River Basin Planning as a Measure for Climate Adaptation

Increased pressure on water resources due to climate change and other factors such as population growth, urbanisation and shifts in land use means that water management needs to address both people’s needs for the resource but also the impacts of extreme hydrological events such as floods and droughts. River basin planning is an important tool for facilitating the dialogue required to tackle water-related challenges and address climate change adaptation, while strengthening collaboration.

There is increasing interest in how the reform of basin planning can itself be framed as a measure for climate adaptation. To further explore this perspective, AWP commissioned the development of a briefing note to:

  • Identify features/principles/design elements that characterise adaptive reforms to river basin planning as a climate adaptation measure; and
  • Explore the concept of water reforms to river basin management as an adaptation approach with examples from within Australia and the Indo-Pacific region.

This briefing note:

  • Presents guiding principles and practical tools for climate-adaptive river basin planning
  • Demonstrates their successful application across various scales, including in the Indo-Pacific region and Australia.
  • Emphasises the importance of physical infrastructure and natural assets, inclusive governance, data and information, and policies related to demand management measures, economic instruments and water allocation rules.
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