Society

A look at the water crisis in India

India is the seventh largest country in the world by geographical area and it is on number 2 in the world when it comes to population and rainfalls. There is a strange relationship between the other two.

We have so much rainfall but then why is India experiencing water shortage? Unfortunately, there is an ecological imbalance on the global scale. India is one of the eight countries which is seriously facing a sharp increase in water crisis that threatens humans,  a huge percentage of the world has no access to sanitation and clean water.

The average person only needs 20 or 30 liters of water, while every Indian consumes a bigger amount everyday for different purposes. Additionally, overpopulation and pollution have also been a cause of water poverty in India. 

 
 According to the report by NITI Aayog, India is facing the worst water crisis in its history, and 21 Indian cities will run out of groundwater by 2020,highlighting the need for “urgent and improved” management of water resources.

 

It also warned that the crisis are only going to get worse by 2030, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people.

Currently, 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress and about 200,000 thousand people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water, said the NITI Aayog report on Composite Water Management Index (CWMI).

The report ranks Gujarat at the top in managing its water resources in the reference year (2016-17) followed by Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

The worst states include Jharkhand, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

According to India’s official Ground Water Resources Assessment, more than one-sixth of the country’s groundwater supply is currently overused, which is forcing cities to go for temporary measures like water imports which has economic implications. 

According to the World Bank’s study, water scarcity can affect long-term economic growth prospects. Water scarcity will cost India 6 per cent of its GDP if the country continues to mismanage water resources by 2050. The major impact will be on health, agriculture, income and property. 

Five of the cities likely to face severe water shortage in the next few decades are in India.They are: Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad in the order of current population.

The current total population of these five cities comes to around 67.5 million. By 2050, the region colored blue will have around 20 per cent more water. India, too, might have more water but urbanization will increase the population in Indian cities, thereby causing a situation called ‘absolute water scarcity’.

So, is this the right time to say that a country with a number of water resources, rivers, lakes and seas is going through a crisis of clean and potable water? Although, the monsoon season has hit various parts of India and this is the time when the government and the people should really look forward to the ways and methods of utilizing the rainwater which can make up for the wastage of water up to some extent.
 
Effective utilization of water resources is the only way we can avoid a disaster in the making. Performance around groundwater augmentation can significantly improve with the strengthening of groundwater regulations and strict implementation on the ground.
Steps like the improvement of monitoring network and continuous monitoring of groundwater level and groundwater quality, strict implementation of rainwater harvesting and continuous operation and maintenance of the same will also help states manage their groundwater better.
 
Some researchers have suggested that water conservation efforts should be primarily directed at farmers, in light of the fact that crop irrigation accounts for 70% of the world’s fresh water use.

As it can clearly be seen that the only way to tackle with this crisis is to ensure the effective utilization and conservation of water. And there are various methods known to us which we can apply even in our household applications, so as to ensure minimum wastage and conservation of water.

→ Install Water-Saving Showerheads, Shower Timers, and Low-Flow Faucet Aerators 

→Cover Swimming Pools to Reduce Evaporation

→reuse waste water wherever possible.

→water your lawn only when it needs.
 
→use water efficient outlets in your home.
 
→plant more and more trees.
Author: Tanusha Verma, Rishikesh
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