Srinagar among 100 world cities to face ‘greatest rise’ in water risks by 2050: WWF report

Srinagar: World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has listed Srinagar among the 100 cities of the globe that would witness the ‘greatest rise’ in water risks by 2050.

The WWF findings warn that if steps like restoration of urban watersheds and wetlands were not taken, around 350 million people would get affected globally due to the water risks.

“With water crises already plaguing many of the world’s cities, WWF’s new water risk scenarios estimate that hundreds of millions of people in cities across the globe could face dramatically increased water risks – unless urgent action is taken to mitigate and adapt to climate change….the 100 cities that are expected to suffer the greatest rise in water risk by 2050 are home to at least 350 million people,” the WWF report stated.

Thirty Indian cities including Jaipur, Indore, Amritsar, Pune, Srinagar, Kolkata, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kozhikode and Vishakhapatnam, and others have been identified that will face increasing water risks in the next few decades.

Dr. Sejal Worah, Programme Director, WWF India, blamed rapid urbanization for the water risks related to flooding and water scarcity and said the same could be tackled if steps were taken to preserve the wetlands.

“The future of India’s environment lies in its cities. As India rapidly urbanizes, 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 Worah.

“The Smart Cities initiative in India could offer an integrated urban water management framework combining urban planning, ecosystem restoration and wetland conservation for building future-ready, water-smart and climate-resilient cities. Urban watersheds and wetlands are critical for maintaining the water balance of a city, flood cushioning, micro-climate regulation, and protecting its biodiversity. The future of our cities and sustainability lies in the efficiency in closing the loop by integrating water supply, demand management.”

Alexis Morgan, WWF Global Water Stewardship Lead, said cities across the world had paid a ‘high price’ in recent years due to worsening water risks. “From acute risks that have seen historic floods to chronic risks that have seen their taps running dry, the water challenges cities are facing are only going to increase in the coming decades because the impacts of climate change will primarily be felt through water,” Morgan said.

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