Water Blog

Navigating water security in a changing climate

11 Dec 2023


The urgent issue of the impact on water due to climate change means that water is high on the agenda at COP28. The UAE has pledged $150 million in new funding for water security solutions in fragile and vulnerable communities. The announcement was made during COP28, with the Presidency making it clear that it would drive water up the climate agenda by elevating water in the food agenda.

Among climate related risks, water stress is now recognised as a prime concern globally. Water stress can arise from both reduced water availability and increased water demand. A warming climate is resulting in increased water scarcity in some regions and extreme water events in others as well as water quality issues globally. 

Many countries, sectors and businesses are vulnerable to water related risks. Agriculture is particularly vulnerable but manufacturing, energy generation and cities all depend upon the availability of good quality water and protection from water-related hazards such as flooding. 

This water related risk is leading to a need for countries and businesses to adapt. A review of more than 1,800 climate change adaptation strategies, undertaken as part the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report, found that over 80 per cent were water related. Yet few companies have a climate and water adaptation plan in place. 

Many businesses are stuck trying to improve their assessment of risk instead of moving on to strategy and action. Meanwhile those that understand and respond to climate and water challenges can avoid maladaptation and expensive future costs. The most successful and resilient businesses will not view adaptation and reporting as a burden but as an opportunity to protect the environment while securing value, increasing investor confidence, and underpinning growth. The challenge is how to do this.

As climate change intensifies, how are businesses coping with escalating water risks? At Ricardo, we specialise in transforming these challenges into actionable strategies.

Ricardo supports businesses in realising the associated opportunities and risks with water risk and security. Responding to these challenges demands more than generic risk assessment and disclosure. We understand that business leaders need to know strategic pathways they should follow and what actions are needed to future proof their business. 

We work to address the gap between strategy and action through our integrated technical, economic and strategic advisory services. Moving beyond the assessment of risk to develop tailored strategies for adaptation and growth.

Ricardo is taking an active role at COP28. Our Middle East Water Practice Lead, Nada Abubakr, who is an Envoy for the Water Pavilion – is raising awareness of the important role of water in climate solutions, and connecting with leaders, experts and stakeholders outside of the international water community to identify opportunities to better consider water in their work. If you are also at COP, reach out if you want to discuss how Ricardo can help you tackle your water challenges.


Ricardo's experts are participating in talks and events at this years' conference to contribute to ongoing discussions on solving the global climate crisis. Find out more about Ricardo's activities at COP28.

Visit our services page to find out about Ricardo’s work in the water sector.