Every Drop Counts

Climate Resilience starts with Water

We experience severe impacts of climate change through water, especially in water availability and quality. In many regions, climate change intensifies water scarcity, heavy rainfalls and flood events. Effects are already visible across the economy. Therefore, German development cooperation supports actions to strengthen climate resilience through policies, technical and nature-based solutions.


This landscape represents the impacts of climate change until the year 2050 without ambitious climate action. Relevant megatrends of increasing urbanization and intensified agriculture characterize the scenery. Standard measures are not sufficient to compensate for uncertainty and intensity of precipitation. Glaciers have melted almost completely, groundwater storages are depleting, the sea level keeps rising. Water scarcity and flood events are occurring frequently on a global scale, the loss of ecosystems and species is accelerating.


  1. Rapidly melting glaciers reduce natural water storage
  2. Intensive farming reduces diversity and increases inputs of fertilisers and pesticides
  3. Harmful inputs into watercourses impair usability and biodiversity
  4. Dry wetlands are ruining the atmosphere
  5. Discharges of wastewater and waste into the oceans must be prevented
  6. Climatic conditions in cities quickly become hostile
  7. Groundwater storage reduced
  8. Without protective coastal ecosystems, floods and sea-level rise will become more threatening

This landscape represents the impacts of climate change until the year 2050 with total political and economic commitment to climate action and a 1.5°C goal.


  1. Agroforestry to prevent erosion
  2. Flexible water storage
  3. Lakes as water reservoirs and places of diversity
  4. Running waters as dynamic interface
  5. Ecosystem-based approaches
  6. Wetlands to reduce emissions
  7. River commissions for cooperation and conflict prevention
  8. Cities are innovation centers for integrated solutions
  9. Sustainable sanitation systems are resistant to greater fluctuations in precipitation and wastewater volumes
  10. Robust solutions include barriers to protect against storm surges or to regulate the flow
  11. Mangroves as a species-rich ecosystem are an ideal carbon store and grow with the rise in sea level to protect against flooding
  12. Healthy freshwater ecosystems prevent harmful inputs into threatened coral reefs as a hotspot of biological diversity


Discover our contributions to the water climate theme year 2020

We are feeling the massive effects of climate change through water, especially in terms of water availability and quality. Find out more about German Development Cooperation measures to strengthen climate resilience in the water sector.

Flexible Water Storage

Preventing Droughts & Floods

Droughts and floods, often exacerbated by climate change, are responsible for three-quarters of all natural disasters. Flexible water storage is an essential component of resilient water management and a key to adapting to floods and droughts. With about € 200 million in BMZ commitments, water is the second largest sector for adaptation to climate change.

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Flexible & Robust Solutions

Dam uncertainty of climate risks

We feel the impacts of climate change on human and ecosystem life as well as on various economic sectors most directly through water. However, the exact effects are often subject to great uncertainty. Resilient water management builds upon robust and flexible solutions. On the one hand they must be resistant to foreseeable climate risks, and on the other hand, they must be adaptable to currently unpredictable impacts.

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Functioning Freshwater Ecosystems

Protecting Climate, Biodiversity and Human Well-being

Ecosystem-based approaches strengthen water measures to reduce GHG emissions and adapt to climate change. Moreover, the protection of freshwater ecosystems goes beyond climate change effects and has positive effects on biodiversity and human well-being.

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Dry Wetlands

Ruining the atmosphere

Peatlands cover only three percent of the world’s land surface but store twice as much carbon as all the forests on Earth combined. This carbon storage function makes them an important element in reducing greenhouse gases and thus in the fight against global warming. However, peatlands and other wetlands are increasingly threatened by drainage and changes in land use.

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River Commissions

Bridging borders for climate action

Climate change knows no borders: Transboundary river commissions offer the possibility of co-operative management of water resources and are thus an important instrument for adapting to climate change and protecting ecosystems.

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