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State of Climate Services Report 2021: WMO

  • 08 Oct 2021
  • 5 min read

Why in News

Recently, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released the State of Climate Services report 2021. It focuses on Terrestrial Water Storage.

Key Points

  • Terrestrial Water Storage (TWS):
    • TWS is the sum of all water on the land surface and in the subsurface, i.e. surface water, soil moisture, snow and ice and groundwater.
      • Water is a key prerequisite for human development. But only 0.5% of water on Earth is usable and available as freshwater.
    • Water resources across the world are under tremendous pressure due to human and naturally-induced stressors.
      • These include population growth, urbanisation and decreasing availability of freshwater.
    • Extreme weather events too have been responsible for the pressure on water resources realised across sectors and regions.
  • Global Scenario:
    • TWS dropped at a rate of 1 cm per year in 20 years (2002-2021).
    • The biggest losses have occurred in Antarctica and Greenland. But many highly populated, lower latitude locations have also experienced TWS losses.
  • Indian Scenario:
    • About:
      • The TWS has been lost at a rate of at least 3 cm per year. In some regions, the loss has been over 4 cm per year too.
      • India has recorded the highest loss in terrestrial water storage if the loss of water storage in Antarctica and Greenland is excluded.
      • India is the ‘topmost hotspot of TWS loss’. The northern part of India has experienced the maximum loss within the country.
    • Per Capita Availability:
      • In India, per capita water availability is reducing due to an increase in population.
      • The average annual per capita water availability has reduced to 1,545 cubic metres in 2011, from 1,816 cubic metres in 2001.
      • It is projected to further decrease to 1,367 cubic metres in 2031, according to the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
    • River Basins:
      • Five of the 21 river basins in India are ‘absolute water scarce’ (per capita water availability below 500 cubic metres) according to the Falkenmark Water Stress Indicator.
      • Five are ‘water scarce’ (per capita water availability below 1,000 cubic metres) and three are ‘water stressed’ (per capita water availability below 1,700 cubic metres).
      • By 2050, six will become absolute water scarce, six will become water scarce and four will become water stressed, according to the State of India’s Environment in figures, 2020.
        • The Falkenmark indicator is one of the most widely used indicators for assessing the stress on water. It relates the total freshwater resources with the total population in a country and indicates the pressure that population puts on water resources, including the needs for natural ecosystems.
  • Recommendations:
    • Investments Needed:
      • Integrated Resources Water Management as a solution to better manage water stress, especially in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
      • In end-to-end drought and flood early warning systems in at-risk LDCs, including for drought warning in Africa and flood warning in Asia.
    • Fill Capacity Gap:
      • Fill the capacity gap in collecting data for basic hydrological variables which underpin climate services and early warning systems.
      • Fill the gaps in data on country capacities for climate services in the water sector, especially for SIDS.
    • Improve Interaction:
      • Improve the interaction among national level stakeholders to co-develop and operationalize climate services with information users to better support adaptation in the water sector.
      • There is also a pressing need for better monitoring and evaluation of socio-economic benefits, which will help to showcase best practices.
    • Join the Water and Climate Coalition:
      • Water and Climate Coalition is a platform for its members to partner on joint activities and implement solutions that address the gaps of operational water and climate challenges with a focus on data and information.

Source: DTE

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