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India's Water Crisis and Climate Action UPSC NOTE

 The Challenge:

  • IMD predicts hotter summers and longer heatwaves, leading to water stress.

  • We need to shift from reactive disaster responses to proactive management of chronic risks.

  • Climate action requires a holistic approach across sectors.

India's Water Situation:

  • Water scarcity: India houses 18% of the world’s population on 2.4% of the earth’s surface area and has just 4% of global freshwater resources.

  • Nearly half its rivers are polluted, and 150 of its primary reservoirs are currently at just 38% of their total live storage capacity.



  • 75% of districts vulnerable to extreme climate events.

Why Water Matters:

  • Food Security: Water is crucial for agriculture, employing 45% of the workforce.

  • Energy Transition: Clean energy like green hydrogen relies on water.

  • Green hydrogen, seen as a crucial pillar for decarbonising industry and long-distance transport sectors, is produced using water and electricity sourced from renewables.

  • Pumped storage hydropower — which acts as a natural battery and is essential to balance the power grid load — is an important component of a clean but reliable power system.

  • Disaster Management: Water-related disasters are increasing.

  • According to the UN World Water Development Report 2020, almost 75% of natural disasters in the last two decades were related to water. 

  • According to CEEW analysis, between 1970 and 2019, the number of flood associated events (such as landslides, thunderstorms and cloud bursts) increased by up to 20 times in India.

  • Changing monsoon patterns affect agriculture, employment, and economic growth.

Policy Recommendations for Water Security:

  • Policies should integrate the food-land-water nexus through localized evidence and community engagement.

  • Water accounting principles are crucial for promoting water use efficiency and incentivizing investments in treated wastewater reuse.

  • More funding is needed for climate adaptation in the water sector, with a focus on strengthening wastewater management and promoting climate-resilient agricultural practices.

Moving Towards Systemic Change:

  • Coherence in water, energy, and climate policies is essential for addressing water-related challenges.

  • Data-driven baselines can increase water savings, while new financial instruments and markets can facilitate adaptation investments.

  • Incremental progress is feasible through these measures, leading to a water-secure and climate-resilient economy.

Conclusion:

  • A water-secure economy is the foundation for a climate-resilient one, necessitating concerted efforts in policy, governance, and finance.

  • Long-term sustainability requires proactive measures to address water-related challenges and adapt to changing climate realities.

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: India's Water Crisis and Climate Action UPSC NOTE
India's Water Crisis and Climate Action UPSC NOTE
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