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 from many different actors such as farmers, environmental NGOs, spatial planners in municipalities and many other actors managing land and water. 

Data collecting and sharing, builds solid evidence of the significant cost savings and benefits available from addressing systemic risks at a landscape scale. Currently, too much attention is directed to responding to disasters and too little attention to reduce the risks where they develop and prevent them. For the risks that cannot be prevented, society will have to put in place preparedness, response and recovery including risk transfer mechanisms, such as insurance.


Better financial tools and policies are needed to encourage investments in measures that retain water to mitigate drought and reduce flood risk. This also needs to address a broad range of issues at a landscape level and the upstream downstream dynamics, where investments upstream are needed to reduce risks downstream. These investments also need to be addressing inequalities and providing resilience for communities livelihoods. 

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.

Other resources include:

Transboundary river basins - UNECE work on water adaptation to climate change in river basins



South Limburg urban landscape

Water for recovery of the climate - A knowledge exchange between Limburg, Slovakia and Norway

GCA facilitated a knowledge exchange between the Slovakian and Norwegian experts and the Water Authority in South Limburg in the Netherlands. This was initiated in order to support the Authority in its efforts to learn and innovate to address flood risks.

Read Article
Flooding in Limburg DutchNews.nl

Limburg Water Authority Approach: Water in Balance

The Water Authority in Limburg in The Netherlands, has adopted an approach to deal with floods and drought. Together with partners from the area and residents, it is working on plans to tackle flooding because who knows the area better than the people who live here.

Read Article
Slovak landscape

Water in the Landscape - Climate Change and Dewatering

This video, based on Slovak expertise, describes how increased water vapor in the air in combination with dewatering of the land, can cause climate changes and extreme events. It illustrates how it is vital to manage water in the landscape to keep it in sufficient amounts.

Read Article
A flooded town


Cape Town was near day zero in 2018. The drought that threatened to turn off the taps in Cape Town was made three times more likely by global warming, according to a study. Credit picture perfect istock.
Landing Page

Urban Resilience

Disasters, climate change, and rapid urbanization pose a serious risk to the provision of urban water services including safe drinking water, sanitation, and safe drainage.

Read more
A desert plain with three trees and amountain
Landing Page


Drylands are defined by a scarcity of water, and cover more than 40% of the earth surface. Drylands are present in more than 100 countries and home to over 2 billion people.


Read more

Cross Cutting

Eifel, Elz valley, flood disaster, July 15th 2021. Europe is highly urbanised and has too few natural buffers that can infiltrate extreme amounts of heavy rainfall. Markus Volk. istock.
Landing Page

Nature based solutions

Nature based solutions work with and enhance nature to restore and protect ecosystems and to help society adapt to the impacts of climate change. Adaptation calls for the increased use of nature based solutions with multiple benefits which at the same time provides for livelihoods, ecosystem life support and community resilience.

Read more