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Framework For Effective Iwrm And Adaptation To Climate Change Impacts On Water Resources

Congress: 2015
Author(s): Ashvani Kumar Gosain, Chakresh Sahu
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi1

Keyword(s): Sub-theme 17: Climate change, impacts and adaptation,
Abstract Throughout the World countries are engaged in formulating policies to cater to the implications to various sectors on account of climate change. One of the key sectors that are going to be adversely impacted is that of water resources. Quantification of the implications of climate change on water resources of south Asian river systems is more complex on account of the poor understanding of these basins under the present situation mainly due very rapid rate of water resources development in isolation by multiple organizations/ministries in the form of various programmes ranging from local level programmes such as watershed management that targets empowering the village level communities to large scale projects in the form of big dams, all targeting the common water resources. All these programmes despite using the common water resources do not usually talk with each other thereby resulting in a very poor level of information base on the ever changing baseline information required for Integrated Water Resources Management philosophy to be implemented. Integrated water resource management planning is a comprehensive planning process, involving all stakeholders within the drainage system, who together as a group, cooperatively work towards identifying the water resource issues and concerns, as well as developing and implementing plans with solutions that are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable at various levels of connectivity of the drainage system. It is important to understand that integrated water resource management should not merely imply the maintenance of an inventory of different activities to be undertaken within a hydrological unit. It also requires the collation of relevant information needed to evaluate the cause and effect of all the proposed actions within the drainage basin. The watershed is the smallest unit where the evaluation of man induced impacts upon natural resources becomes possible. Therefore although the village remains the preferred implementation unit, the watershed should be the evaluation unit used in assessing impacts. Since a watershed is considered as the smallest unit of a drainage basin, therefore a hydrological framework that can keep track of the inter-connection of these units is essential. The impact resulting from action taken at the watershed level will be experienced at a higher level within the drainage basin, and the assessment of these impacts will require the availability of the framework. Such a framework will require regular maintenance and updating to reflect fully the most accurate ground reality in terms of the water resources infrastructure and their functioning by the relevant departments. Also, time is not far when while formulating the coping strategies to the impacts of climate change on water resources, forest, land and water, policies need to be worked out in such a manner that pro-poor benefits are maximised within the post-climate change availability of water resources. All this requires a framework that can be instrumental in exploring various options in the simulation domain wherein implications of various options to be adapted can be evaluated and shared with the various stakeholders in a user-friendly manner. This shall also bring about an enhanced level of community participation as well as a mechanism for ensuring environmental sustainability. The paper demonstrates the use of new technologies in the form of a GIS based framework that has been put together and can be used for disseminating information to a large cross-section of stakeholders for planning and management at various levels. The framework is best suited for evaluating the implications of water resources development activities before these are actually implemented. Presently, the framework has also been populated with the evaluation of the climate change impacts on water resources of the rivers of South Asia using various climate change scenarios (http://gisserver.civil.iitd.ac.in/natcom). It has a huge potential for being used as a dissemination tool to a large cross-section of stakeholders of water. Keywords Water resource management, GIS, Dissemination framework
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