surface water and groundwater is being increasingly degraded due to factors including a lack of human waste management, urbanization, and agricultural practices. The influence of climate change on these developing concerns will be analyzed in the context of existing man-made and naturally-occurring water pollution. Existing and emerging water quality restoration technologies will be presented.

Introducing the IWRA Task Force

A recent recruit from the French Water Partnership (FWP), Alexandre Alix coordinates a multi-stakeholder working group on the theme of water and climate change. Their priority is placing water at the heart of adaptation to climate change and taking into account its role in mitigation. After earning a Masters degree in Water Sciences, he started his career at the UNESCO Centre of Montpellier (ICIReWaRD) as a project engineer. 

After working for 6 years as a researcher in planetary and Earth sciences related to international space missions, Dr. Jennifer Fernando graduated in environmental policy from Sciences Po Paris. She then worked as a program officer at the French Water Partnership, coordinating a working group of French multi-stakeholders on Water and Climate change and promoting water and climate-related issues and solutions at the international levels. She is now an independent consultant in environmental strategy. She provides stakeholders with guidance in their decision-making for a more sustainable management of natural resources taking into account socio-economic, climate, and environmental issues using space-based Earth observation. As a facilitator, she also helps in the formulation and implementation of projects based on the use of space data for better natural resource management involving multi-stakeholders.

Originally trained in irrigation engineering and water management, Dr. Ineke Kalwij further specialized in groundwater after developing an interest in this field during her work in applied research with the International Water Management Institute in Pakistan. She pursued a Ph.D. in groundwater with a focus on systems analysis and optimization, applied to groundwater contamination remediation. She resides in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada, and works in the field of hydrogeology and groundwater engineering through her own consultancy. Her main interests are in water source development, groundwater protection, and global groundwater issues. She teaches seminars/ workshops in groundwater resources and protection, tailored towards professionals, with as main goal creating groundwater awareness.

Mr Aslam Khan is a retired Brig Gen from Pakistan Army. He has diverse experience, having worked, apart from Army, for the Prime Minister’s Secretariat. He holds a Master in Political Science, and also an MBA. Aslam held key appointments at the national level including CEO of WAPDA, Gas and Electricity Company. Presently, he heads an NGO – Gomal Damaan Area Water Partnership (GDAWP), working in the water sector. He is both an accomplished speaker and writer. Aslam is part of various think tanks working with national and international forums. He is member of PTI, the ruling political party of Pakistan and heads the Pakistan Economy Watch.

Dr Anita Meldrum BSc CEng FIChemE MBA PhD CMALT SFHEA

Anita is a chartered chemical engineer and has been a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers since 1989. She was the first woman to chair its professional standards committee and to be elected to its Council. She has an MBA in international business and a PhD in the field of worker engagement in health and safety management in the construction industry.

She is certified CMALT and has professional recognition as Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She worked for 25+ years in the water industry in roles from process engineering and project management to strategy, sales and marketing. Her last corporate role was in the electronics industry, at board level with responsibility for Motorola UK environment, health and safety management. She later became an environmental, health and safety consultant and carried out research for both public and private sector clients on sustainability and EHS management matters.

Anita is currently a Senior Lecturer in Water Engineering at Glasgow Caledonian University, having been a full time lecturer for the last ten years within the school of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment. She teaches water resource engineering, as well as a range of environmental, water and climate justice topics. Her main research areas are in the fields of water resource engineering and management, flood management, and water access and community engagement in the developing world. She is a Certified Member of the Association of Learning Technologies and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Anita is currently director of studies for three students investigating water issues in Nigeria, and is second supervisor for three students researching water, waste management and climate justice topics.

Dr. David Molden, IWRA Executive Board Member, is the Director General of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) an intergovernmental knowledge organization dedicated to mountains and people of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region.  Now in his second term, David Molden has been instrumental in positioning ICIMOD as a regional organization working within and across eight countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan) in fields such as climate change, adaptation and resilience building, ecosystem management, the cryosphere, air pollution, water resource management, and information systems. David has been instrumental in the development of the Himalayan University Consortium to promote academic learning and exchange, and the Hindu Kush Himalayan Assessment, an IPCC like assessment that lays out policy options for sustainable development in region. He is now formulating the HKH Science Policy Forum to bring countries together to jointly address issues of mountain environment, livelihoods, and regional cooperation. David has promoted regional cooperation in one of the least integrated regions worldwide, by using science and development for diplomacy.

Dr Molden comes from a background specializing in water resource management and sustainable mountain development with an interest in integrating social, technical, and environmental aspects of natural resources management. He has experience in leading and implementing development and research work across Asia and Africa, and is now leading ICIMOD at the interface of science, policy and practice to help bring knowledge into use for societal benefits. Prior to joining ICIMOD he was the Deputy Director General for Research at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) based in Sri Lanka which was awarded the Crystal Drop Award and Stockholm Water Prize for work carried out during his tenure (1995 to 2011). He has contributed to the publication of over 250 works in books, refereed journals, research reports, the media, and educational materials. He has received many awards including the Outstanding Scientist Award of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in 2009.

Raya Marina Stephan is an expert in water law, and an international consultant in water related projects with international organizations. She has a wide experience in the design and execution of international projects related to legal and institutional aspects of water management, and transboundary waters. She was involved in the experts advisory group of UNESCO’s International Hydrological Program to the Special Rapporteur of the UN International Law Commission for the preparation of the draft articles on the law of transboundary aquifers. She has also advised on the application of international water law for the UN Economic Commission for Europe and the Arab League. She was a member of the Publications Committee of the International Water Resources Association (IWRA) (2010-2012), and she chaired it and served on the Executive Board from 2013-2015. Ms Stephan is the author of numerous publications related to water law and international water law. She is also the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Water International.

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