Table 3. Example of the components of food system vulnerability to decreased water availability.

Key determinant Determinant characteristics Sensitivity to water availability Adaptive capacity Vulnerability to water availability
Food diversity Milk supplements a diet of rice and lentils Cows need 4 months of rain to produce milk No functioning milk market to purchase from when own production fails High: no ability to purchase milk
Primary protein Lentils are eaten every day Lentils need 2 months of rain The lentil market functions so that lentils can always be bought Low: lentils can be purchased
Household income Agriculture is the main source of income Agricultural earnings depend on good yields and functioning markets When crops fail, some work can be found in towns or farther away Moderate: social and economic constraints on migration
Government policy for staple foods The wheat price is controlled by the national government None Not applicable Low: not sensitive
Irrigation availability Irrigation is fed by surface water Irrigation quantity declines Tubewell irrigation is costly to install Moderate: approximately half of households have a tubewell

Note: The example is loosely based on unpublished data from the Global Environmental Change and Food Systems Indo-Gangetic Plain regional project.