Water Security and Climate Adaptation in Rural India (WASCA)
Title: Water Security and Climate Adaptation in Rural India(WASCA)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Rural Development, MoRD; Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD & GR)
Overall term: 2019 to 2022
High population density, economic growth and climate change are behind the destruction of life-supporting ecosystems in India. The country’s natural resources, too, are steadily depleting. This is affecting some 60 per cent of all farmland and 40 per cent of all forested areas.
India is one of the countries most affected by climate change and occupies sixth place in the Global Climate Risk Index 2018. According to India’s Composite Water Management Index (2018), 600 million people in the country are suffering from an acute shortage of water. A shrinking and sometimes contaminated water supply, heavy reliance on rainfall and a lack of alternative irrigation systems are a major problem in rural areas, where some 70 per cent of the Indian population live. In this changing climate scenario water security is therefore a prime concern.
The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) is the principal partner for most of the development and social programmes in rural regions. MoRD invests an annual eight billion euros in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, thereby making a substantial contribution to improving sustainable resource management and rural livelihoods. More than half of public resources go towards developing climate-proof infrastructures with a view to sustainable land and soil development, water harvesting and conservation, and protection against extreme weather events, such as drought and flooding.
The National Water Mission (NWM) is one of the eight programmes in the National Action Plan on Climate Change, reflecting the high political priority given to water security in India in the face of climate change. To implement the Mission, a department has been created within the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. NWM promotes advocacy, research and experience-sharing among various stakeholders on issues of water and climate change.
Rural water resource management is improved with regard to water security and climate adaptation.
Together with MoRD and NWM, the project improves India’s water security while taking climate change into account. The project strengthens the knowledge and capacity of public and private institutions, as well as of stakeholders, to implement integrated water resource management. To do so, pilot measures are being trialled in selected districts and municipalities and successful approaches disseminated at the federal and national levels. Parallel to this, the project provides training for small farmers, through demonstration measures and courses, and teaches them how to use water resources efficiently while taking climate change into consideration. It also promotes collaboration between various government departments and other stakeholders to improve the planning and increase financing of climate-proof water security. In addition, greater cooperation with the private sector will, it is hoped, foster measures for integrated and climate-proof management of water resources at the federal and local levels.