As worldwide populations grow and become more affluent, the demand for food and water rises. At the same time, climate variability and change are making it difficult to provide water where and when it is needed. Floods destroy communities in one part of the world, while in another people trek miles every day just to get enough water to survive. Water scarcity is a pervasive problem and is one of the most difficult challenges we face in the 21st century.
Columbia Water Center (CWC)
Water is an essential resource⎯without which, no household, industry or nation can survive. With an increasing and urbanizing population, water emerges as a key component of many American issues, including energy, food, health, climate, economic development, environmental protection, recreation and social values. At the national level, the U.S. has no policy or strategic planning process for its water. The burden is placed on local and state agencies that often lack the appropriate data, expertise, and economic resources to ensure a sustainable water supply. These isolated management organizations have limited capacity for long-term planning, financing, conducting technology evaluation, and resolving issues related to trans-boundary waters. Learn More.
Columbia Water Center (CWC)
The Columbia Global Floods Initiative aims to save lives and protect livelihoods by helping policymakers, disaster relief agencies, infrastructure designers, financial institutions and others better prepare for, manage and respond to extreme floods. Learn More.
International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI)
The International Research Institute for Climate and Society is working with the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) in the Philippines to identify key decision points at which climate information could be valuable in managing water resources. Together with NWRB and other stakeholders, IRI plans to develop and test a reservoir model and other decision tools that integrate season-ahead climate information into water allocation for use in different sectors, times and irrigation zones. IRI is also collaborating with the Philippine meteorological service (PAGASA) to help them build their capacity to respond to needs of decision makers in areas like water dispute mediation and preparations for climate variability.
Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) and the Earth Institute, Columbia University
The Center for International Earth Science Information Network is leading the Earth Institute’s work in a major collaboration with several partners, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), to reduce poverty and natural disaster vulnerability in Haiti through ecosystem restoration and sustainable resource management. The pilot program, part of an anticipated 20-year project for the entire country of Haiti, began with baseline assessments in river basins of the southern peninsula, aiming to provide a platform for designing and coordinating integrated watershed management programs. These strategic plans enable restoration of a sustainable flow of ecosystem services, improved erosion management and agricultural production, and access to clean water. These interventions could also reduce risk associated with hurricanes and flooding. In the wake of the Haiti earthquake, fieldwork will be integrated with post-disaster reconstruction and long-term development of the country’s urban and rural areas.