Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 1087–1098 | Cite as

Sub-basin scale characterization of climate change vulnerability, impacts and adaptation in an Indian River basin

  • Ajay Gajanan BhaveEmail author
  • Ashok Mishra
  • Annemarie Groot
Original Article


Knowledge of climate change vulnerability and impacts is a prerequisite for formulating locally relevant climate change adaptation policies. A participatory approach has been used in this study to determine climate change vulnerability, impacts and adaptation aspects for the Kangsabati River basin, India. The study approach involved engaging with stakeholders representing state (sub-national), district and community levels, through an interactive brainstorming method, to understand stakeholder perceptions regarding (a) local characteristics which influence vulnerability, (b) climate change impacts and (c) relevant adaptation options. The study reveals that vulnerability varies across upstream, midstream and downstream sections of the river basin. Suggested adaptation options, in this predominantly agricultural basin, are found to be applicable across spatial scales. Stakeholder perceptions, regarding vulnerability and impacts, vary with the level of interaction, academic background and type of experience. Interaction confirms the notion that stakeholders have inherent knowledge regarding adaptation, reveals their preferences and ability to think unconventionally. We discuss limitations of the approach while demonstrating its ability to deliver locally relevant and acceptable adaptation options, which could facilitate implementation. We conclude that engaging stakeholders at multiple levels was highly effective in assessing locally relevant aspects of climate change vulnerability, impacts and applicable adaptation options in the Kangsabati River basin. Based on this assessment, a sub-basin scale is recommended for evaluating these aspects, especially for water resources and agricultural systems, through multi-level stakeholder input.


Adaptation Participatory approach Climate change River basin 



This work has been supported by the HighNoon project, funded by the European Commission Framework Programme 7 under Grant Nr. 227087. Funding for the workshops was generously provided through the project HighNoon. We are grateful to the participants of all the workshops for their active participation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ajay Gajanan Bhave
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ashok Mishra
    • 1
  • Annemarie Groot
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural and Food Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology KharagpurKharagpur (W.B.)India
  2. 2.Alterra, Wageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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