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Climate change impact assessments on the water resources of India under extensive human interventions

Madhusoodhanan, C. G., Sreeja, K. G., Eldho, T. I.
Ambio 2016 v.45 no.6 pp. 725-741
climate, climate change, humans, issues and policy, landscapes, models, uncertainty, water resources, India
Climate change is a major concern in the twenty-first century and its assessments are associated with multiple uncertainties, exacerbated and confounded in the regions where human interventions are prevalent. The present study explores the challenges for climate change impact assessment on the water resources of India, one of the world’s largest human-modified systems. The extensive human interventions in the Energy–Land–Water–Climate (ELWC) nexus significantly impact the water resources of the country. The direct human interventions in the landscape may surpass/amplify/mask the impacts of climate change and in the process also affect climate change itself. Uncertainties in climate and resource assessments add to the challenge. Formulating coherent resource and climate change policies in India would therefore require an integrated approach that would assess the multiple interlinkages in the ELWC nexus and distinguish the impacts of global climate change from that of regional human interventions. Concerted research efforts are also needed to incorporate the prominent linkages in the ELWC nexus in climate/earth system modelling.