'Srinagar among 100 cities to face greatest rise in water risks by 2050'

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) – world’s largest conservation organization has listed Srinagar among the 100 cities of the globe that would witness the ‘greatest rise’ in water risks by 2050.

The WWF’s Risk Filter analysis has said 100 cities that hold importance in national as well as global economies and are home to 350 million people are set to face the greatest rise in water risks by 2050 “unless urgent action is taken to mitigate and adapt to climate change”.

Apart from Srinagar, 39 cities including Jaipur, Indore, Amritsar, Pune, Srinagar, Kolkata, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kozhikode and Visakhapatnam, and others have been identified that will face increasing water risks in the next few decades.

Srinagar is the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir (UT). It is situated in the centre of the Kashmir on the banks of the Jhelum River and is surrounded by four districts and Ladakh UT. In the north it is flanked by Ladakh (UT) and Ganderbal in the South by Pulwama in the north-west by Budgam. The capital city of Srinagar is located 1585 meters above sea level.

Srinagar is the one of most populated districts of the UT having a bulging population. Urbanization is at its peak in the last few decades, due to rapidly growing population and economic activities. This has resulted in unplanned and unorganized growth in most of the towns and cities.

As per the WWF press statement, Dr. Sejal Worah, Programme Director, WWF India, blamed rapid urbanization for the water risks related to flooding and water scarcity and said the same could be tackled if steps were taken to preserve the wetlands.

“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 re-imagine what the future of the cities could be,” said Worah.

“The Smart Cities initiative in India could offer an integrated urban water management framework combining urban planning, ecosystem restoration and wetland conservation for building future-ready, water-smart and climate-resilient cities. Urban watersheds and wetlands are critical for maintaining the water balance of a city, flood cushioning, micro-climate regulation, and protecting its biodiversity. The future of our cities and sustainability lies in the efficiency in closing the loop by integrating water supply, demand management.”

Alexis Morgan, WWF Global Water Stewardship Lead, said cities across the world had paid a ‘high price’ in recent years due to worsening water risks. “From acute risks that have seen historic floods to chronic risks that have seen their taps running dry, the water challenges cities are facing are only going to increase in the coming decades because the impacts of climate change will primarily be felt through water,” Morgan said.