30 Indian cities could suffer ‘water risk’ by 2050: WWF report

New Delhi: From taps running dry to flooding, cities could face dramatically increased “water risks” unless urgent action is taken to mitigate and adapt to climate change, shows a WWF survey released on Monday.’ According to the study, as many as 100 cities are expected to suffer water risk, one-third of which are in India.

30 cities identified in India include Delhi, Jaipur, Indore, Amritsar, Pune, Srinagar, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kozhikode and Vishakhapatnam, which are under high-risk regions. The report identified 50 cities in China too.

“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 reimagine what the future of the cities could be,” said Sejal Worah, program director, WWF India, in the report.

Cities across India have been facing an acute shortage of water due to rapid urbanization, climate change, and lack of appropriate infrastructure, which continues to put stress on the existing infrastructure. Over the last few years, cities from Chennai to Shimla have faced a crisis of water supply.

The survey added that while improving urban water infrastructure and cutting water consumption will help reduce water risks, nature-based solutions including restoring degraded watersheds, reconnecting rivers to their floodplains, and restoring or creating urban wetlands are critical.