Supporting community adaptation to water shortages in Kiribati - DAMP Handbook

Submitted by Pierre Mukheibir 27th July 2016 3:58
picture1 - climate adaptation.

The Dynamic Adaptive Management Process

The dynamic adaptive management process (DAMP) was designed to build the skills of community facilitators to lead participatory decision-making processes to plan for the delivery of basic services under a changing climate. It provides facilitators with a range of tools for leading conversations at the community level. It will also help to build skills and knowledge which will enable the community to participate in identifying solutions that are relevant and appropriate for their context.

The approach aims to build the adaptive capacity of communities in the outer islands of Kiribati to identify indicators/triggers, that draw upon various knowledge systems, including traditional knowledge, to define thresholds or limits to specific water related adaptation strategies. This will empower them to monitor adaptation strategies and subsequently contribute to the development of future adaptation strategies that will support the diversification of water resources.

The DAMP Handbook* draws on the experience of the authors and outcomes of training workshop, and is aimed at community facilitators from non-government organisations, local and national governments, and service providers. It outlines a set of tools to better understand the impacts of climate change on possible water supply options and identify triggers for when a new water option should be planned. The tools and processes that are presented are flexible enough to be applied to a range of situations and sectors.

This handbook was prepared by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney in collaboration with KiriCAN, and was made possible through funding from USAID via the Pacific - American Climate Fund (PACAM) program. 

*download from right-hand colum.

Methods and Tools

This handbook provides facilitators with a range of tools for leading conversations at the community level. It will also help to build skills and knowledge which will enable the community to participate in identifying solutions that are relevant and appropriate for their context.

The handbook provides an outline of how to:

  • Do a simple multi-criteria analysis (MCA) of viable water supply response options
  • Better understand the impacts of climate change on these possible water supply options
  • Identify indicators that show when a new water option should be instigated

The handbook has two key sections:

  • Water supply options selection
  • Understanding and responding to the impacts of climate change on water supplies.

The Appendices give some background to the specific case that the method has been applied to:

  • Appendix 1: Background information for Kiribati, Historical climate trends, Future climate trends. 
  • Appendix 2: Provides a Suggested outline of a two-day workshop

There is a lot of information and a number of new concepts to cover in the workshop. Therefore it is important to give the participants enough time to grasp the concepts and work through the exercises. The document provides a table with guidance about how to structure the workshop activities and roughly how much time will be needed for each session.

Identifying Adaptation Options

The aim of the workshop is to identify the most appropriate water supply option/s based on clear criteria that are important to the community.

The workshop can be organised as a series of facilitated sessions (shown in Appendix 2 of the featured document) broken into the following sessions, each of which is presented in detail in the handbook (download from right-hand column):

  • Session 1: Map your village
  • Session 2: Identify water supply options
  • Session 3: Identify and prioritise the selection criteria
  • Session 4: Rank the water supply options

Figure 3 from page 9 of the handbook: Voting for the selection criteria. Examples of criteria include: Safe for the environment; Reliable supply; Easy to access (within close walking distance); Ease of use; Affordable; Easy to maintain.

Methods for understanding and responding to impacts of climate change

This part of the handbook focuses on the current and future climatic impacts on drinking water supplies, how to respond to these impacts, and identifying indicators that will alert communities when new drinking water supply options need to be implemented. It aims:

1. To understand how climate change might affect your water supplies and the implications for health and wellbeing in the community.

2. To identify the triggers that indicate when to plan the next adaptation response.

The following sessions are described in details in the handbook (including details of expected outcomes from the sessions, how to prepare for the session, materials needed, the process and tips and tricks for delivery):

  • Session 5: Climate trends and projections
  • Session 6: Mapping the impacts on water supply and demand
  • Session 7: Indicators of change
  • Session 8: Responding to the indicator

Figure 6 from page 14 of the handbook: Example of an impact map for rainfall decrease

Outcomes and Impacts

The final session in the Handbook is designed to bring all the work done in the previous sessions together. It draws on the prioritised list of response options to address the negativeimpacts of changes to factors such as climate change or population on the drinking water supply system.

When an indicator exceeds the acceptable level (defined in the table compiled in Session 7), this acts as a trigger for planning for the next-best response option (in this case a drinking water supply option). If at a later date an indicator for thenew supply option exceeds the acceptable level, the process is repeated to identifythe next best water supply option.

The process is illustrated by the example shown below. Starting with the option of a hand dug well at the home, participants consider the likely impacts (shown in the blue squares) due to decrease in rainfall and their associated indicators (the brown squares). The indicators provide a signal for the need to select a new drinking water supply option. They then choose the next option from the prioritised list of options finalised in Session 4 and the process is then repeated.

This process of constantly reviewing the impact of climate change on water supplies, and then deciding if a new option is needed can be called a Dynamic Adaptive Management Process (DAMP). By regularly reviewing how their supply options are functioning under changing conditions, the community will be able to plan adaptive responses to any adverse changes in a timely manner.


Figure 9 from page 18 of the handbook: Mapping the responses to the impacts and indicators for decrease in rainfall

Suggested Citation

Mukheibir, P. and Boronyak-Vasco L. (2016). Dynamic Adaptive Management Process - Supporting Community Adaptation to Water Shortages in Kiribati. Prepared for USAID (PACAM) by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, Australia.