Adaptations to Climate Change - Challenges in Water-sanitation Dr. Seetharam M R FANSA SVYM, India
Freshwater Action Network • Strong networks in Africa, South Asia, Central America; growing networks in South America, Mexico • Freshwater Action Network, South Asia • 5 countries; 12 states in India; • Network of CSOs • Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement firstname.lastname@example.org
Recent floods and rain in N Karnataka • Altered rainfall pattern • Sept-Oct 2009 • Usual rainfall • In the region – 35 mm; Actual rainfall: 251mm • In Bijapur District – 34 mm vs 334 mm • Issues of Reservoir management • Predictability, Preparedness • Weakness of the infrastructure to cope with such situations • Associated challenges – HEALTH, SANITATION
Changing disease patterns…. • The epidemic of Dengue and chickungunya Indicates • Altered rain patterns • Poor sanitation – cesspools etc • Altered vector patterns • To be viewed in the socio cultural setting of the community
Groundwater table in HDKote • Water – so near, yet so deep!! • Impact of tsunami • The struggles in Bangladesh and Nepal……
Some basic truths…. • Climate change is happening… • Water - the main mechanism of impact of climate change on people as well as eco system.. • Water and thereby sanitation are the main mechanisms for impacting human health.. • Achieving wat-san MDGs are key to achieving other MDGs, but currently, sanitation is way off track….. • Costs of impacts enormous….
The policies and practices in water management can have short and long term effects on climate change, and therefore potentially magnify all the other deleterious effects. • Climate Change exerts its impacts mainly thro water. • Other impacts are mediated thro the primary impact on water Food, energy, livelihood, environment…. • An already-stressed, finite resource is further jeopardized by the direct and indirect impacts of climate change. • Optimal management of this resource is key to achieving all the MDGs – indeed to the very health of the ecosystem Hence the imperative attention to WATER as the central focus of adaptation to CC
Climate change impact on water cycle • Amount, intensity and distribution of precipitation • Alterations in run-offs • Ground water levels • Coastal zones • Tsunami; Erosion; salinity • Water quality • Concentration effect; floods-droughts leading to contamination • Water Storage-management – Reservoirs • Silt • River basins • Food security Serious Impacts on water for drinking and domestic consumption FANSA
Climate Change Impacts on sanitation and Health • Diseases caused as Direct impacts • Heat strokes etc • Diseases due to Climate-induced impacts on environment (Floods-drought etc) • Diarrhoeal diseases; vector borne diseases; Starvation-malnutrition; allergic disorders • Health consequences due to economic, social and other changes • Migration; Nutrition; mental illnesses
The key areas of concern…. • ACCESS - Serious crisis of availability of safe and adequate drinking water • HEALTH -Public Health considerations to get adequate priority • EQUITY – in the face competing demands to ensure inclusivity and proper prioritization – sector (drinking, agri, industrial etc), geographic, social. • COMMUNITY-CENTRICITY - community-centric planning rather than Technology- or funds-driven planning
Adaptation is not merely infrastructural, but is a complex interplay of many institutional mechanisms, including policy, finance and governance.
Adopting the right Adaptation approach… • Source: Dessai and Hulme, 2004.
Approaches to drinking water access…… • Diversification of water sources • Avoiding Single source dependence • Rain water harvesting • Resilient, sustainable water supply systems • Surface water management • Reservoir management • Requirements vs flood run offs; safety issues; • Ensuring adequate groundwater recharge • High intensity precipitation with rapid evaporation rates
Policy-planning guidelines thru UNFCCC • Convergence at the level of planning – mainstreaming of ‘adaptation’ into current schemes, of development initiatives in general, and water management in particular • To Ensure Water Access • IWRM approach • Ensuring priority for drinking water over other competing water needs • Priority for water in adaptation interventions • Focus on Public Health in Adaptation Plans • 2009 preparatory documents – only 4 out of 49 speak of health as a concern (McMicheal et al,www.lancet.com)
Policy-planning guidelines thru UNFCCC • Enhancing accountability thro support to participatory and democratic processes • Support for resolution of contentious issues like trans boundary water • Regional balance – equitable distribution of funds, functions and functionaries • Special focus on vulnerable groups • Balanced move towards ‘privatisation’ and pricing, with a recognition of Human Rights • Willingness to pay vs Ability to pay. • Guidelines for habitations – urbanisation/ rehabilitation/ migration
Policy-planning guidelines thro UNFCCC • Support for Community involvement, awareness; • The River users groups in Tamil Nadu • Decentralisation of planning and decision making. • Promotion of, and building on, Relevant traditional practices • The lakes in South India; the open well system • Economic development to be ‘clean’ and eco-sensitive • Avoiding ‘developmental disasters ‘– resulting in large scale displacement • Mitigation and Adaptation mechanisms themselves to be safe and holistic
Climate proofing • Mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment to determine the impact of the project on the environment • Need for reverse impact assessment – assess the impact of the environment on the project • Defining existing conditions/components; • Projecting and estimating likely future changes for each component; • Recording extent of interactions and identifying the variabilities • Determining critical thresholds when risk of a climate change impact becomes dangerous; and • Determining value of these impacts economically as financial loss and biologically. • The ifs and buts of the River Linking Project…..
Costs of adaptation • Significant variations in the projections. • Agriculture, water, health, ecosytems, coastal areas, infrastructure • Projections have been analysed and critiqued . • Martin Parry et al; www.iied.org/pubs/pdfs/11501IIED.pdf
Cost of adaptation – water sector • Expenses to be considered • Cost of explicit measures • Transactional costs • Costs of residual impacts • Estimate – 9-11b $ per year by 2030 • Likely to be higher due to: • Does not include other measures like managing flood risk, water quality etc • Does not include the costs of residual impacts • Represents only the additional investment
Cost of adaptation – Health sector • Expenses to be considered • Cost of improving/modifying health protection systems – eg surveillance, training • Cost of modifications of hospitals, staff safety etc • Disease burden prevention costs • Research • Meeting newer standards of pollution control • Estimated to be 5-12 b $ • Likely to be higher due to: • Disease burden not fully considered; decline in rates assumed • Cost escalations over time • Residual impacts in the form of failure of prevention
In conclusion • Climate change impacts are inevitable, and hence the imperative to ‘adapt’ • Water, the main mechanism of impact, and hence of adaptation as well • Access, Health, Equity and Community-centricity – the main challenges to be addressed
Climate Change adaptation without focus on water, is a watered down effort. Focus on Water for Climate Change Adaptation NOW, nurtures the Change in all sectors for TOMORROW!
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