with such conflicts, and the current political disputes among regional actors that complicate reaching any agreements on resource disputes. Water management institutions need to think systematically about integrating climate change risks in water resources policy, and they need to function in ways that are flexible and take account of the interests of all parties.
• The most dangerous situation to monitor for is a combination of state fragility (encompassing, e.g., recent violent conflict, obstacles to economic development, and weak management institutions) and high water stress.
• Although the history of international river disputes and agreements in this region suggests that cooperation is a more likely outcome than violent conflict, social conditions may have changed in ways that make historical patterns less informative about current and future challenges. Changes in the availability of water resources may still play an increasing role in political tensions, especially if existing water management institutions do not evolve to take better account of the social, economic, and ecological complexities in the region. Agreements will likely reflect existing political relations more than optimal management strategies.
• Changes to the hydrological system are inevitable, and adaptation is needed at all levels of governance. Lessons can be learned from developed countries, but these arrangements will not operate in the same way, and the time horizon for these solutions to bear fruit might be significant. Adaptation approaches need to be flexible enough to change with changing conditions, for example, smaller-scale and lower-cost water management systems, because of uncertainty in impacts and the dynamic nature of coming changes. There is a need to think through adaptation protocols now rather than when fear and urgency have become widespread.