Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Flexible strategies in the face of water shortages

Written by Michel Neumuller avec le Plan Bleu on Friday, November 2nd 2012 à 10:09 | Read 376 times

MEDITERRANEAN. National and inter-regional policies should promote discussion, cooperation and innovation, while at the same time increasing the involvement of citizens, declares a Plan Bleu report. The authors claim that flexible adaptation strategies are required.

Governments in the southern and the eastern Mediterranean countries are not sufficiently acknowledging the importance of adaptive strategies to deal with looming climate change. Faced with rapid, profound political changes, their priorities lie elsewhere. 
However, the realities of climate change cannot be ignored. A Plan Bleu  summary report on the Mediterranean has just been published highlighting this point. It describes the issues associated with adaptive strategies. 
Based on the work of a consultant, Stéphane Simonet (Adaptation to climate change in the water sector in the Mediterranean) the report focuses on the need for a policy of innovation in order to broaden the range of adaptation options. 
"Adaptive water management is based on the implementation of flexible policies and measures" summarizes its author, Céline Dubreuil. These measures must"regularly (be) assessed and corrected as scientific knowledge progresses, and climate and socio-economic conditions change."

Strengthening local authorities

Water availability will decrease (photo XDR)
Water availability will decrease (photo XDR)
Flexibility and reversibility are the key words in these adaptive policies. The strategies implemented in the SEMCs "call for a strengthening of current policies as a first step towards adaptation" explains the report. Exploiting resources and reviewing their distribution still appears to be the solution most often chosen. However, resources could decrease and demand increase between now and 2100. 
With an increase in temperature of 2 to 4°C, a 30 to 40% decrease in rainfall, a rise in the sea level of 18 to 59 cm and its effect on coastal aquifers…some countries could find themselves with only a quarter of their current water resources! The Plan Bleu calls for preventive measures, that are less costly than reactive ones, because strategies must be able to evolve with the realities of climate change. 
Plan Bleu hopes that strategies in SEMCs will be both national and cross-sectoral. It recommends regional cooperation in the Mediterranean, in order to pool knowledge on the issues involved. 
Fundamentally, the recommendations rely on the increased involvement of citizens with climate issues. According to the report, "territorial governance of water should be based on local institutions with increased powers and on the full participation of users". It also recommends launching a policy of innovation which should make it possible to expand the range of possibilities. In the event that the already pessimistic forecasts are exceeded by reality, this prevention policy would be very useful. 

eau_plan_bleu.pdf Eau Plan Bleu.pdf   (1.26 Mo)

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