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Adaptation to climate change impacts on water demand

Original Article:
Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 81-99

First online:

Adaptation to climate change impacts on water demand

  • Xiao-jun Wang 
  • , Jian-yun Zhang
  • , Shamsuddin Shahid
  • , En-hong Guan
  • , Yong-xiang Wu
  • ,Juan Gao
  • , Rui-min He

Research on climate change impacts and related adaptation to water demand is still very limited. A review summarising the findings related to climate change impacts on water demand is carried out in this article. A water management strategy is also proposed, which would help with adaptation to growing pressure on water resources due to climate change and socio-economic development. The study reveals that climate change will increase global water demand, though this will vary widely with geographic location and climatic conditions. Water demand in agriculture will be affected more heavily than will demands in other sectors. As irrigation comprises the major portion of global consumptive water use, increased water demand in irrigation may cause severe stress on water resources. Studies suggest that water demand management or water supply management alone will not able to adapt to mounting water stress. A combination of both water supply and water demand management strategies is necessary in order to adapt to varying environmental and associated uncertainties. A case study from the Haihe River basin of China is presented, to illustrate the effectiveness of water demand management strategies used alongside water supply management in adapting to environmental changes. It is expected that the study will help guide policy responses, with the goal of mitigating the impacts of climate change on water resources.


Climate change Water demand Adaptation Water resources management