Draft National Water Policy 2012 and mainstreaming climate change adaptation

Climate change issue is being loudly debated on international level to reduce emission of various gases, and each nation’s responsibility to control the emission. Although, the proposed National Water Policy 2012 in India proposes few debatable recommendations on prioritising water-use, water-pricng, and equity issues, in response to addressing climate change implications, it came with many useful recommendations and suggestions to build and increase the adaptive capacities of communities to climate change.

Section 4 of the draft ‘adaption to climate change’ substantially focuses on the climate change adaption issue. The draft recommends special impetus towards mitigation at micro level by enhancing the capabilities of community to adopt climate resilient technological options. It also focuses on increasing water storage in various forms, namely, soil moisture, ponds, ground water, small and large reservoirs, and their combination, which provides a mechanism for dealing with increased variability because of climate change.

There is positive recommendation in the draft for stakeholder participation in land-soil-water management and evolving different compatible agricultural strategies and cropping patterns. It proposes that this can be achieved by involving water users, sensitizing them appropriately and building their capacities. The draft also tries to address issue of spatial inequity. As soil and water conservation measures in upstream region reduce the sediment load in the streams increasing life of and benefits from downstream structures, the draft proposes cost sharing system between upstream and downstream regions. Considering further climate change implications the draft also proposes incorporating coping strategies in planning and management of various water resources structures.

Although, the draft is much vocal about the climate change adaptation, we need to carefully see how various promises about the climate change issue, committed in policy get strategize into actions. This is important, because a look at the history of environmental conservation in India reveals many well appreciated policies being paralysed due to lack of firm legal support.

Eshwer Kale,
Research Consultant, Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR), Pune,
PhD Scholar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai,
eshwer.kale@wotr.org.in, eshwar.kale@tiss.edu

Post By: Eshwer Kale