This working paper presents a joint effort by the World Resources Institute and the Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR), a WSD implementing and research organization based in Pune, India, to develop an adaptation monitoring and evaluation (M&E) or tracking system to track success of WSD projects in terms of achieving climate change adaptation objectives. The goals of this paper are twofold: (1) to design an adaptation tracking system (ATS) for WOTR and share recommendations and lessons learned from this experience with the wider WSD community; and (2) to provide context on adaptation M&E or tracking and its challenges.

Key Findings

Adaptation tracking with respect to WSD in India needs to be fundamentally rethought to better enable the tracking of short- to long-term adaptation success to key vulnerability drivers. It will be important to move away from quantitative or output-focused M&E and impact reporting models to better enable long-term tracking of both quantitative and qualitative indicators covering ecosystem condi¬tions, capacity-building efforts and social improve¬ments, economic impacts, and changes in processes and behaviors by institutions and community members.

WSD implementing agencies and funders need to cooperate to adjust reporting require¬ments to promote consistent and long-term reporting that enables tracking of adaptation success. WSD implementing agencies face resource constraints, both financial and technical, in devel¬oping and maintaining quantitative/qualitative M&E systems. Funders of WSD can help by (1) cooperating with implementing agencies to understand their needs and goals related to WSD and adaptation success; (2) adjusting their reporting requirements to promote consistent reporting on key indicators over regular intervals to track changes in biophysical and human conditions; and (3) adjusting their reporting requirements and funding mechanisms to promote long-term reporting on ecosystem, social, and climate conditions, processes, and behavioral changes, and/ or supporting greater training on adaptation tracking and understanding of long-term success.

Participation by community members throughout the adaptation tracking devel¬opment and management process is critical for adaptation success. Ultimately, WSD success is defined by the target communities of WSD; and, as such, they should be involved in every step of the process. It is important that community input is representative of age, gender, occupation, and income levels. Additionally, community members can be better integrated into adaptation tracking by training them to support data collection and evaluation efforts.