Dr Cristina Rumbaitis Del Rio from Action on Climate Today (ACT) initiative joined as a panelist on ‘Water for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security’ session at the Water Action Day side event at COP 23. She highlighted the following principles that are important for planning and implementing long-term climate resilient water management strategies:
- Asking the climate change question: Cristina stressed on the need to ask questions to diagnose the risks and impacts. What are the impacts of climate change? What are the risks associated with climate change? The idea is to use evidence and information to guide the directionality of adaptation measures planned for water security.
- Precautionary principle: Maintaining the buffer systems and efficiently planning the utilisation of available natural resources. For eg., conserving wetlands, water saving measures, groundwater management, etc.
- Planning for surprises: It is important to plan for the uncertain changes to happen. Long term planning is important to prepare our systems for unpredictable and extreme impacts of climate change. For e.g. incremental and shock responsive infrastructure development, scenario planning, etc.
- Scaling up by institutionalisation: Uptake of best practices and projects and scaling them up via government institutional systems. Institutionalisation of resilient measures through policies, programmes and actions plans helps to integrate adaptation actions in development planning processes.
She also shared successful example of the ACT supported flood early warning system in Odisha taken up by the government to improve flood management in the Mahanadi basin of Odisha state. The flood forecasting tool is helping the state government to protect millions of vulnerable people from frequent flooding in the region as well as long term reservoir management.