India

30 Indian cities likely to suffer ‘acute water risk’ by 2050, study finds

New Delhi: Near about 30 cities in India, including Jaipur, Delhi, Amritsar, Pune, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Vishakhapatnam are “susceptible to acute water risks”, a survey by Water Risk Filter revealed on Tuesday.

The survey found that nearly one-third of the 100 cities in the world which are “susceptible to water risk” ranging from droughts to floods, are in India.

An online tool, co-developed by the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Water Risk Filter assesses water-related risks by graphically illustrating various factors that can contribute to water risk and enables companies and investors to respond to water-related risks worldwide.

Other factors that were used to evaluate a city’s risk included aridity, availability of fresh water, the impact of climate change, the presence of regulatory laws governing water use, and conflict.

Rankings of ‘high risk’ and ‘very high risk’ for both 2030 and 2050 were received by 30 cities in the country where Jaipur topped the Indian cities list, followed by Indore and Thane.

Other cities prone to water risk include Beijing, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Mecca, and Rio de Janeiro. Almost half of the cities identified are from China. The 100 cities expected to experience the greatest rise in water risk by 2050 are home to at least 350 million people, it said.

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For cities to break away from the current vicious loop of flooding and water scarcity, nature-based solutions like restoration of urban watersheds and wetlands could offer solutions. This is our chance to re-evolve and re-imagine what the future of the cities could be,” Sejal Worah, program director, WWF India, said in a statement.

The analysis also cited issues like deforestation, soil erosion, overgrazing, air pollution, and water pollution that contributed to the country’s environmental problems.

The analysis by WWF also stressed the importance of India’s Smart Cities initiative and noted that the initiative provided a framework for water management.

“Urban watersheds and wetlands are critical for maintaining the water balance of a city, flood cushioning, micro-climate regulation, and protecting its biodiversity,” the report said.

The survey also said that multi-stakeholder engagements with local communities are essential to creating and conserving sustainable water infrastructure and rejuvenating urban freshwater systems. Urban planning and wetland conservation, it noted, had to be integrated to preserve freshwater systems in urban areas.

It also proposed that nature-based solutions like restoring degraded watersheds, reconnecting rivers to their floodplains, and creating urban wetlands be implemented whilst improving infrastructure and reducing water consumption.

 

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