DynAKlim – Dynamic Adaptation to the Effects of Climate Change in the Emscher-Lippe Region (Ruhr Basin)

Background and Goals

Setting up a regional web-based knowledge management system and a region-wide roadmap process for the Emscher-Lippe region, DynAKlim supports the Emscher-Lippe region in becoming a proactive and innovative acting conurbation showing a considerably strengthened adaptability.

The DynAKlim work program includes interdisciplinary research on the effects on the regional water cycle, pilot projects to test flexible adaptation measures and the elaboration of implementation-oriented solutions to all technical, economic, regional policy and social aspects in the "Regional Adaptation".

The project region Emscher-Lippe comprises 52 municipalities, including Duisburg, Essen, Bochum and Dortmund. Emschergenossenschaft and Lippeverband, three regional councils, the Regional Association Ruhr (RVR), six chambers of industry and commerce and three chambers of crafts assume duties of (self-) administration in the region. In addition to the river basins the project region is closely linked to the surrounding municipalities, economic structures and water boards.

To structure the project work six sub-objectives have been formulated in order to achieve the main project objectives:

    1. Policy, Planning and Administration: To improve the regional governance and establish an effective adaptation management concrete approaches will be developed and taken in close cooperation with the decision makers and stakeholders of local authorities, with the institutions at regional level and with civil society actors.
    2. Funding and Organization: Approaches to organize and finance water management services in a climate resilient way are studied. Together with local partners a decision support system and adaptable, efficient organizational and financing models are being developed.
    3. Innovation and Competitiveness: This sub-objective will strengthen the adaptation process of the regional economy as a whole with the aim to identify, exploit and strengthen market and innovation potentials. Therefore a strategy for a climate-focused economic development will be developed together with the regional actors.
    4. Water management: This sub-objective addresses new concepts of sustainable management of water resources, adaptation strategies, planning processes and technology solutions to deal with the effects of climate change on water supply, urban drainage and urban climate in a more anticipating and flexible way in future.
    5. Networking and Knowledge management: Regional players are brought together to create effective coordination and working structures and to strengthen the transfer of knowledge in the region in order to bundle the development and implementation of adaptation measures. The aim is to institutionalize and stabilize the DynAKlim network that ensures the development and implementation of the Roadmap 2020.
    6. Initiate Roadmap 2020, work out together, sustainable use: With the roadmap, the region develops the orientation and implementation framework for a comprehensive adaptation strategy, which bundles and coordinates the previously isolated themes and objectives, priorities and activities of the regional actors.

Content time


Research area/region

  • Germany
Region of implementation (all German federal states)
  • Northrhine-Westphalia
Natural spatial classification
  • Low mountain ranges left and right of Rhine
  • West German lowland bay

Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change

Step 1: Understand and describe climate change

Approach and results 

Besides wet and moderately cold winters especially dry and hotter summers with recurrent heavy rains are predicted by climate scenarios for Germany. For the Emscher-Lippe region, an increase in mean annual temperature of + 2°C is expected to + 3.5°C by the end of the century. No significant changes in the mean annual total precipitation are expected (+ 5%), but a far less uniform distribution and a significant shift of precipitation from summer to winter. There are still regional climate simulations carried out such as for the urban climate.

Parameter (climate signals)
  • River flooding
  • Heat waves
  • Altered rainfall patterns
  • Higher average temperatures
  • Low water
  • Extreme precipitation (incl. hail, snow)
  • Storm
  • Dry periods
Time horizon
  • short term = next year’s / decades
  • medium term = to 2050

Step 2a: Identify and assess risks - climate effects and impact

Approach and results 

Depending on the climate scenarios the certain effects of climate change will have significant impact on the living and economic conditions of the people, on security, quality and cost of supply and disposal, and thus on the economic performance and competitiveness of the region. The rural cultural and natural spaces in Lippeverband area will be affected as well as densely populated urban areas in the Emscher region. Effects considered are for example increased flood risk in urban areas, competing use of regional water resources, increased (drinking) water consumption, deteriorating raw water quality, health risks, etc.

The project focuses mainly on the potential impacts of climate change on the availability and use of water in the region and the associated consequences on the population, economy and environment.

Step 2b: Identify and assess risks - Vulnerability, risks and chances

Approach and results 

People and goods protection can suffer damage depending on the intensity and duration of danger result such as a heavy rainfall event and their own vulnerability. Smith et al. (2000): "... vulnerability is understood to be a function of exposure to climate change impacts and the adaptive capacity of a system."

Step 3: Develop and compare measures

Measures and/or strategies 

By now only few of the decision makers in politics, business and administration are adequately prepared to plan and decide under continuing uncertainty to adapt facilities and services efficiently to the continuous changes of a complex environment in the coming years. Most actors at local and regional level currently missing the knowledge, intersectoral networking and long-term effective coordination instruments, in order to actively participate in the necessary regional adaptation process.

Time horizon
  • 2011–2040 (near future)
  • 2036–2065
  • 2071–2100 (far future)

Step 4: Plan and implement measures

Measures and/or strategies 

Developing a foundation and important components for a future pro-active, anticipatory adaptation of regional planning and development processes to the projected impacts of climate change as well as a "Roadmap 2020" on climate adaptation. The roadmap also allows the integration of additional regional activities, sectors and areas of activity that appear the region to be relevant for the design of the adaptation process (for example, health, mobility, urban development). The steps of "roadmapping" includes to collect facts, integrate facts and develop visions, communicate, apply and build trust. In the dynamic process of the coordination of "roadmapping" on adaptation topics and adaptation priorities the experience of regional actors and the work results of the five thematic regional platforms of the project are introduced continuously.

Costs of the measures 

Organization-, financing- and tariff- or fee structures for water management services come from a time when climate change was not an issue. Adaptation to climate change impacts means organizational challenges and increased financing needs in water management. Organisational structures and financing concepts are examined to figure out, whether they are suitable to meet the challenges of climate change, or whether restructuring is necessary.

Step 5: Watch and evaluate adaptation (monitoring and evaluation)

Approach, objective and results of the monitoring and/or evaluation 

The project has developed a monitoring manual in which a monitoring plan for the continuous assessment of the effectiveness of adaptation measures is described.


Funding / Financing 

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) - research priority: "KLIMZUG – Managing climate change in the regions for the future "

Project management 

Research Institute for Water and Waste Management, RWTH Aachen (FiW) e.V.


Technische Universität Dortmund;

Universität Duisburg-Essen;


Emscher-Genossenschaft / Lippe-Verband; ahu AG Wasser - Boden - Geomatik; dr.papadakis GmbH;

  • Instituts:

IWW Water Center;

Rhein-Ruhr-Institut für Sozialforschung und Politikberatung e. V. (RISP);

Rufis - Ruhr-Forschungsinstitut für Innovations- und Strukturpolitik;

Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy (additional regional network partners and European partners)


Forschungsinstitut für Wasser- und Abfallwirtschaft an der RWTH Aachen e.V.
Kackertstraße 15-17
D-52072 Aachen

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Fields of action:
 biological diversity  civil protection and disaster management  human health and care  industry and commerce  spatial planning, urban and settlement development  transport and transport infrastructure  water regime and water management  cross sectoral