Developing an Integrated Climate Change Adaptation, Land Use, and Watershed Management Plan for the Grijalva-Usumacinta River Basin in Mexico
Digital elevation models and climate change simulations identified dwellings at risk of flooding in Chiapas. The darkest red areas indicate dwellings at the highest risk for flooding. Resource-rich with high biodiversity, the Grijalva-Usumacinta river basin in Mexico’s Tabasco and Chiapas states holds significant local and national value. More than 40 percent of Mexico’s hydropower is generated from the Grijalva River, and 17 percent of oil production and 22 percent of Mexico’s natural gas is produced in the lower basin.
However, the area’s close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean makes it highly vulnerable to climate change. Rising sea levels threaten to reduce Tabasco territory, which is home to 6 million people, 31 percent of who live in extreme poverty and have limited access to food.
Abt Associates, for the Inter-American Development Bank, conducted a comprehensive analysis on the forecasted effects of climate change, assessed proposed adaptation measures to mitigate impacts in the Grijalva-Usumacinta river basin, and developed a plan that would help to facilitate long-term, sustainable, climate resilient growth.
For this project – Integrated Climate Change Adaptation, Land Use, and Watershed Management Plan for the Grijalva-Usumacinta River Basin – Abt implemented the following key activities:
Assessed development priorities and non-climatic obstacles to achieve them: Using existing technical, socio-economic, environmental and institutional information, as well as new hydrological and deforestation modeling, Abt identified the main development challenges and associated non-climate stressors and trends for the region and integrated this information into maps with existing bathymetry, topography, hydrological, soil coverage, oceanographic, and population data.
A farmer plants seeds in an extremely difficult terrain in the El Ocote Biosphere Reserve in Chiapas. Climate change is expected to exacerbate the significant challenges already faced by rural communities. Analyzed climate trends to develop future climate change scenarios: Abt downscaled global climate change models to regional and municipal levels and generated geo-referenced maps that showed how different areas could experience changes in temperature, runoff, precipitation patterns, sea levels and frequency of extreme weather as a result of climate change.
Conducted climate change impact analyses: Abt estimated climate change impacts on livelihoods, infrastructure, and ecosystems in the watershed and developed specific maps and economic analysis for vulnerable areas and livelihoods – such as maize, coffee growing, and cattle breeding – as well as several types of infrastructure – such as housing, schools, hospitals, roads, and bridges – to demonstrate how climate change would exacerbate existing development challenges in the region.
Evaluated intervention for climate change adaptation: Working with national, state, and local stakeholders, Abt identified and prioritized interventions that would build resilience to climate variability and change in six sectors: agriculture, forestry, and cattle raising; natural resource and biodiversity conservation and use; infrastructure; water resources; land use planning; and hydropower. Abt also developed pre-feasibility assessments for each intervention.
Developed final climate change adaptation plan for the watershed: Abt combined this information to develop a final Climate Change Adaptation and Watershed Management Plan for the Grijalva-Usumacinta Basin that provides a clear roadmap for adaptation to climate change and the sustainable use of natural resource. The plan includes land-use action plan, investment requirements, and institutional and governance arrangements for its implementation.
The Cañón del Sumidro National Park is part of the Grijalva Watershed’s rich natural capital. News
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- Adaptación, Ordenamiento y Manejo Integral: el Caso del sur de México
- Integrated Climate Change Adaptation, Land Use, and Watershed Management Plan for the Grijalva-Usumacinta River Basin Project Profile
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