A.I Climate Variability and Change
1. With alpine conditions, arid deserts and tropical regions, India's climate is as varied as its landscape. The summer monsoon marks the most important event in the economic calendar of rural India. Over 70% of the annual precipitation falls between the months of June and September and a good monsoon heralds a bountiful harvest and financial security. But when monsoons fail, or are excessive, suffering and economic loss can be widespread. Climate variability has been the source of both misery and prosperity for much of rural India. India is already experiencing the effects of climate variability. It is at risk of considerably deeper impacts if climate projections are indicative of what may actually happen.
2. Recognizing the significance of climate variability on growth and development, the Government of India has established a range of programs, policies and institutions to moderate the impacts of climate-related risks. These long-standing programs have done much to unleash the development potential of agriculture and have helped build resilience to climate shocks. India's disaster management programs rank among the most comprehensive in the world and have achieved considerable success in countering the most severe effects of extreme events. When floods or drought descend, an elaborate relief machinery springs into operation, with rapidly arranged protective policies that include employment schemes, cash and food disbursements, and emergency health care.
Fiscal Burden of Climate Extremes
3. The extensive relief systems have come at a substantial price on the public purse. Several state governments spend significantly more on relief and damages than on core rural development programs. In the state of Maharashtra, a single drought (2003) and flood (2005) absorbed more of the budget (Rs 175 billion), than the entire planned expenditure (Rs 152 billion) on irrigation, agriculture, and rural development from 2002-2007. Climate change is expected to increase the frequency of extreme events in ways that are outside the realm of experience, so relief measures and their financing may not be sustainable, particularly if droughts and floods concomitantly become more severe. This is already beginning to compromise the effectiveness of many development programs. Though relief can be strengthened and will continue to remain a vital part of the defense against climate extremes, in the long term there is a clear fiscal and development imperative to strengthen climate resilience of the rural economy by addressing the root causes of vulnerability.
Vulnerability of Agriculture
4. With an emerging gap between the languishing performance of agriculture and the accelerating growth of industry, the Government of India has assigned the highest priority to supporting development in the agriculture sector in the Eleventh Five Year Plan period (2007-2012), with targeted growth of 4%. However, delivering on the promise of faster agricultural growth will be difficult, given the multiple constraints facing the sector including, fragmented landholdings, inadequate market access and rapidly depleting natural resources. This will be made more challenging by the impacts and consequences of ongoing and future climate change. For the poor and marginal (1) farmers clustered along the poverty line, even small climatic shocks could impose large and irreversible losses, triggering poverty and destitution. Reaching development targets will therefore require priority investments in building the climate resilience of vulnerable rural communities with a portfolio of adaptation options that can address climate risks. (2)
Geographic Diversity: A Further Challenge for Adaptation
5. India's immense geographic diversity adds to the complexity of developing an adaptation strategy. Projections indicate that climate variations in India will be varied and heterogeneous, with some regions experiencing more intense precipitation and increased flood risks, while others encounter sparser rainfall and prolonged droughts. The impacts will vary across sectors, locations and populations. The implication for a country so diverse is that broad generalizations on ways to promote adaptation to climate change will be misleading. Consequently, there can be no one-size-fits-all approach to developing a climate risk management strategy: approaches will need to be tailored to fit local vulnerabilities and conditions. All of this renders adaptation policy making complex and difficult.
A.II Objectives of the Study
6. It is in this context that the Government of India has acknowledged the need to develop adaptation strategies to deal with the possible human toll and economic costs of climate variability and change. The aim of this study is to assist the government in this endeavor by focusing on selected priorities. The overarching objective of this report is to promote the mainstreaming and integration of climate related risks in India's development policies and processes, where this is appropriate. The objectives and scope of work were developed in close consultation with the Ministry of Environment and Forests as the primary counterpart, a cross-section of concerned ministries and departments in the central government and in three selected states, and scientific experts from academic, policy and research institutions. In the states, the Department of Water Resources, Government of Orissa, and the Department of Rural Development and Water Conservation, Government of Maharashtra, supported these assessments, reflecting a multisectoral interest in and demand for adaptation solutions.
7. The focus of this report is on vulnerabilities in natural resources and rural livelihoods, which stand at the front line of climate change impacts. (3) The approach was dictated by government priorities, which indicated the need to (a) assess climate risks to agriculture and livelihoods in areas facing elevated and increasing exposure to droughts and floods; (b) generate better information on current coping and climate risk management strategies in response to droughts and floods; (c) develop and demonstrate the use of a climate modeling framework that could be used to identify future climate risks and (d) use the information to assist in developing the key elements of a forward-looking adaptation plan that can help improve climate resilience and adaptive capacity.
A.III The Approach
8. Responding to these needs, the assessment is focused on drought-prone regions of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, and select flood-prone districts in Orissa. The study adopts multiple approaches to meet its objectives:
* First, it learns lessons from the past and present by gathering statistical information to understand how rural communities in the study areas cope with and build resilience to extreme climate events.
* This is complemented by a review of governmental programs and institutions, which identifies policy and administrative gaps and strengths in addressing climate risks.
* The impacts of climate variability and change are projected to differ in kind and magnitude from current climate patterns. So lessons from the past may be of limited relevance in guiding future policy. Looking forward, the study builds an integrated modeling system (IMS) to assess future climate risks and vulnerabilities in the study regions.
* Finally, the report synthesizes the results and articulates a way forward for promoting adaptation and building climate resilience of rural communities in the study areas.
9. The modeling framework used in this study is a complex but powerful tool that generates information on future climate scenarios and the likely impacts on agriculture. The system integrates a climate model with a hydrological water balance model. Together these feed information (on temperature, precipitation, and soil moisture) into an agronomic (crop growth) model that simulates the impacts on crop yields. A custom-built farm-level economic model assesses the financial consequences for farmers and determines cost-effective adaptation strategies. The development of the farm economic model represents an innovation of this study and provides a tool that can be used to assess the financial effects of different policies and scenarios.
10. Before delving into the main results, a number of caveats and qualifications are in order. First, neither the issues, nor the locations, examined in this report are intended to provide an exhaustive account of adaptation to climate variability and change in a country as large and varied as India. With a focus on droughts and floods, the case studies are indicative of "hotspots" and regions at the edge of climate tolerance limits. These zones constitute about one-third of the country comprising many of the "lagging regions" with a large population, who are disproportionately poor, and most at risk from climate change. There are other regions such as the fragile Himalayas, the biodiverse Western Ghats, the vast coastal areas, and the prolific agricultural lands of the Gangetic plains that are not covered in this study and need to be considered in subsequent work.
11. Second, as in all matters relating to climate change, there are long and uncertain time frames. Forecasting climate events, or the economy, even a few years into the future remains an imprecise and hazardous exercise. By its nature the analysis of climate change must look ahead many decades. The model projections should be interpreted with caution and viewed as indications of the possible direction and magnitude of changes rather than as precise forecasts. Despite these uncertainties, policy makers are compelled to respond to climate risks and make decisions on matters that will be affected by future climate events. Modeling exercises can help policy makers to generate informed decisions based on scientific assessments of risks, outcomes, and policy impacts. Nevertheless, it needs to be emphasized that model simulations are not predictions but scenarios based on a host of assumptions.
B. Coping with and Adapting to Drought Conditions
B.I Consequences of and Responses to Drought
12. India has a long history of addressing droughts, so the study begins by exploring how farmers in selected drought-prone areas of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra are affected by and respond to droughts. The immediate consequence of drought is a predictable and often precipitous decline in agricultural production and income. This ignites an ominous chain of events--indebtedness, distress sales, asset depletion, and deteriorating health--all of which perpetuate poverty and deprivation. However, in any community certain households are less affected by drought than others, irrespective of landholding, wealth, or location.
13. What explains why some exhibit greater resilience to drought than others? The answer lies in the interplay of key factors: the availability of water, a critical farm input; economic incentives that shape the way farmers react to climate risks; and the opportunities created by policy and circumstance. Among these the following variables are found to have a disproportionate bearing on vulnerability to droughts:
* Reliable irrigation supplies, in particular groundwater, can provide insurance against income losses due to meager rainfall. Beyond this self-evident link, the assessment finds more nuanced impacts. The availability of irrigation supplies tends to promote greater reliance on lucrative and water-intensive crops such as rice and sugarcane. If irrigation supplies are assured through a drought, then agricultural incomes are protected. Conversely, when water sources become depleted there is a more dramatic fall in incomes, with debilitating consequences. In broad terms, holding other factors constant, a household with access to irrigation during a drought year in Andhra Pradesh earns about 50% more income. The clear implication is that judicious and sustainable water use can provide an indispensable buffer against deficient rainfall. For this to occur there is an overwhelming need to tackle the unrestrained competition for groundwater.
* Household indebtedness is another major consequence of drought in communities facing heightened climate risks in areas with degraded and scarce natural resources. The assessment finds that once encumbered by high debt, households are locked into agriculture and remain more exposed to climate risks. Obvious remedies such as debt-forgiveness schemes may help to appease suffering, but they do not address one of the root causes of the problem--an overreliance on rainfall-dependent sources of income. This suggests scope for introducing cost-effective policy instruments that simultaneously tackle the problem of indebtedness and provide incentives for job mobility.
* Finally, the provision of local public goods, notably infrastructure and education, provide opportunities for income diversification, thereby limiting the exposure to drought risks. Infrastructure and education in climate-vulnerable communities yields a double dividend--they generate well-recognized development benefits in the near term and simultaneously build resilience to drought in the longer term. In particular education exhibits increasing returns in building climate resilience, whereas infrastructure stimulates economic activity and enhances employment and business opportunity. The policy implication is that climate vulnerabilities need to be integrated into decisions that guide the location and design of public investments and infrastructure.
B.II Future Prospects for Drought-Prone Regions under Climate Change
14. What does future climate change hold for these regions? The modeling framework developed in this study is used to generate projections of climate events based on two commonly used emission scenarios developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for the period 2070-2100. (4) The assessment distinguishes between the influence of climate on agriculture, from other possible shifts in the economy (such as prices, economic structure and technology). (5) The projections find considerable variability of impacts across regions and crops. In dry areas most crops respond favorably to higher precipitation and elevated levels of carbon dioxide (termed carbon fertilization). But these can be offset by higher temperatures. The net effect is determined by the magnitude of changes and baseline conditions.
Drought-Prone Districts of Andhra Pradesh
15. In the arid study regions of Andhra Pradesh the climate projections indicate substantially higher temperatures (2.3[degrees]C -3.4[degrees]C, on average) and a modest but more erratic increase in rainfall (of about 4% to 8% at the basin level). With high prevailing baseline temperatures these changes generate deteriorating agroclimatic conditions, with declining yields for the major crops (rice, groundnut, and jowar). Though all yields decline, conditions are more favorable to groundnut, which is already prevalent in the area, reflecting farm-level adjustments to arid conditions. Despite groundnut's suitability to these harsh conditions there are well-recognized risks that prolonged monocropping brings: pests, disease, and fertility loss. Projections suggest that declining yields of major dryland crops are mirrored in lower agriculture incomes. In the harsher climate change scenarios, farm incomes could decline substantially (by over 20%), suggesting that agriculture as currently practiced may not be capable of sustaining large populations on small rain-fed farms. Recognizing these limits the Government of Andhra Pradesh has initiated numerous programs to encourage agricultural and occupational diversification and a forward-looking drought adaptation program supported by the World Bank.
Drought-Prone Districts of Maharashtra
16. The drought-prone belt in Maharashtra (specifically Nashik and Ahmednagar districts) offers a striking contrast. The climate projections suggest a significant, though more variable, increase in rainfall (approximately 20% to 30% at the basin level) accompanied by higher temperatures of about 2.4[degrees]C to 3.8[degrees]C, on average. As a result the yield of several dryland crops (including the millet varieties of jowar and bajra) exhibit small improvements and provide a measure of relief to rain-fed farmers with a boost of about 8% to 15% in incomes. Prospects for other crops are less certain. Sugarcane is widely grown on irrigated farms in arid regions of the state. Under the climate change scenarios sugarcane yields are expected to decline considerably (by nearly 30%) as a result of increased heat stress caused by the warmer climate.
17. Negative trends in sugarcane production are already visible across the state. Sugarcane is generously subsidized and has been implicated in the overabstraction of groundwater. There is mounting evidence of a significant reduction in the output and yields, due in part to increasing levels of environmental degradation. Climate change pressures would reinforce the many current benefits from encouraging a shift from sugarcane to less water intensive crops.
C. Elements of a Strategy for Adaptation to Drought Conditions
18. Is there a need for additional policy and public investments to promote adaptation to climate change? Vulnerabilities to climate extremes and change are often related to poverty. So it may be argued that as India grows more prosperous, it will inevitably build greater resilience to climate risks. The myriad government programs that deal with education, infrastructure, and job creation also serve a complementary objective of reducing community exposure to climate risks. In this context, adaptation policy can be viewed as an adjunct to good development policies that promote equitable growth. All of this might suggest that adaptation to climate change requires no additional policy priority or interventions.
19. There are, however, high risks associated with complacency that could magnify the costs of climate variability and change. The projections in this report suggest a considerable and mounting human toll from climate change and highlight the need and urgency for mitigating the avoidable costs, particularly among the vulnerable sections of society. Incomes on the small rain-fed farms in Andhra Pradesh could decline by 5% under modest climate change and by over 20% under harsher conditions, bringing farmers closer to, and in many cases under, the poverty line. The escalating fiscal strain of the current drought relief system reinforces the need to tackle the root causes of drought vulnerability as a priority in the development process.
20. This report suggests that building greater climate resilience requires a combination of measures packaged with the right incentives and implemented at multiple levels of government (local, state, and national). Reactive or singular approaches to droughts, such as relief and emergency assistance or debt relief alone for that matter, are essential to appease suffering, but could generate perverse incentives that perpetuate climate risks and impede appropriate adaptation. Consequently these should be complemented with a combination of other initiatives that promote longer-term climate resilience.
C.I Policy Approaches
Policies to Build Adaptive Capacity and Resilience to Climate Risks
21. A strategy to build climate resilience and ignite growth needs to take account of a region's comparative advantage, resource constraints, and the impending changes brought about by climate. The exact policies and interventions will differ by location and circumstance, with emphasis given to four overarching strategies: (a) the need for policy and investment decisions to be based on sound scientific knowledge of risks, calling for the use of diagnostic risk assessment tools to generate policy-relevant information; (b) innovations and reforms in agriculture and water management that promote more climate resilient cropping systems; (c) cost-effective and efficient management of climate risks to promote income diversification through economic instruments; and (d) institutional structures to facilitate these changes. These strategies are formulated on the basis of the study findings in combination with a review of the literature and a consultative process with government officials and NGOs, and are discussed below.
Strengthening Climate Risk Information and Tools to Match Needs
22. Climate change will have heterogeneous and spatially variable impacts. The first step in building adaptation policy is to identify vulnerabilities and risks to determine priorities for investment and policy. A recent Bank assessment has also emphasized the need for such informed decision making (World Bank 2006f).
23. There are two immediate areas where climate risk information is required:
* First, climate change could have important ramifications for assets with long lead times and long design lives. The location, construction and refurbishment of these will need to incorporate climate risk information. This is particularly important for arid regions where changing water flows or rainfall patterns could require modification or relocation of vital irrigation infrastructure.
* Second, the assessment finds that local public goods (notably education and infrastructure) play a powerful role in enhancing climate resilience. Consequently climate risks need to be integrated into policy decisions in these sectors, calling for the use of diagnostic risk assessment tools to determine how much to invest and where to invest.
24. The capacity to generate this information rests with national research centers, while the need and demand for the information lie with affected communities and the government. This argues in favor of a recent suggestion by the Planning Commission to build a climate information system at the national level to disseminate information for planning and management to end users (Planning Commission 2007). This initiative will also need to be supported by improved meteorological information at the subbasin and local levels (blocks and subblocks) to improve forecasting and monitoring capabilities.
Innovation and Reforms in Agriculture
25. In drought-prone areas water scarcity is the limiting factor of production and plays a key role in shaping the fortunes of agriculture. Much has been done across the country to address water shortages, with a particular focus on supply-side remedies, including large infrastructure, watershed, rainwater harvesting and water conservation programs, and a host of community initiatives. However, water management still remains a formidable challenge. The climate change projections indicate that even when farmers have largely adapted to arid cropping patterns, increased demand and consequent water stress could severely jeopardize livelihoods and diminish agricultural productivity. There is an overwhelming case for more aggressively pursuing water conservation in semi-arid and arid regions. Greater attention must be given to hybrid approaches that emphasize the efficiency of groundwater use and increase the effectiveness of watershed activities to conserve soil moisture and harvest water. Such measures are not a substitute for pricing policies and water policy reform, which would need to focus on the demand side, for example by strengthening incentives and controlling groundwater demand at the wider geographic scale necessary for effective management. However, they provide interim and feasible measures for reducing vulnerabilities (DFID 2005a).
Research and Extension
26. The study makes a strong case for a shift in agricultural systems in order to overcome future climate change pressures. It is clear that small and medium farmers in dryland areas will need greater support with knowledge and policy assistance to make this transition work on a large scale. Much is already occurring across the country and there is research in dryland farming for rice, horticulture and numerous other crops. Strengthened support for agricultural research and extension is essential to promote more sustainable modes of dryland farming. This could include looking at opportunities in farm services associated with low costs of production and intensifying agro-forestry and livestock-based production systems suitable to dryland areas, among others.
"Smart Subsidies" and Incentives
27. In the medium to near term, alternative mechanisms are needed to deliver support to farmers more effectively, with the resulting savings being used to increase public investment in ways that reduce the exposure to climate risks. This would also require complementary measures that address the farm-level incentives (including subsidies and regulations) that have implicitly encouraged the production of water-intensive crops (such as sugarcane) in arid regions. Experience elsewhere suggests that the use of interim smart subsidies may offer a pragmatic way to shift incentives and, thus, cropping patterns to modes that are better suited to agroclimatic conditions. Smart subsidies recognize that there are costs to altering cropping patterns and provide incentives to change the crop mix by shifting support from environmentally degrading activities to more benign forms of production. As an example, moving price support from water-intensive agriculture to dryland crops could help counteract the current incentives to cultivate water-thirsty crops.
Financial and Economic Instruments to Promote Income Diversification
28. In semi-arid and arid areas where the natural productivity of agriculture is low and threatened by droughts, income diversification remains the most obvious and effective way of reducing exposure to climate risks. This brings new and unfamiliar transition risks to farmers that can be tackled through a variety of financial incentives that facilitate the shift to nonfarm activities and promote job diversification.
Debt Relief Coupled with Other Instruments
29. Farmer indebtedness is among the major impediments to occupational mobility. An important priority and challenge for policy is to find cost-effective ways of reaching poorer farmers to help reduce their risk exposure. Coupling debt relief with new risk mitigation instruments is an obvious way to prevent a debt-induced poverty trap. Two innovations merit further policy consideration and scrutiny:
* The relief of old debt could be coupled with the provision of capital for a new business. This would simultaneously reduce indebtedness and lower the transaction costs of occupational shifts by providing new opportunities. The myriad ongoing micro-credit schemes provide a vehicle to pilot such schemes.
* A variant of this approach would have debt relief coupled with insurance to cover the initial risks of shifting from farming to other businesses and provide protection against new and unfamiliar sources of risk. (6)
Institutional Change: Convergence and Synergy between Programs
30. There are a large number of central- and state-sponsored programs for addressing drought risks that are implemented under different guidelines and by various implementing and coordinating agencies. Synergies between these programs could be enhanced through an integrated approach to coordinate priorities and fill gaps in these programs. This remains a challenging task, as it requires considerable institutional dexterity to synchronize diverse programs managed at different levels of government within a common framework. There are several institutions at the central level, including the National Rainfed Area Authority and National Disaster Management Authority, that are capable of assuming the role of an apex coordinating agency whose convening power could be harnessed to coordinate the different planning and implementation processes. Furthermore, enlarging existing schemes, such as the state Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) to include resilience-building activities would be a fruitful policy measure to encourage sustainable farming systems in rain-fed areas. Finally states could build in a adaptation/climate change dimension into the district agricultural plans (7) which would go a long way in mainstreaming the climate risk management agenda as well as creating enabling conditions for translating the recommendations of the report into actions on the ground.
D. Climate Change and Vulnerability to Floods
D.I Consequences of and Responses to Floods
31. Floods are a natural feature of India's river basins. They replenish groundwater, deliver topsoil and nutrients to support agriculture in otherwise infertile regions, and sustain valuable ecosystems. Excessive flooding poses risks to human life and is a major contributor to the poverty and vulnerability of marginalized communities. It is estimated that the flood-affected area has more than doubled in size from about 5% (19 million hectares) to about 12% (40 million hectares) of India's geographic area in the past five decades. This has occurred despite generous and rising government spending on a multitude of flood protection programs.
32. Orissa is among the most flood-affected states in the country. Frequently it has coped with simultaneous droughts in one part of the state and extensive floods in another, as well as with cyclones and other natural calamities. Two flood-prone districts--Puri and Jagatsinghpur--are the focus of this study. Households in the study areas endure harsh conditions. Villagers are accustomed to moving homes and losing crops and property because of flood. Livelihoods and occupations have responded and adjusted to the predictable risks of flood damage. Rice, which is among the most flood-resistant of crops, dominates agriculture. There is also an emphasis on cultivation in the dry rabi months, when flooding can often improve yields by delivering nutrients and soil moisture.
33. The communities have diversified into a range of more flood-resilient activities, such as aquaculture, fishing, dairy, and petty business, though the scale of these activities is still minor. Despite significant levels of adaptation, floods continue to disrupt and devastate communities, with the impact bearing disproportionately upon the poorer segments of the community (the small farmers and the landless). Even when the poor diversify into nonagricultural activities, they remain more vulnerable to floods. While the nonagricultural income of the large landholders falls by a meager 5% in a flood, that of the landless declines by about 14%, reflecting their fragile economic status as unskilled, casual workers.
D.II Future Prospects for Flood-Prone Areas under Climate Change
34. Adding to these already high risks, the climate projections suggest that temperatures, precipitation, and flooding are likely to increase, with adverse impacts on crop yields and farm incomes. Among the more substantial effects is a spatial shift in the pattern of rainfall towards the already flood-prone coastal areas. Climate change is also projected to bring a dramatic increase in the incidence of flooding. As an example of the implied magnitudes, the probability that the discharge might exceed 25,000 cubic meters per second (cumecs) (at the measuring station at Naraj on the Mahanadi River in Orissa), is currently low--about 2%. But under climate change, this is projected to rise dramatically to over 10%. This suggests a clear need for improved and accurate forecasting tools to guide the appropriate location and design for flood protection infrastructure and other high-value assets.
35. In the study districts of Puri and Jagatsinghpur, the assessment finds that rice yields could decline by 5% to 12% and profits by 6% to 8% under climate change. With the dominance of rice and high levels of preadaptation to floods, there is little that can be done to build flood resilience through adjustments in cropping patterns and farming practices. There is a need to further strengthen current flood protection initiatives and develop a proactive, comprehensive, and anticipatory flood management strategy.
36. Orissa has established a wide-ranging flood management policy with an emphasis on relief and protection. When floods strike, an elaborate relief machinery provides employment, cash, food, health care, and shelter. There is also a comprehensive action plan that envisions a host of structural measures such as a cascade of reservoirs, dams, raising and strengthening of embankments, and interbasin transfer of water. Despite the substantial fiscal burden of the flood relief and protection system floods continue to encumber livelihoods and impede development. With the prospect of much more severe and intense flooding under climate change, it is necessary to ask how the system could be strengthened to build greater flood resilience in communities.
37. There is no single remedy for mitigating flood damage and site-specific measures are required to address particular vulnerabilities. Experience suggests the need to integrate hard and soft engineering approaches through three components:
* Advanced systems for the detection and forecasting of floods;
* Anticipatory and proactive actions designed to minimize flood risks and build capacity to withstand flood events;
* Reactive actions that deal with the aftermath of floods and include compensation and relief.
E. Elements of a Strategy for Building Flood Resilience
E.I Strengthening Systems for Detection and Forecasting Floods
38. With the projected future changes in the spatial distribution, intensity, and frequency of floods more advanced forecasting and risk diagnostic tools will be needed to guide the location of high-value investments and the engineering design of flood protection structures. The system's effectiveness could be enhanced by combining data collection, telemetry, flood forecasting, and flood warning elements into one integrated flood management and information system for a basin. (8) Flood inundation mapping is another important planning tool that is needed to guide zoning and investment decisions, but its use across India is limited. There is growing recognition in Government of India that generating such information should be a high policy priority.
E.II Strengthening Anticipatory Measures
39. Although technology can help detect and even forecast floods in a timely way, the information needs to be integrated into planning and policy for longer-term measures that reduce (a) the magnitude of the flood; and (b) vulnerability to a flood of any given magnitude.
The Assault on Floods: Importance of Structural Protection
40. Structural defenses are an indispensable tool in controlling flood damage, but with prohibitive costs and design limits they cannot offer full protection. Economic considerations argue for an emphasis towards the protection of the higher-value assets (for example urban areas, infrastructure), with greater importance given to building adaptability and flood resilience elsewhere. It is unlikely that floods can be totally subdued, so careful monitoring and planning of new settlements in these flood-prone areas must remain a priority for government authorities. This has been recognized in a number of reports (9). There is a need to strengthen incentives and institutional systems for strategic asset management so that infrastructure investments are rendered more sustainable. This must be accompanied by changes in budget priorities to enhance community resilience to floods.
The Accommodation of Floods: Importance of Nonstructural Resilience Building
41. Building flood resilience in agriculture. Flood-resilient agriculture provides a way to insulate incomes against flood damage. Numerous pilots have been attempted with more rainfall-tolerant or short-duration varieties of certain crops to minimize flood-related losses. Though economically viable solutions remain elusive, these initiatives have potential and warrant continuing support and dissemination. A further shift in agriculture to the dry (rabi) season could be promoted by increasing access to irrigation in the dry months.
42. Income diversification. Income diversification provides a robust way of mitigating flood risks. The economic instruments that are relevant for encouraging income diversification for drought management--such as credit and insurance schemes linked to job diversification--are equally pertinent in the context of floods. The spread of self-help groups in Orissa provides a potential community base for launching such schemes.
43. Adapting to floods. There are already numerous and successful pilots in Orissa that aim to promote flood-based livelihoods. This is the quintessential form of flood adaptation. With the escalating demand for fish in India, aquaculture has considerable promise for unleashing rural growth. To further develop this potential there is a need to address supply chain obstacles to improve the marketing of a highly perishable commodity.
44. Primacy of planning and zoning. The combined pressures of rapid population growth, land scarcity, and intensifying flood risks call for strengthened and more careful planning and flood zoning. Land use planning and water management need to be combined into a synthesized plan with coordination between various departments and levels of government. A greater challenge is the implementation of a plan that would affect many interests and would need processes that involve public participation and stakeholder engagement.
F. Conclusions and Recommendations:
45. With an ambitious growth target of 8% to 10% for the medium term, the Government of India recognizes that accelerating the productivity and sustainability of the agricultural sector will be a prerequisite to achieving its poverty reduction and development goals. The challenges are substantial and will call not only for the familiar investments in agriculture (such as price stability, connectivity, marketability and irrigation), but also for addressing the new and unprecedented risks emerging from climate change. This report demonstrates that climate change will continue to affect the lives and production systems of the millions in India who reside in high-risk rural areas, with a mounting human toll that falls disproportionately upon the poor. Consequently there is an urgent need for action now to avoid higher future costs and missed opportunities associated with a development path that compromises on climate risk management. Fostering a shared vision of the nature of climate change and the implications for the country's development prospects will be critical in catalyzing a policy commitment and also helping to integrate climate risks in development programs over the coming decades.
46. Fortunately, many of the policy actions required to build resilience to the impending changes in climate are wholly consistent with, and supportive of, current development objectives. Adaptation actions and investments provide a cost-effective way of addressing future climate risks. India has considerable technical and scientific expertise to understand, analyze and act upon climate risks. There are many encouraging initiatives and policy reforms that are moving in the right direction. These provide an ideal foundation for developing a comprehensive strategy for promoting adaptation to climate change and building systemic resilience in vulnerable communities. The table on the next page summarizes the policy actions and interventions suggested by the study.
47. Moving ahead the first priority is to implement and mainstream the actions proposed in the table. In addition to this climate change will also have wider impacts that go beyond the flood- and drought- affected areas that are the focus of this report. Consequently future work will be needed to fill knowledge and policy gaps. Most notably further analytical work is needed in three priority areas of high development significance. First, the effects of climate change on the rice and grain production regions of India need to be assessed in considerably greater detail to determine impacts on food security goals and growth targets. Second, glacial melt remains the most dramatic threat to water supplies, food production and life-sustaining ecosystems in the country. Further work on the likely consequences remains an urgent priority. Similarly, the threats from sea level rise on coastal communities and cities is another important issue. On the policy front, agricultural trade distortions in the developed world increase climate risks and vulnerability in developing countries, suggesting the need for integrating adaptation and climate change issues in global trade negotiations.
Summary Recommendations for Adaptation (10) Expected Outcomes Strengthening publicly Baseline information for the accessible climate information integration of climate risks into systems/mechanisms and related policy, planning and investment management tools to match needs decisions * Establish a climate information management system at central level for developing climate diagnostic and risk assessment tools with feedback mechanisms to end users. This would include: enhanced data collection systems at local level, hydrogeological data collection, information for groundwater management, and systems for improved detection and forecasting of floods. * Build climate risk assessment as a requirement for all relevant high value and long- lived infrastructure projects. Fostering climate-resilient Promote climate resilience of reforms in agriculture and water agriculture and reduce risks resource management * Promote agricultural research and extension services towards systems and cultivars better suited to local climate and its variability * Targeted implementation and development of basin level water resource management integrating groundwater resources and applying instruments that deliver economic, social and legal incentives to increase water productivity, using participatory approaches where appropriate Supporting the management of Promote income and job climate risks through economic diversification to reduce climate mechanisms and instruments that vulnerability promote efficiency * Explore new innovative financial instruments to promote income diversification, such as ** debt relief instruments coupled with credit for job diversification ** debt relief coupled with insurance for new business risks ** community-based risk financing schemes * Introduce interim smart farm subsidies to encourage switch to more suitable and climate resilient cropping practices Improving institutional Promote policy synergy, identify capacities and linkages among needs and fill gaps. sectoral programs * Establish capacities and strengthen role of central bodies in order to enhance coordination and operational linkages between departments at all levels of government. This could include establishing convergence committees for management of drought and flood. * Integrate measures targeted towards management of future climate risks in the planning process including at the local level in district agriculture plans. (11)
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|Title Annotation:||Climate Change Impacts in Drought and Flood Affected Areas: Case Studies in India|
|Publication:||Climate Change Impacts In Drought and Flood Affected Areas: Case Studies In India|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2008|
|Next Article:||1. Introduction, context, and objectives.|