Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Variability and Water Stress in Uttarakhand State, India
The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) points out that freshwater availability in Asia is projected to decrease due to climate change. By the middle of the 21st century, annual average river runoff and water availability are projected to decrease by 10–30% relative to 1900–70 over some dry regions at mid-latitudes and in the dry tropics. Further, reduced water availability is projected for regions supplied by melt water from glaciers and snow (IPCC, 2007).
India receives an average annual precipitation of about 4000 billion cubic metres (BCM). Of this, utilizable surface water and groundwater resources are estimated to be only 690 and 432 BCM, respectively (CWC, 2005). As a result of wide fluctuations in the availability of water, spatially and temporally, water shortage is virtually an annual feature in several parts of the country. Moreover, acceleration in the rate of consumption due to an increasing population and changing lifestyles is a cause for concern for effective sustainable management and utilization of this resource. Per capita annual water availability in India has steadily declined from 1820 m3 in 2001 to 1703.6 m3 in 2005, coming close to the water stress threshold of 1700 m3 (CWC, 2005). Agriculture accounts for more than 80% of water withdrawals in the country, using both surface and groundwater resources. Water demand for irrigation is projected to rise from 541 BCM in 2000 to 910 BCM in 2025, and to 1072 BCM in 2050 (CWC, 2005).
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Ulka Kelkar, Kapil Kumar Narula, Ved Prakash Sharma, Usha Chandna, Vulnerability and adaptation to climate variability and water stress in Uttarakhand State, India, Global Environmental Change, Volume 18, Issue 4, October 2008, Pages 564-574, ISSN 0959-3780, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2008.09.003.