Ecosystem-based Adaptation and Water Security

Fresh water sustains all life and is an essential requirement for human development. Globally, many communities are water-stressed, and an estimated 1.8 billion people are projected to live in areas with absolute water scarcity by 2025 (UNDP 2014). Communities rely on secure water resources for a wide array of purposes, including direct consumption, household use, irrigation, energy production, and sanitation and hygiene. However, as global temperatures increase and precipitation patterns change, floods, droughts and storms are likely to become more frequent and severe, which will impact water security. In many areas, climate stressors can also worsen the water stress already caused by human activity, such as overconsumption of water resources, thus further threatening water security and resulting in direct socio-economic and health impacts on the most vulnerable populations.

Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) is a nature-based method to address water insecurity and climate change adaptation by strengthening natural systems, conserving biodiversity and maintaining the goods and services that ecosystems provide for human development. EbA approaches to address water insecurity can also provide important benefits for other development sectors that rely on sustainable and clean sources of water.