China is facing many challenges in the water sector while implementing integrated water resources management (IWRM). Another daunting task – adapting to water-related impacts of climate change, is also challenging China's water managers. These challenges have been posing threats to China's economic, social and environmental development. While separate efforts in promoting IWRM and climate change adaptation have been made, the approach of mainstreaming climate change adaptation strategy within IWRM is seldom studied. Attempting to fill the gap, this paper argues that there is great potential in synergizing them after analysing their distinctions and common points. By developing climate-proofing strategies within IWRM, mainstreaming is able to minimize adverse water-related climate change risks and maximize the benefits of policies and plans. In this study, entry points of mainstreaming climate change adaptation in the sustaining environment of IWRM and its process will be identified and analysed.