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.

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.
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.

12-month planned activities

  1. Conduct a survey to identify areas this task force could bring most value to early career and young professionals      
  2. Establish a social media campaign focused on highlighting IWRA early career and young professional (ECYP) members  
  3. Start a webinar series focused on topics of importance to ECYPs 
  4. Establish partnerships with international young water professional organizations
  5. Develop plan for engaging ECYPs in IWRA’s upcoming congress and other major activities, including the World Water Forum 
  6. Increase membership and engagement of ECYPs in overall IWRA activities

This is the process of planting new trees and creating new forest lands, thereby increasing carbon sequestration, flood protection and stabilising 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.

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.

An important climate mitigation strategy is to change how energy is used in pumping water, either by reducing pumping, changing the supply of energy to “greener” energy, or increasing efficiency of energy use. For example, drinking water and wastewater systems account for about 3 to 4% of energy use in the USA (EPA, Energy Efficiency in Water and Wastewater Facilities). Similarly agriculture is the biggest user of water, and much of that is pumped. UN Water says that one quarter of the energy used globally is expended on food production and supply. The energy, water and climate change working group will explore solutions to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emitting energy use in supplying water. The group will look at supply and demand for technologies, their management and policies to support change to less energy demanding practice.  The first task will be a review article and to lay out the issues. We will also aim to produce a review paper for water international.

From a global perspective, the last 30 years have been the warmest since accurate records began over 100 years ago. The period has also been remarkable for the frequency and intensity of extremes of weather and climate, including increased rainfall in intensity and amount, increasing the likelihood of flooding.  The working group will cover issues of flood risk, urban infrastructure and transportation, policy and regulations, insurance, landslides, early warning systems and climate change.

With climate change, and temperatures rising faster at higher elevations, mountains around the world are experiencing high glacier and snow melt compounded with changing precipitation patterns.  The consequences are changing river flow patterns which serve cities, ecosystems and agriculture.  Often times the rivers are transboundary in nature.  For example, the Hindu Kush-Himalaya In spite of the possibly high economic and environmental consequences, less is known about the impacts and how to manage them. This working group, led by David Molden, will prepare a policy brief and overview paper for Water International.

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.

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.

Dr. David Molden is the Director General of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) an intergovernmental knowledge organisation 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.

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. 

Marie Chapuis is a Water Resources Management Specialist working at the World Bank, with regional experience from Europe and Central Asia, East Africa and East Asia and the Pacific. Marie has been leading the floods agenda in Bulgaria by supporting the Government in the preparation of the second cycle Flood Risk Management Plans, in compliance with the Floods Directive. Previously, Marie supported governments in East Asia and the Pacific in accessing climate finance from multilateral and bilateral donors, by designing projects with a thematic focus on water security and climate change adaptation. Marie is an economist and holds a B.S.c. degree in Economics from Bocconi University, a M.A. in International Economics and Finance from Chulalangkorn University and a M.Sc. in Environmental Management from SOAS, University of London.

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.

Mihretab Gebretsadik Tedla is a Water Resources, Hydrology and Environment oriented engineer. Mihretab holds a double MSc in Engineering from Sungkyunkwan University and Addis Ababa University. He is interested in doing researches related to water resource, climate change and flooding. He has work experience in both the governmental and private sectors, including an internship in South Korea. He also worked for the Ethiopian Basins Development Authority and Ministry of Water Irrigation and Electricity where he contributed to projects implementation related to hydro-met, water resource and disaster risk management, such as Early Action Protocol (EAP) for Forecast-based Financing (FbF) Program in Ethiopia.

Malcolm has thirty years’ experience conducting environmental management and aquifer restoration in North America, Europe and China. He is a practicing hydrogeologist with a Ph.D. in international water law and transboundary waters and he works as a Remedial Project Manager, U.S. Department of Defense.

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.

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.

Pedro Torres is an expert in urban planning and climate change from University of São Paulo (USP). He has a wide experience in interdisciplinary research and projects involving policy, inequality and social dimensions of climate-water related issues. He was involved in the experts review group of 10 New Insights in Climate Science 2019, by Future Earth and the Earth League. He is currently a research fellow of the Earth System Project and IPCC Expert Review (report AR6, WG 2). He has also worked for the São Paulo City Hall at the Environment Secretary, and international organizations as the ITDP (Institute for Transportation and Development Policy) and ICLEI (Local governments for sustainability). Recently he published a chapter on Water Security and the Sustainable Development Goals published at the Global Water Security Issues (GWSI) Paper Series,  co-published by UNESCO Headquarters and UNESCO i-WSSM.


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