Back to search

The Water Security for Climate Resilience Report, released this month by the University of Oxford-led REACH research programme

Urgent action is needed to protect global water security from the impacts of climate and climate change, according to the report from Oxford’s REACH programme.

This report presents a synthesis of published and ongoing research by REACH which explores the relationship between water security, climate and climate adaptation decisions, drawing on findings from REACH research conducted in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. 

The authors demonstrate the unequal impact of climate on water security, and on people’s lives and livelihoods, which can be counter-intuitive to broad narratives around resilience and adaptation. They exemplify the impact of seasonal fluctuations in weather on surface and groundwater quality and quantity, and show that water security risks evolve with shifting climate conditions, water use behaviours, and policy decisions.

The authors also present a deepened understanding of location- and context specific climate issues and dynamics, revealing a pressing need to consider and plan for different distributional impacts of climate and climate change.

The Summary presents the main findings and recommendations of the Water Security for Climate Resilience Report. 

Emphasizing the need for research and planning, while highlighting the unequal and complex impact of climate on water security, the report makes three key recommendations:

  • More accurate and granular analysis of climate risks is needed to increase relevance of climate information.
  • Metrics for monitoring climate resilience in water systems are critical to track progress and inform investments for water security.
  • New institutional models that improve water security are critical for climate resilience.

Dr Katrina Charles, REACH co-director, says, ‘Climate change will increasingly affect water availability and quality, with devastating consequences for the most vulnerable. Improving water security is critical to build resilience to the changing climate.’

‘Improving water security is essential to achieve environmental protection, economic growth, poverty reduction, and improvements in public health. Water security is often presented as a technical challenge, but the decisions that define it are deeply political.

‘REACH recognises that the risks to people affected by poverty are often neither identified nor addressed. Improving water security requires managing complex and competing water-related risks in order to deliver sustainable and equitable outcomes for all.’

ABOUT : REACH is a nine-year programme (2015-2024) led by Oxford University with international consortium of partners and funded with UK Aid Direct from the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

Further reading from UNCCD library 📚 water security ;  📚 water footprint  ;  📚 water stress  ;  📚 water harvesting