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WORKING PAPER: Critical success factors for resilient water infrastructure

This working paper presents a set of five critical factors for increasing the climate resilience of water infrastructure.

Water security underpins the achievement of development agendas across many sectors – including health, energy, agriculture, environment, mining, and other industries. Water infrastructure is vital for delivering water security. Water infrastructure is generally long-lived and with high upfront costs, making it vulnerable to future climate change uncertainties.

Ensuring that water infrastructure developments are resilient to climate variability and long term change is a key challenge to maintaining development progress and avoiding investment in infrastructure which underperforms, or fails due to climate risks. Resilience is more than engineering design and can be viewed from a number of perspectives, from strategic national or basin level planning, through the project identification process, down to the detail of the engineering design process.

Incorporating climate risk management into infrastructure planning and design is critical to building societal resilience and protecting economic growth. As pressures grow to build new infrastructure to cope with growing populations and to support expanding economic agendas, it is critical to ensure that policy makers and development practitioners are aware of and commit to improving the resilience of infrastructure investments in a cost-effective manner. This is a challenging task, owing not only to the uncertainties about the future but also to the complex economic-social-environmental systems in which infrastructure operates.

This working paper is based on a review of six Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) funded projects. The review included interviews with project stakeholders supported by a desk review of project outputs. Its objective is to provide development practitioners with synthesised lessons from these projects to improve the resilience of future infrastructure projects and development programmes.

Download the working paper here: Critical success factors for resilient water infrastructure 



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