Site internet du Guide de référence de l'agriculture intelligente face au climat

Water management for Climate-Smart Agriculture

Production et ressources


This module looks at water management and its critical role in climate-smart agriculture. The introductory chapters present an overview of the status and trends in water management in agriculture. Chapter B6 - 3 reviews the current state of knowledge of the impacts of climate change on water for agriculture and the overall context in which water is managed in agriculture, including the trends and challenges. Chapter B6 - 4 looks at the possible adaptation options to address the impacts of climate change. These options can be applied at various scales, on individual farms, in larger irrigation schemes, throughout entire river basins and at the national level. This chapter also presents the tools and approaches for preparing the responses to climate change taking into account the vulnerability of rural populations and farming systems. Chapter B6 - 5 considers aspects related to water management that may contribute to climate change mitigation.  Chapter B6 - 6 covers the requirements to create an enabling environment for the adoption of climate-smart water management practices. Chapter B6 - 7 offers some concluding insights on water management and climate change.

Key messages

  • The major impacts of climate change on agriculture are expected to result from its effect on the water cycle. An approach that views potential responses to climate change through a 'water lens' must be used when designing climate-smart agriculture strategies.
  • Climate change, which will increase crop evapotranspiration, change the quantity of rainfall and rainfall patterns, and lead to greater variations in river runoff and groundwater recharge, will affect both rainfed and irrigated agriculture.
  • The impacts of climate change on water resources used for agriculture must be situated in a wider context. Responses to address these impacts need to consider the other pressures that are affecting water resources, such as the increasing demand and competition for water by all sectors, and the degradation of water quality.
  • Addressing the risks associated with climate change requires an understanding of the impacts of climate change on the different components of the water balance and the vulnerability of rural communities. Equity must be included in the criteria for assessing the suitability of adaptation options.
  • Adaptation to climate change has the potential to substantially reduce the vulnerability of rural communities and improve the sustainability of agricultural water management. Climate change adaptation interventions related to water use in agriculture will need to integrate actions that target policies, institutions, investments, crop and water management practices and capacity development. These initiatives will also need to engage multiple sectors.
  • The integration of climate change into the planning and design of investments can considerably reduce the risks to the water infrastructure used for agriculture.