Sea levels of Indian coast could rise by up to 2.8 feet in India, says govt

Sea levels of Indian coast could rise by up to 2.8 feet in India, says govt

Courtesy : Agencies24/12/2018 09:02

NEW DELHI: Sea levels along the Indian coast are projected to rise varyingly by 3.5 inches to as much as 34 inches (2.8 feet) by the end of the century due to global warming, posing a potent threat to vast stretches of the western coastline, including Mumbai, as well as to major deltas in east India, the government said on Friday.

 Sharing studies by the Hyderabad-based Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, government told the Lok Sabha that Mumbai and other west coast stretches such as Khambat and Kutch in Gujarat, parts of Konkan and south Kerala were “most vulnerable” to sea-level rise.

Threats posed by sea-level rise have direct implications for India’s food security as hundreds of millions of people are dependent on river water systems that could be adversely impacted by possible inundation.

 Rise in sea level threatens river systems The studies on sea-level rise also projected a sharp increase in population at risk from flooding due to more frequent severe weather events.

Water demand is rising and a Unesco report earlier this year warned that central and south India will face high levels of deterioration of water supply by 2050.

“The deltas of Ganga, Krishna, Godavari, Cauvery, and Mahanadi on the east coast may be threatened, along with irrigated land and a number of urban and other settlements that are situated in them,” the government said, in what reads like a doomsday scenario for major water sources in the Gangetic plains, Deccan and south India.

Responding to a Parliament question on impact of global warming in coastal areas in India due to sea-level rise, minister of state for environment Mahesh Sharma, in his written response, said the projected rise may result in coastal groundwater turning saline, endangering of wetlands and inundation of valuable land and coastal communities.

He, however, said, “The government is committed to taking proactive steps to protect the country's coastal areas and communities.” India has submitted the findings and projections of the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services studies with the UN climate body.

The minister also outlined the measures being taken to protect coastal areas. He said the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification, 2011 and Island Protection Zone (IPZ) notification, 2011 were being enforced and implemented by the Coastal Zone Management Authorities (CZMAs) of states and UTs.

Under the extant regulations, the CZMAs have been empowered to enquire into the cases of alleged violation and take appropriate action under the law.

“As per the state of forest report 2017, there has been a net increase of 181 sq km in the mangrove cover of the country as compared to the 2015 assessment,” he said, adding that the other steps taken by the government target protection of livelihoods of fisher folk communities, preservation of coastal ecology and delineation of erosion line over the entire coastline as a part of hazard line mapping exercise.

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