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Climate resilience

The challenge

Extreme weather events and changes in hydrological patterns can be expected in a world altered by climate change.

Hydropower systems are characterised by their longevity and are traditionally designed on the basis of historical hydrological data.

Planning hydropower systems from a long-term, climate-resilient perspective will ensure that future generations inherit infrastructure that will not be compromised by climate change.

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The hydropower sector is already starting to experience the impacts of climate change and will face further climate-related risks in the future. As a result, the wider financial community and governmental agencies are engaged in resilient investment for adaptation to climate change.

Three years ago, the World Bank launched a new initiative aimed at developing a guidance document, based on industry good practice for the hydropower sector, on building climate resilience into new and existing projects.

In September 2017, after two years of development and multiple consultations with key stakeholders, the beta version of the Hydropower Sector Climate Resilience Guide was released.  


Our strategy and action

IHA is testing and refining the Hydropower Sector Climate Resilience Guide to ensure that hydropower projects will be resilient to climate change.

The guide will provide practical and workable international good practice guidance for project owners, governments, financial institutions and private developers. It will incorporate climate change resilience and hydrological risk management into hydropower project appraisal, design, construction and operation, resulting in more robust and resilient projects.

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Throughout 2018 and early 2019, several projects tested the guide. The objective was to gather useful feedback and ensure its applicability and viability. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank joined forces to support IHA as the coordinator of the testing phase.

With the support of an advisory panel, IHA will integrate the recommendations of the testing phase and the finalised version of the guide will be launched at the 2019 World Hydropower Congress, which is being co-convened by EBRD.


Recent activities

To learn more about our recent activities, read our Activity and Strategy Report for 2018-2019.


Creating climate resilience guidelines for the hydropower sector

With increasing awareness of the need to develop guidance to build hydropower infrastructure which can cope with the risks of variable climatic conditions, the World Bank took the initiative to develop a set of guidelines relevant to the hydropower sector on industry good practice in building climate resilience into new and existing projects.

The beta version of the Hydropower Sector Climate Resilience Guidelines was released in September 2017 after multiple consultations and engagement with key stakeholders ranging from IFIs, major hydropower developers, owners and operators, intergovernmental and not-for-profit organisations, to international consultancies and independent experts.

During 2018, pilot projects around the world will test the guidelines. Joining forces, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank are supporting IHA as the secretariat for the coordination of the testing and the updated version of guidelines that must reflect the results from the feedback and recommendations of the testing phase.

The guidelines will assist hydropower companies to consider climate-related risks in project design and operations and address the needs of the wider financial community, policy-makers and local communities.

To find out more about the guidelines, download the information leaflet.

Join the network


IHA’s Climate Change Knowledge Network provides members with a significant library of material on climate resilience measures for hydropower projects. Briefings will be made available to all members of the network.

Hydropower Pro

IHA members can access the knowledge network in Hydropower Pro, our online member community.

In the online group, network members can connect with each other, exchange experiences and access essential resources, briefings and case studies.

For any questions, please contact IHA senior analyst María Ubierna at

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