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Module 1: Water Related Disasters and IWRM concepts. Training Course on Factoring Hydro-Climatic Disasters in IWRM. WHAT IS A DISASTER - No single definition.

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Module 1 water related disasters and iwrm concepts l.jpg

Module 1: Water Related Disasters and IWRM concepts

Training Course on

Factoring Hydro-Climatic Disasters in IWRM

What is a disaster no single definition l.jpg
WHAT IS A DISASTER - No single definition

Emergency database (EM-DAT) operated by Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) Classifies an event as a disaster if;

  • At least 10 people are killed and/or

  • 100 or more are affected and/or

  • An appeal for international assistance or

  • A state of emergency is declared

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Other Definitions

  • Susman (1990)- Disaster is the interface between an extreme physical environment and a vulnerable human population

  • Anderson (1992) - Disaster is a temporary event triggered by natural hazards that overwhelm local response capacity and seriously affect social and economic development of the region

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Definition: United Nations /ISDR

  • A disaster a serious disruption of the functioning of a society or community

  • Causes widespread human, material or environmental loss which exceeds the capacity of the affected society to cope without external intervention

  • A disaster therefore an effect to the society of a hazardous occurrence

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Other Definitions

  • Extreme climate events such as floods, drought, and tropical cyclones

  • Heavy and prolonged rainfall –floods

  • Depleted rainfall – droughts

  • Changes in climate that result into changes on the mean, frequency, and / or intensity

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Some terminologies

  • Hazard- Potentially damaging physical event or phenomenon - potential to cause loss of life or injury, property damage, socio-economic disruption of life and environmental degradation, among others

  • Vulnerability-Set of conditions resulting from physical, social, economic and environmental factors that increase the susceptibility of a community to the impact of disasters

  • Risk-The probability of harmful consequences or loss resulting from the interaction between natural hazards and vulnerable conditions of people and property

  • Mitigation-Short and long term actions, programmes or policies in advance of natural hazard or early stages, to reduce the degree of risk

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Some terminologies

  • Impacts- Specific effects, consequences or outcomes of hazards or disasters

  • Preparedness- Pre-disaster activities designed to increase the level of readiness or improve operational capabilities for responding to an emergency

  • Response- Actions taken immediately before, during or directly after a disaster to reduce the impacts and improve recovery

  • Resilience/Capacity – The capability of the community to cope with disasters

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Disaster classification: World disaster report (2003)

  • Hydro-meteorological :Droughts/famine, Floods, Wind storms, Avalanches, landslides, extreme temperatures, heat waves, hurricanes, forest fires, insect infestations and storm surges

  • Geophysical disasters – Earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunami etc.

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Hyogo Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), (Kobe, 1995)

Priority 1. Make disaster risk reduction a priorityat the national level

Priority 2. Improve risk information and early warning

Priority 3. Build understanding and Awareness

Priority 4. Reduce disaster risks in key sectors

Priority 5. Strengthen preparedness and response (Community resilience)

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What is IWRM? climate-related

IWRM is defined as a process that promotes coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources, in order to maximize the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems” (GWP, 2000)

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Why IWRM? climate-related

  • Population growth

  • Water pollution and water stress

  • Environmental impacts

  • Climate change impacts

  • Extreme events of floods and drought

  • Competing demands for water

  • A globally accepted concept that makes good sense

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Guiding principles of IWRM (Dublin,1992) climate-related

Principle 1. Fresh water is a finite and vulnerable resource, essential to sustain life, development and the environment

Principle 2. Water development and management should be based on a participatory approach, involving users, planners and policy-makers at all levels

Principle 3. Women play a central part in the provision, management and safeguarding of water

Principle 4. Water has an economic value in all its competing uses and should be recognized as an economic good

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-Institutional set-up





- Landslides


-Wind storms


-Climate change

- Population growth

-Extreme weather conditions


-Community resilience

-Humanitarian assistance




Linkage between IWRM and Water related Disasters

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Impacts of Weather & climate disasters climate-related

  • Failure in Agricultural Production

  • Failure in hydro-power based industries

  • Destruction of infrastructure

  • Loss of life & property

  • Disease outbreak & epidemics

  • Economic stagnation

  • Stress and disaffection

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Building community resilience against water related disasters

  • Assess information on water in disasters and ensure priority issues get the necessary high-level attention;

  • Ensure that government budgets in health and other sectors can fund programmes to improve water and sanitation in disasters;

  • Promote linkages between water, sanitation and hygiene, and health and environment policies;

  • Ensure that health workers, volunteers and others are adequately equipped to address health hazards from disrupted water and sanitation infrastructure;

  • Raise awareness among stakeholders of the dangers in water-related disasters.

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Conclusion disasters

  • Hydro-Climatic disasters will continue to live with us and hence we need to adapt methods to manage them so as to reduce their negative impacts to the society

  • Good management of these disasters would call for maximum utilization of positive impacts minimization of community vulnerability though;

    • Awareness creation

    • Disaster proofing

    • Improving on environmental protection

    • Development of disaster Early Warning (DEW)

  • Implementation of IWRM process at catchment level

  • REMEMBER: Preparing for disasters is far more cost-effective than to recovering from them after they have occurred

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