COP21: India’s $1bn groundwater program attracts funding from World Bank

A multi-million dollar investment programme has been unveiled by the World Bank at the Paris climate talks, including funding for India's groundwater program...

Content Dam Ww Online Articles 2015 December Cop21 Logo

Content Dam Ww Online Articles 2015 December Cop21 Logo

Although the climate talks in Paris have been criticised for failing to include water in the main agenda, a multi-million dollar investment program has been unveiled by the World Bank.

The announcement this week at COP21 in Paris follows a warning that by 2050, 40% of the global population will be living in water scarce countries. This compares to 28% today.

The World Bank Group’s boost in funding for water programs will cover India, the Niger River Basin, Morocco and Kenya.

A US$500 million investment to support India’s US$1 billion program aims to improve management of its groundwater. The funding, subject to approval, would help with institutional reforms, build up capacity and develop infrastructure.

In the Niger Basin, nine countries have committed to a US$3.1 billion climate resilience investment plan over 10 years to build resilience. The first phase will cost US$610 million and will include financing from the Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, IDA, the International Development Association.

During the earlier part of the COP21 discussions, four European countries joined forces to cut greenhouse gas emissions in a $500m initiative (read story).

In Morocco, which is susceptible to drought, the Bank Group is supporting the government’s National Irrigation Saving Program, with a new US$150 million commitment, which builds on US$500 of prior commitments.

It will help poor and vulnerable farmers with more efficient irrigation technologies so they can cope with increasingly less available water and greater variability in water supplies.

In Mombasa, the coastal region of Kenya, water demands largely exceed supply, with climate variability, droughts and floods taking its toll on poor people. The Bank Group is funding a significant portion of the cost of a US$500 million government program to boost water security and build climate resilience.

Laura Tuck, vice president for sustainable development, World Bank Group, said: “Water scarcity and variability pose significant risks to all economic activities, including food and energy production, manufacturing and infrastructure development. Poor water management can exacerbate the effects of climate change on economic growth, but if water is managed well it can go a long way to neutralizing the negative impacts.”

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