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Case study

South Africa Assessing the Economics of Climate Change Adaptation

Countries and regions
South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa
Action area


Case summary

Climate change could affect South Africa’s water resources, resulting in water-use impacts on its residential, agricultural, and industrial sectors. To help South African farmers adapt to climate change, researchers at the University of the Free State Bloemfontein used an economic model that simulates the impacts of adaptation strategies. The Ceres Dynamic Integrated Model showed significant impact to the farming community, but also demonstrated how adaptation could enhance the welfare of farmers. This modeling effort aligns with adaptation priorities in South Africa’s INDC, particularly measures that emphasize engagement and building capacity at the subnational level to support adaptation. Key actions and good practices aligned with this modeling effort are highlighted below.

  • Increasing farm dam capacity and winter water rights can help farmers grow existing crops sustainably in the context of a changing climate.
  • Increasing the efficiency of water use can help farmers adapt to climate change. Specifically, the cultivation of high-value crops can be enhanced by using saved water to achieve optimal irrigation of these crops. Efficiency measures can include fixing leaks, increasing watering-system efficiency, changing irrigation times, planting low-water crops, and monitoring water use.
Planning and implementation activity
Developing and Implementing Policies and Measures, Sub-national Action and Integration
Sectors and themes
Agriculture, Ecosystem Adaptation, Rural, Water
Source details
Climate and Development Journal

Results supported byUNDPWorld Resources InstituteTransparency partnership