The HighNoon project focused on identifying changes in snow and glacier melting and changed monsoon patterns, but as water availability is also affected by socio-economic development, this has also been captured in the project and the scenarios developed to analyse future changes and effects.
Socio economic scenarios are probabilistic pathways of socio economic changes based on assumptions concerning future trends. Projections of population, economic development and associated food and water demands amongst others constitute socio economic scenarios.
Socio economic drivers like population growth and changes in living standards amongst others could multiply demands for drinking water, irrigation and electricity generation. The increase in the number of people living under water stress in India is mainly driven by population changes and so far not to a wide extent by climate change. Therefore it is important to comprehend future socio economic trends to assess the demand for water resources in the river basins. The scenarios developed in the project have also been used to inform stakeholders from different locations in the north-Indian region on what developments could be possible and where the main uncertainties are.
The socio economic scenarios were calculated by a complimentary top down and bottom up method. An inventory of existing global scale scenarios were first zoomed in to the Indian region. Then an elaborate inventory of existing local scale scenarios was developed for population, economic growth, food, water and health care demand. The two versions were integrated and compared in order to produce scenarios that are most suitable at local scales. Some of the global projections used for the forecasts included a growth of the Indian population from around 1.2 billion today to about 1.6 billion in 2050 (as projected by the UN), a GDP growth rate of approximately 7% per year in the coming years and 4 % in the period 2020-2030 and an increased water use in the Indian region of 18 % between 2005 and 2030. Two different future scenarios were developed and analysed within the project.
HighNoon project, Delivery Report D3.2