River Basins

Collaboration in a river basin is needed to share increasingly scarce resources, manage water related risks emerging from various land uses and prevent flooding by linking upstream and downstream activities. Upstream areas need to ensure spatial planning that is mitigating floods for downstream areas. For example, various land uses can be adjusted to be storing, infiltrating or slowing down flows. Retrofitting is also possible, but it is better to prevent damage.  Working out strategic approaches for assessments and dialogue in a river basin between different land uses and interests and stakes in drought and flood mitigation is critical.

Policy integration

To address droughts and flood management in river basins effectively, more concerted efforts are needed to integrate Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and climate adaptation.

Data collecting and sharing builds solid evidence of the significant cost savings and benefits that can arise from addressing risks that originate upstream investing in good IWRM including Nature Based Solutions. If all risks cannot be mitigated, DRR actions such as preparedness, response and recovery including risk transfer mechanisms, such as insurance, will be necessary for governments and for individuals to help them deal with flood risk.


Investing too heavily in flood protection or DRR downstream, when the problem is being created upstream, is not cost effective. It also is a lost opportunity of providing resilience for communities benefiting from IWRM and Nature Based Solutions for their livelihoods. Such insights are also evident at an urban scale, where assessing and mitigating risks from urban development in urban catchments is essential.

Benefit sharing needs to be worked out to make sure that those investing in such measures also get compensated in a timely way when the investments are being made.


We are looking for your stories, good practices and cases on good river basin management, please submit them here or get in contact with the WAC facilitator.


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