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Climate resilience

The challenge

Extreme weather events and changes in hydrological patterns can be expected in a world altered by climate change.

Hydropower systems are characterised by their longevity and are traditionally designed on the basis of historical hydrological data.

Planning hydropower systems from a long-term, climate-resilient perspective will ensure that future generations inherit infrastructure that will not be compromised by climate change.

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Awareness is increasing of the need to build infrastructure which can cope with the risks of variable climatic conditions, with various approaches and responses emerging.

Systems need to be developed that are inherently capable of absorbing change, and even capable of utilising climate change to become more efficient.

In December of 2016, the World Bank launched a new initiative aimed at developing a set of guidelines relevant to the hydropower sector on industry good practice in building climate resilience into new and existing projects.


Our strategy and action

IHA is identifying a set of good practice guidelines to ensure that hydropower projects will be resilient to climate change.

The World Bank defines climate resilience as “the ability to withstand, recover from, and reorganise in response to climate change so that all members of society may develop or maintain the ability to thrive”.

We have partnered with the World Bank and other financial institutions to develop a set of good practice guidelines on climate resilience for the hydropower sector. These guidelines will be applied to both existing and future hydropower projects.

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A programme of piloting and road-testing the guidelines against a number of projects in several regions of the world is underway. Followed by a period of consultation, the guidelines will be presented at the 2019 World Hydropower Congress.

This will assist hydropower companies to consider climate-related risks in project design and operations and address the needs of the wider financial community, policy-makers and local communities.


Recent activities

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In March 2017, we began supporting a World Bank initiative to develop a set of good practice guidelines on climate resilience.

In July 2017, we participated in a World Bank stakeholder meeting on the climate resilience guidelines.

In September, a study report from Mott MacDonald on climate resilience, to which we contributed, was released for consultation.

In November 2017, together with the World Bank, we organised a workshop with representatives of the hydropower sector and financial institutions to address both the outcomes of the report and the pilot phase in 2018.

Throughout 2017, we participated in a range of climate resilience events including:

  • UNFCCC Forum of the Standing Committee on Finance session on ‘mobilising finance for climate-resilient infrastructure’ in Rabat, Morocco.
  • Hydro 2017 session on climate change in Seville, Spain.
  • Forum in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on building climate resilience into Tajikistan’s energy sector.


Join the network

IHA’s Climate Resilience Knowledge Network provides members with a significant library of material on climate resilience measures for hydropower projects. Briefings will be made available to all members of the network.

If you are an IHA member, you can join the Climate Resilience Knowledge Network

Contact us

For any questions, please contact IHA senior analyst María Ubierna at

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