Keywords: rural poverty, water resources, climate change, resilience, green economics, India, Eastern Himalaya, poverty reduction, rural poor
Understanding the multifaceted attributes to rural poverty while assessing the water–poverty–climate change linkage in the Indian Eastern Himalaya
Rural livelihoods depend extensively on water resources. Continued climate change may put the lives and livelihoods of rural poor under greater risk, due to lack of water. Yet poverty is a multifaceted and complex issue, as there are numerous factors which lead to poverty. To presume that there is a direct link between water and poverty is a simplistic way of looking at a complex relationship. Therefore, this paper makes an attempt to understand the multifaceted attributes of poverty, while simultaneously examining the water poverty linkage in the context of climate change, using a Multidimensional Poverty Assessment Tool (MPAT). The paper, with the help of a case study from a region located in the Indian Eastern Himalaya, argues that water is essential, but not sufficient for sustained poverty reduction, as the ultimate goal of any poverty eradication effort should be to increase resilience of rural poor to any unforeseen extreme event.