CADWAGO is a response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 projections of climate change and the identified impact on water resources and eco-systems dependent on water. The possible consequences on resources in this regard focuses on sea level rise, shifts in weather patterns with an increase in the occurrence of extreme weather events, and increased water stress in different regions.

Water mediates all life processes. Both through its properties and processes water is central to making climate change adaptation grounded in real contexts, and provokes questions of security in terms of access to freshwater, to food supply (agriculture uses on average 70% of all irrigation water) and of the ongoing functioning of vital ecosystems services.

Some of the key issues in water governance identified in connection with climate change include: changes in water availability and demand around the world, increases and changes in locations of drought-affected and flooded areas, declining water supplies stored in glaciers and snow cover, limits to adaptation and adaptive capacity and the way that climate change impacts on water resources may affect sustainable development and put at risk, for example, the reduction of poverty and child mortality.

By helping to transform water governance, CADWAGO aims to enable multi-level multi-stakeholder collective action that will improve climate change adaptation responses, from a water security perspective. Through this approach both the livelihoods of communities and the ecosystem services that are dependent on water will be enhanced.