Climate change may cause serious harm to Vembanad ecosystem, E.J. James, Member, Central Wetland Regulatory Authority, has said.
Mr. James was addressing a workshop on ‘Vembanad-kol wetland and climate change: Strategies for adaptation, by the Institute for Climate change Studies’ here on Tuesday.
According to him, rising sea level would have an adverse effect on coastal wetlands. Storm surges might erode the sand bars due to which the wetlands were formed. Salinity levels might change drastically, thereby changing the ecosystem and biodiversity. Drinking water schemes at the lower end of the rivers draining to the wetland would get affected.
Most importantly, rice cultivation in Kuttanad in its present form would not exist.
He said the sea level might rise by 0.5 metre to 1 metre by 2100. To adapt to the situation, the water quality changes would have to be closely monitored. Climate prediction and forecasting techniques would have to be improved, socio-economic impact of climate change on water resources need to be investigated, and policies should be framed to accommodate impact of climate change.
K. G. Padmakumar, Director, International Research and Training Centre for Below Sea Level Farming, S. Leenakumari, Head, Rice Research Station, Moncompu, Alappuzha, and Nagendra Prabhu, Professor, SD College, Alappuzha, spoke. George Chackacherry, Director, Institute for Climate Change Studies, welcomed the gathering.