A number of Indian cities are bound to witness severe water risk in the next few decades, according to the Worldwide Fund for Nature's (WWF) Water Risk Filter released on Monday, November 3,
It says that Delhi, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Amritsar and 26 other cities would face substantial water risk impacting the daily lives of people.
WWF's new water risk scenarios estimate have highlighted that crores of people in cities across the globe could face a dramatic increase in water risks. Urgent measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change has been stated to be the need of the hour.
The filter is reportedly a tool to measure various risks including physical scarcity of water: water depletion; pollution; fragmentation of river ecosystems; projections for flooding, regulatory and policy risks, climate change etc.
India is at high risk due to various factors as per the assessment's mapping. By 2050, many parts of India including north, west and peninsular India are likely to experience extreme water shortages.
"The future of India's environment lies in its cities. As India rapidly urbanises, cities will be at the forefront both for India's growth and for sustainability. For cities to break away from the current vicious loop of flooding and water scarcity, nature-based solutions like restoration of urban watersheds and wetlands could offer solutions. This is our chance to re-evolve and re-imagine what the future of the cities could be," said Sejal Worah, Programme Director, WWF India, reported Hindustan Times.
According to the scenarios in the WWF Water Risk Filter, 100 cities that are expected to suffer the greatest rise in water risk by 2050 are home to at least 3.5 crore people as well as nationally and globally important economies.
Populations in the high-water risk areas could rise from 17 per cent in 2020 to 51 per cent by 2050. China accounts for almost half of the cities that are at high water risk. Beijing, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Mecca and Rio de Janeiro are also in the list.
"Indian cities are at very high water risk because in the landscape planning high rises and industries but there is no holistic planning. Ecological factors are not properly considered during city planning. So the water catchments and flow lines change due to urbanisation. There is a very fragile equilibrium which has to be maintained. This is particularly true for new cities that are coming up with little planning," said Shashank Shekhar, assistant professor, department of geology, Delhi University.