Technologies for Climate Change Adaptation – The Water Sector

This guidebook aims to provide expert information on the technologies most relevant for climate change
adaptation in the water sector in developing countries. It is meant to be a practical tool for use by a broad range of stakeholders, including those in governmental agencies, water utilities, community water boards, non-governmental organizations, and private sector companies.

Adaptation is an essential element of human response to climate change. The adverse impacts of climate
change on the water sector will be experienced worldwide and are often projected to be most severe
in resource-poor countries. Therefore, it is necessary to have access to a diverse array of adaptation
technologies and practices that are appropriate and affordable in various contexts. The scale of these
adaptation technologies/practices should range from the individual household level (e.g. household water treatment), to the community scale (e.g. rainwater collection in small reservoirs), to large facilities that can benefit a city or region (e.g. a desalination plant).

The guidebook first reviews the projected impacts of climate change on the water sector. It then addresses the role of adaptation in the water sector and six typologies under which available strategies are categorized. Eleven technologies and practices are given detailed treatment in this guidebook and four others are covered briefly. While these do not constitute all of the adaptation technologies available in the water sector, they do represent many of the most important adaptation technologies for developing countries.

For each of the 11 adaptation technologies and practices, the following are addressed: basic description,
contribution to climate change and development, institutional and capacity building requirements,
costs, barriers and opportunities for implementation, and extensive reference to external resources
and case studies. The practical steps and appropriate contexts for implementation are covered in the
following chapter.

Technologies for Climate Change Adaptation – The Water Sector. TNA Guidebook Series. M. Elliott, A. Armstrong, J. Lobuglio, J. Bartram. 2011. Roskilde, Denmark: UNEP Risoe Centre. Available at: