Final Report: Water Security and Climate Change: Challenges and Strategies

Originally published



Global warming and the subsequent climatic change over the Himalayas, South Asia’s major water source is a topic of intense debate and scientific researches as it has huge ramification for both security and socio economic scenario in future. With global warming altering weather patterns and affecting fresh water availability, it has been often stressed that the next war will be fought not over oil but cover water. As the world gears up for the next round of United Nations climate-change negotiations in Durban, South Africa, in November, Guru Arjan Dev Institute of Development Studies called for its 3rd IDSAsr International Seminar to provide much needed better water resources in the future. The seminar was jointly sponsored by Government of India through its Ministry of Earth Science; Indian Council of Social Sciences Research; Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development.
Guru Arjan Dev Institute of Development Studies is a centre for advanced research and training in multi-disciplinary areas under the aegis of Guru Arjan Dev Institute of Development Studies Society Amritsar. The main objectives of this seminar has been to contribute to the understanding of the development processes and problems related to water security and climate change; to focus on studies relating to this problem of the by-passed section and regions; and to provide a forum for dialogue on the subject.

Food production and social development has depended heavily on access to the water needed to grow crops or rear livestock. In the past, balance between water supplies and human need has come under increasing threat from growing populations, urbanization and climate change. The likely increase in rainfall variability could have devastating effects on food production and rural livelihoods. Even a short dry spell during the growing season where farmers rely almost entirely on rainfall to water their crops, can devastate food supplies. Freshwater fit for human consumption is a scarce resource. Discussions about freshwater availability increasingly focus on water security, which refers to people's access to enough safe and affordable water to satisfy their needs for household use, food production and livelihoods.

Water insecurity and scarcity already affect large parts of the developing world. An additional threat to water security comes from climate change. Climate change has already affected water resources across the world. Agriculture accounts for more than 70 per cent of water use in the world. Addressing water scarcity will inevitably imply revising agricultural practices and policies worldwide to ensure their sustainability. Inadequate knowledge of policy framework and its poor implementation of water management process are proving to be the root cause of many water related problems. Hence, it is felt necessary to deliberate these issues both scientifically and socially with policy makers, international and national water experts. The seminar endeavors to share latest as well as traditional water knowledge and best practices on this issue, and discuss the possible options available for integrated water resource management. This seminar has provided a space for discussion, interaction, dissemination of information to policy-makers, water managers, academics, students and the public in general.