Making better trade-offs for sustainable use of water resources

Water resources are currently under pressure worldwide, which is expected to further exacerbate in the coming decades, due to climate change and growing water demands. Consequently, biodiversity is under threat from rapid change and agricultural production systems will be at risk due to the increase in water shortages. The intricate connection between water, energy, food and ecosystems (also called the WEFE nexus) leads to competition between different water using economic sectors, resulting in insufficient water allocation to support aquatic ecosystem functioning and biodiversity. Deltares contributes to the implementation of transitions in water allocation regimes towards climate resilient, sustainable, equitable and economically efficient sharing of water resources, while supporting the sustainable development of water-dependent economic sectors. 

Supporting governments and NGO's on climate-related water risks and migration in fragile states.

Deltares contributes to better understanding of the water stress and conflict nexus, and supports the development of integrated, inclusive and informed solutions for conflict sensitive water resources management. These solutions address the whole water system and its driving forces: climate change, drought and water scarcity risks, food and energy insecurity, human well-being and livelihood, and human responses to crises such as migration.

Deltares is a key partner in the Water, Peace and Security Partnership, initiated by Dutch and German government. With our partners Deltares supports local governments in water-related conflict prone regions in decision-making for water management. Currently we focus on developing open-data water resources models to support assessment of climate impacts on water resources. Therefore, we have applied our Blue Earth platform to connect global data sources with our modelling tools such as iMod, wflow and RIBASIM. The models contribute to an integrated, inclusive and informed conflict sensitive water management in several regions in Iraq, Mali, Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Kenya and help to build the knowledge base on the broader societal impacts of water stress.

'Through the WPS partnership we hope to prevent conflicts over water by enabling communities to take action at an early stage'

Carola van Rijnsoever, Dutch Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Improving understanding of stakeholders on climate risks concerning water resources 

Deltares supports a diverse group of clients worldwide in decisions on adaptation to climate change, climate resilient development and investment. We have developed methods such as Dynamic Adaptive Policy Pathways (DAPP) and Climate Risk Informed Decision Analysis (CRIDA). We are designing a platform that applies climate risks assessment methods for climate stress testing of water resources management plans. Together with stakeholders, Deltares is applying the CRIDA method to improve the understanding of river basin authorities in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Gabon, on the impacts of climate change on water resource availability and frequency, and the magnitude of hydro-climatic events. This method allows river basin authorities to apply the knowledge to enhance climate resilience of their water resources management and create a positive societal impact. 

Nature-based solutions for water resilience

Nature-based solutions have great potential to help us adapt to the challenges and increasing risks facing our societies and economies as a result of climate change. However, upscaling effective implementation of these measures is challenging, for example due to funding gaps, unclear business cases and limited interest from the private sector. To achieve a higher uptake of these solutions, Deltares has developed guidelines such as the Natural and Nature-Based Features guideline that support local stakeholders in the design of implementation arrangements that are fit for purpose.

Deltares’ Financing Framework for Water Security helps to close the implementation gap for nature-based solutions for water security by linking adaptive planning to investment planning and by improving the financing mechanisms of nature-based solution projects. The framework has been successfully implemented by Deltares in seven countries at different scales between 2016 and 2020. Moreover, the results have been translated into a guideline for designing an implementation and financing arrangement for nature-based solutions for water security. 

Realizing impact

We develop models and tools together with our stakeholders, to facilitate better informed decision-making of river basin managers, water authorities, environmental agencies, organizations and the private sector on actions towards sustainable water management and climate resilience of river basins. 

External references

View SDGs

View Dutch Missions

More information