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Climate change water vulnerability and adaptation mechanism in a Himalayan City, Nainital, India

Disha Chauhan, Muthuprasad Thiyaharajan, Anvita Pandey, Nidhi Singh, Vishal Singh, Sumit Sen,

Abstract: Urban water management is a growing concern in India’s rapidly urbanizing cities. Population growth and climatic variability are exuberating the impact on surface and underground water supply. Understanding the causes and the extent of water vulnerability is required for developing effective strategies for water insecurities. This study attempts to assess the water vulnerability across different wards of a touristic city of Himalaya-Nainital using IPCC approach considering the three dimensions: exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity. Seven indicators, mostly spatial, i.e. edaphic (aspect, elevation) and climatic (land surface temperature) besides some water infrastructural (distance to water distribution) and population, were considered for development of vulnerability index using Analytical Hierarchy Process for assigning weights. These indicators were simple to extract and easy to obtain and mostly available from secondary sources and were capable to account the variability at micro-level. Moreover, the current adaptation mechanisms for water security were also derived through conducting surveys by randomly selecting households across the wards. Staff House and Harinagar wards were the most vulnerable. The survey results that the adaptation mechanism should be managed at individual and organization level. Policy measures such as optimum use of water, grey water recycling, spring rejuvenation, rain water harvesting, and leakage proof infrastructure with intervention of new technologies, may be adopted and implemented for reducing the water vulnerability in the city along with the public participation. The appropriate measures for water vulnerability would further provide support for improving the facilities to the tourists in the city thereby improved economic opportunities to the locals.
Keywords: Adaptive capacity / Exposure / Governance / LST / Resilience / Sensitivity / Urbanization

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