12.2.1 Adaptation measures
Improving resilience in the water sector means developing the adaptive capacity of the system. Countries need to adopt appropriate adaptation measures in their water supply sector that will reduce wastage, promote wise use of fresh water and improve water management practices. These adaptation measures include:
- Efficient use of water resources: ensure effective use and fair sharing of existing resources; develop new water sources and reservoirs; promote efficient use of water by consumers through education and tariff structures; develop water reuse and recycling; develop rainwater harvesting schemes.
- Leakage reduction: ensure that equipment and fittings of the water supply system are properly maintained to reduce the frequency of leakage, and that they are repaired promptly.
- Testing existing technologies for resilience: water and sanitation services should be robust enough to ensure that water quality, water quantity and sanitation systems can be maintained.
- Protecting ecosystem resilience: the impacts of natural disasters and climate change should be monitored to maintain the resilience of water and wetland ecosystems. Ecosystem resilience means that the effects of events like fires or drought do not make fundamental long-lasting changes to biodiversity within the ecosystem.
- Flexible management approaches: decision makers need to be able to adapt to the full range of climate scenarios and the demands they generate.
Following these principles for adaptation will help to ensure that increasing problems of water stress can be managed appropriately and that the water sector improves its resilience to future change. Many of these measures are about the sustainable use of water and require changes to the way water resources are managed. We will now look at three examples of water management practices that will help improve resilience: water conservation, water reuse and catchment management.