Wetlands are an important buffer against water scarcity. Not only do they provide alternative food sources when crops fail, sustainable wetland agriculture can often continue even when other cropping systems are constrained by water shortages. Wetlands can also regulate water flow in times of spate, mitigating flood damage by absorbing and retaining large quantities of water.
Improved water storage in drought-prone regions represents a vital insurance policy for communities and farmers. Options for storage vary and careful consideration needs to be given to a community’s water needs before adopting storage strategies. IWMI’s water storage continuum sets out the advantages and drawbacks of each strategy.
Early warning systems
The use of data and geographic information systems (GIS) to anticipate floods and droughts before they happen is an advanced science that has been able to predict extreme events with increasing accuracy. Delivering a policy response to these predictions can sometimes be more problematic and greater dialogue between scientists, policymakers and communities may help resolve this.