Policy brief: Improving adaptation capacity of communities to face the climate-induced challenges in water management: The way forward
The high level of vulnerability of South Asia to climate change is resulting from several factors, many of which are population-related. Five of the twenty megacities of the world are located in South Asia. South Asia is home to three of the most densely populated river basins in the world—the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra—which support an estimated 700 million people. The cooperation amongst the South-Asian regional countries for preparation and dissemination of meaningful flood and drought forecasting in the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Meghna river basin areas to save the life and living of millions of downtrodden people still remains a far cry.The Water Security Index for South Asia 1.6 (ADB’s Asia WaterDevelopment Outlook 2013) confirms the region as a hotspotwhere, populations and economies are being adverselyimpacted by poor water security. Location-specific drinking water scarcity has already been experienced by climate vulnerable people and communities in many parts of South Asia. Natural resources of the sub-region are highly disproportionate to the population; about a quarter of global population residing in South Asia depends on less than five percent of land and water resources of the world, causing a lot of stress on the resources. About 70% of the South Asians living in rural areas are heavily dependent of water for a living. Climate change will result in decreasing the gross per capita water availability in all the South Asian countries and water-stress in a large part of the region before 2050. Domestic food security is linked to what the small farmers produce, and the current projections indicate that the cereal production in South Asia will decrease up to 30% by the end of this century, due to climate change. This results in conflicting and challenging problems for policy makers. The people who migrate away from rural poverty may find themselves walking into an urban poverty trap. Many of the urban poor constitute daily wage earners, who may find increased unpredictability of weather interfering with their livelihoods.