The first Green Climate Fund (GCF) project from India on groundwater recharge and solar micro irrigation to ensure food security and enhance resilience in vulnerable tribal areas of Odisha was approved by GCF board on Thursday. According to a senior official, GCF will provide a grant of 34 million USD to Odisha Government through NABARD. The project has been granted for six years. Earlier, the prestigious project had obtained technical clearance from NABARD, which is the national implementing entity and independent technical advisory panel. The project will impact 5.2 million vulnerable households in 15 priority districts with high level of food insecurity, water scarcity, high climatic stress and high proportion of SC-ST population, which accounts for 12 per cent of the entire population of the State.
The project, conceptualised by the State Water Resources Department, has the approval of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. The project document was prepared by leading climate change advisory firm CTRAN under climate innovation programme of Action on Climate Today, a DFID funded Programme. In Odisha, gross groundwater recharge has been estimated as 17.77 billion cubic metre (BCM) through different sources including rainfall, which contributes 71 per cent. With reducing inflow from inter-State rivers and spiraling water demands by industrial and urban clusters, it is projected that Odisha will slip from its present water-rich status to water-stress status by 2050.
In such a scenario, sub-surface conservation of water though community-based rainwater harvesting practice is one of the best strategies to combat impact of climate change on water sector. The official further said though Odisha receives an average solar radiation of 5.5 kWh/sq m area with around 300 clear sunny days every year which can generate 8000 MW and 2000 MW of power through Solar Photovoltaic and Solar thermal routes, the State has only 66 MW installed solar capacity so far. ‘’The project would help generate more solar power,’’ he added.