Shared Knowledge

India Water Forum

Climate Change is adding pressure to the limited water resources in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region, which houses a large and growing population with an increasing demand for water. The high rate of temperature increase in the Himalayas is leading to the rapid melting of glaciers. The shifting of the normal monsoonal patterns, reduction in the total number of rainy days, and increase in incidents of high intensity rainfall are increasing climate variability leading to more floods and droughts. To address these issues, the India Water Forum (IWF) was organised from 13 to 15 April 2011 in New Delhi by the Energy Research Institute (TERI). The theme of the forum was ‘Water security and climate change: Challenges and opportunities’. The forum was attended by policy makers and international and national water experts who presented on and discussed the impacts of climate change on water. In the inaugural session, the Vice President of India, Shri M Hamid Ansari, said that “the key challenges to water management today stem from changing demographics, shifting geo-politics, wide-spread poverty and under-development, climate change phenomena and shifting weather patterns, and the elements of globalization and its attendant consequences”. He highlighted the National Water Mission established under the National Action Plan for Climate Change.

The forum had ten sessions on different aspects of the impacts of climate change on water including natural systems, urban water and sanitation, rural water supply, water quality and health, water vulnerabilities,  resilience and adaptations, regional water security, food security, policy governance, and regulatory frameworks. ICIMOD was invited to make a keynote address in the session on ‘Regional Water Security’ and presentation in the technical session on ‘Climate change impacts on natural water systems’. In the keynote address, Dr Andreas Schild highlighted the impacts of climate change and how new opportunities for regional cooperation are emerging in the HKH region. He emphasised the need for the basin wide management of rivers for the benefit of all countries. Dr Mandira Shrestha made a presentation on ‘Climate change impacts and flood risk reduction in the HKH region’, highlighting ICIMOD’s work on transboundary flood management.

- Mandira Singh Shrestha <>