Impact of climate change on water availability: case study of a small coastal town in India

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Climate change is presently causing a multitude of impacts in various sectors. Studies by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN, and other agencies such as the Institute of Physical Geography, University College London show that there will be a significant impact on fresh water availability in the future due to climate change. The Cochin city region is an important port and commercial hub located on the south western coast of India. Average annual rainfall is 3,099 mm, yet there is an acute gap between the demand and supply of potable water. An assessment of the vulnerability of the city to various climate change parameters is important in formulating long-term strategies for sustainable development. This article examines the availability of water resources in the context of future requirements (2051), the expected impacts of climate change and its variability.

Research highlights:

99% of supply depends on monsoon fed rivers

100 years temperature shows an increasing trend with significant increase in later years

100 years rainfall shows increasing variability with significant increase in later years

Sensitivity analysis and the environmental water requirement (EWR) approach indicate a 33% drop in reservoir water availability due to a 19% deficit in rainfall

Based on climate change, vulnerability CVI for water availability computed

66% of population highly vulnerable.

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