Cautioning against the depletion of water resources due to climate change, noted environmentalist R. K. Pachauri today favoured creation of a buffer stock of water in the country to deal with the crisis.

“India needs to create buffer stock of water in the form of ground water reserves or on the surface to deal with the depletion of water resources due to climate change,” Pachauri said speaking at 5th Agriculture Leadership Summit here.

Pachauri, Director-General of the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI), said policymakers need to pay attention to the issue as India is facing problems due to global warming.

His concept of creation of a buffer water stock was supported by Ashok Gulati, Chairman, Agriculture Costs & Prices Commission.

Gulati said farmers should be provided monetary incentives for conserving water in a part of their field. He suggested providing an incentive of Rs 5,000 per hectare for the purpose to motivate farmers to store water for use in bad times.

Former Union Agriculture Minister Balram Jakhar was present on the occasion.

Pachauri and Gulati highlighted that South Asia and Africa were facing the brunt of global warming which has a severe consequence on cultivation.

“According to estimates, the temperature is expected to rise between 1.8-4 degrees Celsius by the end of this century,” Pachauri said.

The sea level is rising by 17 cm due to climate change which threatens to affect agriculture in the coastal areas besides polluting water, the TERI DG said adding by the end of the century heat waves could occur every two years which at present is happening once in 20 years.

Gulati said the water table is going down by roughly 33 cm every year in Punjab, the cradle of the green revolution.

The experts urged the policy makers to face the challenge by drawing up programmes to deal with the situation.

Gulati stressed on shifting the cultivation of rice from the traditional belts of Punjab and Haryana that are facing water depletion, to Eastern States such as Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh which have favourable conditions.

Jakhar stressed on strengthening the income of farmers who, he said, were the backbone of the country.

Balvinder Kumar, Special Secretary, Union Agriculture Ministry, said the Government was awake to the problem of climate change on agriculture and has drawn schemes to deal with it.

Representatives from industries, civil society, farmers and NGOs and officials of International agri bodies exchanged views on the nexus between agriculture and climate change on the occasion.