RELEASE: Govt officials, sectoral experts convene; discuss steps to enhance energy delivery in Rajasthan to help people cope with climate disruptions
Jaipur, Rajasthan, 23 July 2019: The World Resources Institute, India (WRI India) organized a multi-stakeholder consultation in Jaipur, to reflect the role of energy access in providing essential services to the undeveloped and climate vulnerable areas of Rajasthan. Representatives from Rajasthan Public Health and Engineering Department (PHED) joined international and national stakeholders operating across healthcare, education, skilling and livelihood sectors and discussed measures to build resilience of the state’s large rural populations against climate disruptions.
Figure i - Participants at the Energy for Development in Climate Vulnerable Rajasthan workshop, with WRI India's Energy Access for Development team.
At the workshop, WRI India presented their findings on the anticipated regional climate change challenges that the state will face in the coming decade. As observed on the NASA Earth Exchange Global Daily Downscaled Projections (NEX-GDDP) model, in the upcoming decade, Rajasthan will witness an increase in average temperature by 1 to 1.5 degrees Celsius and number of extreme heat days. On the other hand, while overall rainfall may decrease by 100-200 mm in the northern districts the rains will be erratic and may result in flash floods.
The state is already facing impacts of climate change, like recurrent droughts, heat waves, erratic rainfall and land degradation from wind erosion. “Extreme heat events could cause heat strokes and affect livestock health. The state’s average temperature rise will result in increased cases of vector borne diseases in humans and pest attacks on crops. And erratic rainfall can directly lead to crop losses and result in desertification with continuous drought years,” explained Namrata Ginoya, Senior Project Associate, Climate Resilience Practice, WRI India. She further added that underlying conditions such as fluoride contamination, land degradation due to mining and challenging topography aggravate these challenges further.
The stakeholders jointly identified challenges faced in the health, education and livelihood sectors due to lack of reliable electricity. “The health department has developed health infrastructure across all areas of Rajasthan. Now, we must ensure that all services are available to citizens round the clock, which needs reliable supply of electricity, not only from the grid but also from renewable sources,” said Chhaya Pachauli, Senior Programme Coordinator, PRAYAS Centre for Health Equity, Rajasthan.
The discussions also covered several examples where reliable electricity provision has been made possible using renewable energy to support crucial services from the state. Mr. C.M. Chauhan, Chief Engineer, PHED Rajasthan, pointed out, “Since 2016, our solar powered de-fluoridation projects are providing the essential services of clean and safe drinking water to populations across rural Rajasthan. It has been a successful example of public-private partnership for development in the rural space, initiated by the government. Every solar de-fluoridation unit installation unit is being monitored at the department's command centre 24X7.”
The participants agreed that collective work towards achieving quality access to electricity is the cornerstone to providing life-saving healthcare technologies, safe drinking water facilities, water for irrigation and sanitation, diversified and resilient livelihoods, internet and digital education, and other essential services. “Clean energy holds the potential to improve development outcomes especially in the face of climate change impacts in India. This workshop is a crucial first step towards recognizing the need for collaborative thinking and designing projects that will help improve the education, health and livelihoods of people of Rajasthan,” said Harsha Meenawat, Senior Research Specialist, WRI India.
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