Chapter 22: Joint management of international water bodies under scarcity and variability
The Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007, 2013) identify a trend in global surface temperature for the end of the twenty-first century. Warming will continue to exhibit interannual-to-decadal variability and will not be regionally uniform (IPCC, 2007, pp. 1–10). The Fifth IPCC Report further suggests that ‘changes in the global water cycle in response to the warming over the 21st century will not be uniform. The contrast in precipitation between wet and dry regions and between wet and dry seasons will increase, although there may be regional exceptions’ (IPCC, 2013, p. 18). The Fourth Assessment Report further verifies the findings from the Third Assessment Report, stating that ‘One major implication of climate change for agreements between competing users (within a region or upstream versus downstream) is that allocating rights in absolute terms may lead to further disputes in years to come when the total absolute amount of water available may be different’ (IPCC, 2001, Section 4.7.3). The impact of climate change will be felt most acutely through its effects on water resources. Most evidence suggests that climate change will not change the basic nature of threats to water resources, but will rather affect the severity and timing of these threats (Doczi and Calaw, 2013, p. 35). As has been suggested by many recent hydrological studies (e.g. Milly et al., 2005; Milliman et al., 2008), a significant increase in river flow variability has already been observed.
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