New Delhi: A Parliamentary Standing Committee has asked the government to initiate a study to evaluate the role of climate change in aggravating water scarcity, noting that changing global climate with the rise in temperatures has serious implications on water availability. Combined with rising population and urbanisation, extreme climate events have already started having serious repercussions on water balance in the form of excessive rainfall within a short span of time causing floods and increasing runoff without enough water getting seeped into the ground causing a decline in the water table beneath the ground, the standing committee report on water resources, which was tabled in Parliament on Monday (March 20), said.
Long spells of summer with rising temperatures, on the other hand, leave the land parched without enough water storage in the face of disappearing water bodies due to human encroachments, it noted.
In the face of such challenges, the committee expressed its apprehension that the measures taken so far to deal with this problem might not be adequate.
The committee recommended the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation to initiate a study to evaluate the role of climate change in aggravating water scarcity and the changes required in strategies to reduce their effects.
It was found that it took almost nine years for the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti to set up a full fledged National Water Mission in 2020 and that is still not well equipped with adequate funds and autonomy. The mission still needs expertise as consultants and advisors are yet to be appointed, the report stated.
Adequate studies are required to be undertaken to assess the impact of climate change on the total water availability to enable formulation of appropriate policies to handle their effects, it said.
“The committee would, therefore, recommend the government to give required financial powers and autonomy to the mission to enable it to fulfill their objective under National Action Plan on Climate Change and they also desire that NWM (National Water Mission) should be entrusted with the task of taking all the ministries/departments, state governments on board for devising strategies for water management in a cohesive manner,” it said.
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