Water managers are accustomed to adapting to changing circumstances, many of which can be regarded as analogs of future climate change, and a wide range of adaptive options has been developed. Supply-side options are more familiar to most water managers, but demand-side options increasingly are being implemented. Water management is evolving continually, and this evolution will affect the impact of climate change in practice. For reasons noted above, climate change is likely to challenge existing water management practices, especially in countries with less experience in incorporating uncertainty into water planning. The generic issue is incorporation of climate change into the types of uncertainty traditionally treated in water planning.
Integrated water resources management (IWRM) (Bogardi and Nachtnebel, 1994; Kindler, 2000) increasingly is regarded as the most effective way to manage water resources in a changing environment with competing demands. IWRM essentially involves three major components: explicit consideration of all potential supply-side and demand-side actions, inclusion of all stakeholders in the decision process, and continual monitoring and review of the water resources situation. IWRM is an effective approach in the absence of climate change, and there already are many good reasons for it to be implemented. Adopting integrated water resources management will go a long way toward increasing the ability of water managers to adapt to climate change.
There are three final points to make:
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