Water

Improving the resilience of water systems worldwide

In the midst of ever-growing global demand for fresh water, an increase in climate variability has strained existing water systems. As our climate continues to change, applying science to help manage our vital water resources creatively and sustainably is critically important.

Growing populations, shifting land-use patterns, changing lifestyles, and increasing reliance on hydro-electric power have heightened the demands on the global supply of fresh water. The combination of climatic uncertainty with increased demand makes it essential that water managers use the best climate information available. Advances in hydroclimatic science provide rich new opportunities for “climate-smart” water management.

These advances — including better data sets, more accurate models, and improved forecasts — provide opportunities to facilitate policies and operations that can support urban planning, resolve multi-user conflicts, improve resilience to droughts and floods, and contribute to the sustainable achievement of development goals.

IRI works with water systems at various scales and focuses on the advantage that climate-informed decision-making holds for achieving integrated water resources management. This approach helps developing countries use scarce water resources more efficiently. It also helps them to manage the risks associated with climate variability and change. The IRI works with key research partners, stakeholders, and water resource managers to identify system vulnerabilities and find the right strategies for diverse users. In doing so, it takes advantage of the combined expertise of climate scientists, water resource engineers, and development-policy specialists.