Jinsha River Basin (JRB): Integrated Water Resources and Risk Management under Changing Climate

Project completed

The effects of climate change on the Yangtze River are crucial for the economy, food production, livelihood safety and ecosystems of about one third of China’s population. The present project studies the Jinsha River Basin in the upper Yangtze, where glacier and climatic variability greatly influence the water regimes, and measures are needed for a sustainable, integrated water management, catering for hazard and water management, hydroelectricity and agricultural production, as well as biodiversity and human wellbeing, in the coming years.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Climate change and environment
Environmental policy
Water resources conservation
01.02.2014 - 31.12.2018
CHF  6’327’000

Extreme weather events in China caused an average of over 2’000 deaths and up to 200 billion RMB (ca 30 bio. CHF) of direct economic loss annually since the 1990ies. The uneven distribution of precipitation presents a major challenge causing droughts and heavy floods, reportedly increased by the effects of climate change. China, in its rapid process of industrialisation, urbanisation and agricultural reform faces enormous challenges with respect to food security, water and ecosystem management, energy provision, and infrastructure.

The Yangtze River Basin with its 6’418km length is home to about one third of China’s population, producing an equivalent share in food and GDP of the country. Managing of water resources for agricultural, domestic and industrial use, water risks related to floods and droughts, and protection of the resources and ecosystems requires an integrated water management approach.


The project contributes to the strategic development needs of the region, in protecting life and assets, ensuring water security of the region, contributing to the sustainable economic development, by integrating the relevant climate change scenarios.

The long-term objective of the project is to improve the integrated water resources and risk management in the Jinsha River Basin, under conditions of a changing climate and socio-economic development.

The project will contribute to the global dialogue on adaptation measures in water management related issues in a changing climate. In order to do so, international networking will be supported.

The Yangtze River  is of great importance in terms of Food Security, Ecosystem Management and Human Well-Being. 

Target groups

The project will strengthen the water allocation and water risk management practices of the region, and will have a potential benefit for all relevant users of water resources. Specifically, the rural population which highly depends on agriculture and therewith is highly vulnerable to droughts and floods will benefit from the integrated water management system. Main target in the first project phase are the authorities in charge of the water management, by building up their capacities.

Medium-term outcomes

(1) Knowledge of water dynamics and forecasting for management of water resources in the Jinsha River Basin are substantially improved.

(2) Impacts of climate change on water supply and extreme events are identified and analysed

(3) Adaptation strategies and measures to climate change for water resources and flood control and drought relief based on risk management are developed and assessed, including but not limited to cascade reservoir operation and management.

(4) An international platform for exchange of knowledge and expertise on water resources management and climate change adaptation is operating, involving Chinese and Swiss Experts.


Results from previous phases:  

The present proposal builds on the results of the opening phase (January toNovember 2014). The Swiss and Chinese partners have jointly structured their collaboration, conducted an initial survey of historical (50 years back) data on floods, drought, precipitation and temperature, defined and characterised the water hazards and risk situation, today, and discussed suitable climate change models for the purpose of the integrated water risk and water management in the Jinsha River Basin.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Private sector
Foreign state institution
  • Swiss Private Sector
  • Sub-National State SouthEast

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    6’327’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    6’008’149 Total project since first phase Budget inclusive project partner CHF   6’327’000
Project phases

Phase 1 01.02.2014 - 31.12.2018   (Completed)