By Dr. Arvind Kumar
The #WorldWaterCouncil (#WWC), an international organization based in #Marseilles (France), has recently mooted a proposal seeking expressions of interest from National Governments of Asia, including #India, ascertaining their willingness to host and organize the #WorldWaterForum, the world’s largest #watereventinMarch2024.
It is an opportune occasion for India to seize this opportunity of hosting #WorldWaterForuminMarch2024.
Hosting this event entails the potential of enabling India to play leading role in water sector and by virtue of that in the realm of #climatechange because water is at the core of climate change, in the Indo-Pacific region at a time when India’s leading role in #renewableenergy and #sanitation in this part of the globe has already been acknowledged in the aftermath of the recent conferment of #UNEP’s highest award on Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi.
Nearly 4.5 billion population inhabiting the Asian continent makes use of around 65% of the world’s water supply. Approximately one-third of the population of Asia, including India, is already facing #waterscarcity. Undoubtedly climate change is already recognized as the major cause of water scarcity; nevertheless, demand change can be more significant than climate change in many parts of Asia, as predicted by some recent studies. Socioeconomic changes have been identified as the main driver of water scarcity and broad estimates show that by 2050,water demand for #agriculture, #industry, and households will increase by 30-40% by 2050 compared to 2010.
#Brahmaputra, #Ganges and #Mekong rivers cater to the populace inhabiting Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam.The #MekongRiver flowing through 6 countries continues to sustain the livelihoods of around 57 million people. The #GangesRiverBasin is inhabited by over 614 million people.Shrinking glaciers and unabated pollution of these rivers along with vagaries of climate change is adversely impacting these perennial sources of water. Under these circumstances, if India plays as a host for #2024WorldWaterForum, it entails the potential of assuming a leading role in water sector and even thwarting China’s strategy of seizing this opportunity.Benefits can also accrue to India in terms of eliciting FDI and transfer of state-of-the-art technology in water sector.