Building the Resilience of WSS Utilities to Climate Change and Other Threats : A Road Map


General Information:

Author: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), World Bank

Year of publication: 2018

Available languages: English

Details of Assessment:

Type of assessment: Not specified

Details: Climate variance and disaster planning for increasing water utilities’ robustness and resilience

Format of assessment: Guideline

Details: Road map to a three-phase process adapted from the World Bank’s Decision Tree Framework (DTF)

Estimated costs for conducting: If the utility is hiring a firm, the cost typically ranges between USD 100,000 and USD 300,000, depending on the context, scope, and data and model availability. If individual consultants are hired instead of a firm, the cost will be lower (USD 50,000 to USD 80,000)

Estimated duration of assessment: 6 months to 1 year

To be carried out by whom: Consultants (climate experts)

Details: Analysts use the information gathered in the participatory work of an extensive team, including planners, operators, other stakeholders

Institutional scale of use: Project level

Details: Urban water supply and sanitation utility planning and investment projects

Assesment to be used by which target audience: Others (please specify)

Details: WSS utility planners and engineers

Output: Report

Details: Following the vulnerability assessment conducted in Phase 2, analysts identify and analyse actions to reduce the vulnerability of WSS utility infrastructure and management


Coverage & Methodology:

Region of origin: North America

Developed by which sector: Development cooperation

Applied in practice: Yes

Geographic coverage in analysis: Worldwide

Potential geographic coverage: Worldwide

Sectors covered: Water sector, Health sector

Details: Water supply and Sanitation

Method used: Mixed method approach

Description of methodology: Three-phase process based on the Decision Tree Framework; methodology is highly context-specific; results can be achieved both with qualitative exploration and a quantitative assessment, depending on the context and the resources available

Risk framework used: No explicit use of risk framework

Details: Risk refers to uncertainty that can be quantified with probability distributions

Risk components incorporated: All

Hazards and impacts considered in the assessment: Drought, Flood, Extreme temperatures, Glacier melt, Extreme rainfall, Sea level rise, Earthquake

Source of required data: Primary and secondary

Details: Varying depending on the context and extent the risk assessment is to be carried out with

Temporal scale: Current

Participatory elements: Yes

Details: Depending on the complexity of the project, one or more rounds of participatory work are needed with stakeholders to refine the objectives or the threats or adjust the options available to decision makers

Consideration of interconnectedness and -dependencies of risks: No information

Adressing uncertainty: Yes

Details: Deep uncertainty is uncertainty that occurs when parties to a decision do not know or cannot agree on models relating to the key forces that shape the future, the probability distributions of key variables and parameters in these models, or the value of alternative outcomes. There currently is no established road map available to guide WSS utilities in planning for an uncertain climate future, or more generally for decision making under deep uncertainty, which can include issues such as population growth projections, local economic development, or changes in the future demand. Thus, while this report frequently links deep uncertainty to climate change, the reader should understand that the term encompasses a much broader suite of uncertainties facing WSS utilities

Scope of assessment: Identification of risks, assessment of impacts, identification of adaptation options, priorization of adaptation options

Details: Identification of resilience actions based on a vulnerability assessment

Relevance for losses and damages:

Economic/Non-Economic losses incorporated: Both

Details: Loss of capital, water-borne diseases, population displacement, destruction of property, challenges to hygiene practices, decreased water quality, disruptions of critical lifeline operations etc.

Applicability for entire risk spectrum (from extreme weather events to slow onset processes): Partly

Details: Applicable only for water supply and sanitation related climate risks and disasters


Recommendations for Adaptation measures included in Climate Risk Assessment: Yes

Details: A noncomprehensive list of options to increase robustness and resilience in water supply and sanitation utilities and a compendium of many existing methodologies that could be used to support resilience-building is provided

Usefulness for political purposes: Implementing appropriate robustness and resilience building measures in the water supply and sanitation sector can have a long-term positive effect on their customers or users. Disruptions in water and sanitation supply can otherwise have severe negative impacts on both economic activity and social and political aspects, such as health and poverty.

Applied by whom: The World Bank

Open access: Yes