THE World Bank has warned that water scarcity, exacerbated by climate change, could impact growth, spur migration and spark conflict across the globe including in India where several regions are facing water deficit.
A World Bank report ‘High and Dry: Climate Change, Water and the Economy’ released on Tuesday said the combined effects of growing populations, rising incomes and expanding cities will see demand for water rising exponentially, while supply becomes more erratic and uncertain. Calling for need to enhance efficiency of water use in India, a top World Bank official said there is going to be mounting, increasing water deficits, or at least increasing demands for water across India.
In India, property related violence increases by about four per cent when there is below average rainfall and communal riots become more frequent following episodes of floods, the World Bank said. In Gujarat, when groundwater irrigation became less available or more expensive due to a declining water table, farmers migrated to cities instead of seeking alternative adaptation strategies such as shifts in cropping patterns or more efficient irrigation technologies, it said.
“According to one estimate, groundwater pumping accounts for no less than four to six per cent of India’s total carbon emissions,” the World Bank said.
“Water scarcity is a major threat to economic growth and stability around the world, and climate change is making the problem worse,” said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.
“If countries do not take action to better manage water resources, our analysis shows that some regions with large populations could be living with long periods of negative economic growth. But countries can enact policies now that will help them manage water sustainability for the years ahead,” he said.