SPWD Events

Consultation on
Strategies for Managing Droughts- Need for Aligning Science and public Policy 3rd June 2016

SPWD is a national NGO which has spearheaded many important debates on natural resources, their use and conservation in India for over three decades.  We are headquartered in New Delhi with two field offices in Udaipur and Ranchi ( Dr. I. P. Abrol is one of SPWD’s founders and also the present Chairman of the Society.

As you are aware, large parts of India have been affected by drought which has severely hit regions in Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

Drought being a complex pervasive natural hazard, produces a large number of socio-economic impacts as water is integral to producing goods and providing a range of services. These impacts arise from the interaction between natural conditions and human factors such as changes in land-use, land cover, water demand and water use. Excessive water withdrawals exacerbate the impact of drought.

There is growing evidence that the frequency and extent of droughts has increased as a result of global warming and there has been a general tendency towards decreased precipitation in the semi-arid regions. The semi-arid river basins in India are the most vulnerable with respect to water stress. An increase in irrigation water withdrawals of 14 percent is foreseen by FAO by 2030 in developing countries. If precipitation decreases, irrigation water demands, which dominate water use in most semi-arid river basins, would increase and it may become virtually impossible to satisfy all water demands.

Response to droughts in India, as in most parts of the world is generally reactive responding to the situation after impacts have occurred. This crisis management approach does not address the underlying causes for the vulnerabilities associated with the impacts.  Despite the repeated occurrences of droughts throughout history, concerted efforts to initiate a dialogue on formulation and adoption of policy measures to combat droughts are lacking.  This has meant that governments at the national and state level continue with the status quo i.e. reacting to impacts of drought with little co-ordination between national, state, local agencies and communities.

To discuss some of these issues, SPWD , CSIR-NISTADS,Delhi Science Forum and the RRA Network has organised a day-long consultation on the subject “Strategies for Managing Droughts-Need for Aligning Science and Public Policy” on 3rd June 2016. The consultation was focused on how physical and social sciences can help influence public policy to achieve drought-proofing.

The venue for the consultation is CSIR-NISTADS, Dr. K. S. Krishnan Marg, Pusa Gate, New Delhi -110012.

The consultation aimed to identify and agree upon pro-active actions needed at present and in the future to cope with droughts and their impacts. Following presentations were made during the consultation:

 During the period 2015-16, SPWD has been able to spread its outreach in the States of Rajasthan, Jharkhand and West Bengal to over 50,000 people across 900 villages in 9 districts across three States through its engagement with village institutions.