A novel approach to vulnerability assessment for adaptation planning in agriculture: An application to the Lower Bhavani Irrigation Project, India

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The global discourse on climate change adaptation in various sectors has largely taken a top-down approach. However, impact analysis based on top-down approach with uncertainties at every stage of the process may lead to poor adaptation responses and hence there is a need for an alternative to this conventional approach. This study aims to implement a bottom-up, risk-based approach to vulnerability assessment in the agriculture sector, by adapting the Climate Risk Informed Decision Analysis (CRIDA) approach. This paper explains the risks that climate variability and change pose to the agricultural system, with Lower Bhavani Irrigation Project in the South India as a case study. The climate stressors of aridity index and climate variability were incremented or perturbed to develop different future climate scenarios, and the changes in paddy yield and supply–demand ratio were examined. The supply–demand relationship in the system was highly vulnerable to the aggregate effects of climate variability and change, whereas the risk to paddy yield was low. Since the change in crop water demand induces risk to the system, we recommend planning demand management measures such as changes in cropping calendar, system of rice intensification, alternate wet and dry irrigation, deficit irrigation etc. to minimize the impacts. As the range of projections in climate variables is large, and the yield responses are low, we recommend having both robust and flexible adaptation plans. The bottom-up approach presented here provides solutions relevant to the system, hence it is highly suitable and recommended for local adaptation planning in agriculture sector.



Vulnerability assessment, Adaptation planning