Cross-comparison of climate change adaptation strategies across large river basins in Europe, Africa and Asia

Valentina Krysanova*, Chris Dickens, Jos Timmerman, Consuelo Varela-Ortega, Maja Schlüter, Koen Roest, Patrick Huntjens, Fons Jaspers, Hendrik Buiteveld, Edinson Moreno, Javier de Pedraza Carrera, Romana Slámová, Marta Martínková, Irene Blanco, Paloma Esteve, Kate Pringle, Claudia Pahl-Wostl, Pavel Kabat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A cross-comparison of climate change adaptation strategies across regions was performed, considering six large river basins as case study areas. Three of the basins, namely the Elbe, Guadiana, and Rhine, are located in Europe, the Nile Equatorial Lakes region and the Orange basin are in Africa, and the Amudarya basin is in Central Asia. The evaluation was based mainly on the opinions of policy makers and water management experts in the river basins. The adaptation strategies were evaluated considering the following issues: expected climate change, expected climate change impacts, drivers for development of adaptation strategy, barriers for adaptation, state of the implementation of a range of water management measures, and status of adaptation strategy implementation. The analysis of responses and cross-comparison were performed with rating the responses where possible. According to the expert opinions, there is an understanding in all six regions that climate change is happening. Different climate change impacts are expected in the basins, whereas decreasing annual water availability, and increasing frequency and intensity of droughts (and to a lesser extent floods) are expected in all of them. According to the responses, the two most important drivers for development of adaptation strategy are: climate-related disasters, and national and international policies. The following most important barriers for adaptation to climate change were identified by responders: spatial and temporal uncertainties in climate projections, lack of adequate financial resources, and lack of horizontal cooperation. The evaluated water resources management measures are on a relatively high level in the Elbe and Rhine basins, followed by the Orange and Guadiana. It is lower in the Amudarya basin, and the lowest in the NEL region, where many measures are only at the planning stage. Regarding the level of adaptation strategy implementation, it can be concluded that the adaptation to climate change has started in all basins, but progresses rather slowly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4121-4160
JournalWater Resources Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


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