Building Resilience

Water solutions to manage risk and variability

Farmers  and agricultural land are increasingly vulnerable to water variability and extreme weather events, which in many places climate change is making worse.

Climate variability is already a reality for nearly one billion people who derive livelihoods from rainfed and irrigated farming in developing countries.  The more frequent weather extremes  that affect them often coincide with shocks  in the financial, energy and health spheres  – together  with hazards like pollution and pest attacks – incurring significant economic losses for individuals and society as a whole.

To help provide farmers with a buffer against  water risks and variability – enabling communities to thrive despite stresses and shocks – IWMI´s strategic program  on building resilience works with partners  to devise research-based solutions:

  • Improved water management technologies and practices  that match  local agricultural conditions, better enabling both men and women in rural communities to cope with uncertainty and increase productivity
  • New options in climate-smart  agriculture that offer incentives for sustainable use of surface and groundwater, and employ ”big-data” approaches to minimize risk
  • Decision-support tools that enable farmers, resource managers and policy makers to accelerate the adoption of improved practices for flood and drought management

This research contributes importantly to the sustainable intensification of agriculture, which is the key to achieving greater food security, improved nutrition and other improvements in rural livelihoods.


Mark Smith (, Deputy Director General – Research for Development