The paper by the Challenge Program on Water and Food deals with the impact of climate change on water resources & glacier melt and potential adaptations in Indian agriculture. Global climatic changes will have major effects on precipitation, water availability, glacier/ice melt, and sea level rise. Climate-induced changes in hydrological conditions will affect the magnitude, frequency, and damage costs of future extreme events.
There is evidence that flooding is likely to become a larger problem in South Asian countries. The most significant uncertainties are the changes in precipitation and runoff projected by large-scale general circulation models. Uncertainties exist in translating large-scale climatic changes into specific regional impacts because of problems with models and data, and because many of the human impacts will depend on economic, technological, and institutional factors that help define our water system.
For a comprehensive, integrated and futuristic policy framework on adaptation to climate change in water resources the following recommendations need to be seriously considered -
- There is a pressing need for improvement and strengthening of existing institutional arrangements and systems to make the initial response to a disaster more effective and professional.
- Multiple uses of water, ensuring hydrological sustainability of intensive cropping systems, reducing non-beneficial evaporation losses, breeding drought/ flood tolerant and water efficient cultivars and community participation in resource management shall help in demand management of the resources.
- The traditional flood control and flood management methods already in place in the country need to be streamlined, modernized and made effective to take care of more frequent, intense and potentially unprecedented floods inundating vast land areas.
- The concept of an institutionalized process of management consisting of vulnerability mapping, community involvement, prevention, mitigation, quick responses, a comprehensive relief mechanism, use of modern tools and procedures of monitoring, impact documentation and capacity building needs to be fully in place in India.
The full paper can be downloaded here