China - Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change Into Water Resources Management and Rural Development
Overall, China ranks at the bottom 25 percent of countries in water availability per capita. Within China, the per capita availability of water in the North China Plain or Huang-Huai-Hai Basin (3H Basin) is only about one-third of the national average and about half the amount specified in the United Nations as the standard for maintaining socioeconomic and environmental development. At the same time, the 3H Basin is China’s prime agricultural area and breadbasket, producing some 50 percent of national grain output and accounting for about 35 percent of national industrial output. The basin also has a population of 425 million people, which, if it were not in China, would be the third largest country in the world. Water demand in the region is already high and is growing. However, available water resources generally are fully allocated and often overexploited.
It has been shown recently that grain production has been stagnant for a number of consecutive years in the 3H Basin area due in part to climate variability. Given the current global warming trend, China’s irrigation-based agriculture in this basin will be further negatively affected by climate change, and remedial measures need to be taken to ameliorate these effects. In fact, past and current interventions generally have not addressed climate change and how to adapt to it. This is the case, for example, with the country’s National Comprehensive Agricultural Development Program (CAD) and the Bank-supported Irrigated Agriculture Intensification III Project (IAIL3). The objectives and components of IAIL3 are important and needed, but their design did not take into consideration climate change factors and how to deal with them. IAIL3 needs to be strengthened to include measures for adaptation to climate change.
The project development objective is to enhance the resilience of agricultural and water development to climate change in the 3H Basin through: (a) selecting, developing, implementing and promoting adoption of selected climate change adaptation measures and techniques by main stakeholders at selected demonstration areas in the 3H Basin; and (b) mainstreaming and incorporating such demonstrated adaptation measures into the national CAD program.
The main project development impact indicators would be:
- increased water and agricultural productivity (kg/m3);
- improved irrigation efficiency (%);
- relevant CC adaptation measures/techniques implemented in selected demonstrated areas (ha) by the broad stakeholders participation (number of farm households) at selected sites; and
- policies, mechanisms and instruments for adaptation to climate change formulated and integrated into the national CAD operation system.
As a result of the proposed project, agriculture and farmers in Northern China would become more resilient to climate variability and adaptation to climate change consideration and measures would be integrated into the national rural development process through IAIL3 project and CAD program. The project would also contribute to poverty reduction in that it will, through behavioral change, introduce new concepts of risk management, new standards in irrigation infrastructure, and the use of natural resilience (land, water, forests) to moderate extreme weather conditions.