Despite uncertainty pertaining to methods, assumptions and input data of climate change models, most models point towards a trend of an increasing frequency of flooding and drought events. How these changes reflect water management decisions and what can be done to minimize climate change impacts remains unclear. This paper summarizes and extends the workshop outcomes on ‘Climate Change Impacts on Watershed Management: Challenges and Emerging Solutions’ held at the IWA World Water Congress and Exhibition, Montréal, 2010, hosted by the IWA Watershed and River Basin Management Specialist Group. The paper discusses climate change impacts on water management of freshwater ecosystems and river basins, and illustrates these with three case studies. It is demonstrated through the case studies that engagement of relevant stakeholders is needed early in the process of building environmental flows and climate change decision-making tools, to result in greater buy-in to decisions made, create new partnerships, and help build stronger water management institutions. New alliances are then created between water managers, policy makers, community members, and scientists. This has been highlighted by the demonstration of the Pangani integrated environmental flow assessment, through the Okavango River Basin case study, and in the more participatory governance approach proposed for the Delaware River Basin.

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