Indian coastline is also highly vulnerable to climate change effects, due to resultant high temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, sea-level rise and increased incidences of extreme weather events. More than 250 million people or 3.5% of the world’s population lives within 50 kms of the coast. Ecological degradation brought on by anthropogenic pressures has increased the frequency and severity of salinity ingress and climate change events worldwide, which has had a detrimental effect on the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable coastal communities. Coastal regions are now also at high risk of cyclonic events, higher tides, drought, sea water intrusion, coastal flooding and erosion, which ultimately leads to decline in productivity of agriculture, fisheries and allied livelihoods. Increased sea water temperature results in reduced dissolution of oxygen in sea water and impacts fish production.
Civil Society Organizations working in Gujarat were aware of problems being faced by coastal communities and were grappling with the issue of salinity ingress in their respective geographies.In 2002, various CSOs including Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India), Ambuja Cement Foundation launched the ‘Kharash Vistarotthan Yojana’ (KVY), to collaboratively work towards tackling salinity issues The government of Gujarat was also aware of the problem and had set up Salinity Ingress Prevention Circle (SIPC), headquartered at Rajkot to construct civil structures like tidal regulators, Bandhars, lining canals to prevent salinity ingress.
However, it was strongly being felt that the enormity and the multi-faceted nature of the problem required partnership with government to scale up efforts. The government also realised that the constructed structures could be more productive only when the local communities were included in the process. The unique collaboration of communities, civil society organisations and government came to form with the state government of Gujarat issuing a circular on 12th April 2004, which laid the foundation of CSPC.