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India Most Vulnerable G-20 Nation to Water Stress: HSBC

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- India, the second-biggest producer of rice, wheat and sugar, is the most vulnerable among the world’s leading industrial and emerging economies to future water stress, according to HSBC Holdings Plc.

India exhibits the most worrying trends among the Group of 20 nations with the resource “hovering dangerously near extreme scarcity levels” by 2030, HSBC said in a report today that forecast the group’s water consumption against supply.

The worst U.S. drought in a half-century drove corn and soybeans to records in August. Agriculture is the biggest consumer of water and India, the most dependent on farming among the G-20 nations, uses 25 percent of all water consumed globally by the industry, HSBC found.

Companies are unlikely today to disclose information on local water scarcity that can affect farms, plants and operations, it said. Investors will increasingly demand more disclosure to assess potential disruption to earnings, it said.

According to United Nation definitions, India is already officially water-stressed while Saudi Arabia, South Africa and South Korea are water-scarce, the report said.

Historical trends are no longer a reliable way to assess future availability as climate change affects rain patterns and glacial melt, it said. Changing water patterns have already forced the closure of power, oil and gas and textile facilities in India this year, the report said.

Dry regions are getting more arid and wet areas wetter as the water cycle that circulates across the oceans, atmosphere and land intensifies at twice the rate predicted by global climate models, HSBC said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Natalie Obiko Pearson in Mumbai at npearson7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Randall Hackley at rhackley@bloomberg.net

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