- Give facts or data regarding how the water crisis is severe in cities giving examples of Bengaluru and Chennai.
- Mention reasons for this crisis listing all factors.
- List all ways to conservation and better use of water.
India is facing one of its major and most serious water crisis. According to the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) report released by the Niti Aayog in 2018, 21 major cities (Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and others) are racing to reach zero groundwater levels by 2020, affecting access for 100 million people. However, 12 per cent of India’s population is already living the 'Day Zero' scenario, thanks to excessive groundwater pumping, an inefficient and wasteful water management system and years of deficient rains.
The CWMI report also states that 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 and an eventual six per cent loss in the country's GDP.
The Niti Aayog in New India @75 has highlighted following reasons-
1. There is a huge gap between the irrigation potential created (112.5 million ha in 2012) and the irrigation potential utilized (89.3 million ha in 2012). Apart from the underutilization of the potential, the efficiency of the irrigation systems is low at 30 per cent to 38 per cent for surface water and 55 per cent for ground water.
2. Despite clear evidence of rising water stress, water is still used inefficiently and indiscriminately, particularly in agriculture. Poor implementation and maintenance of projects, absence of participatory irrigation management, non-alignment of cropping patterns to the agroclimatic zones, and absence of field channels (CAD works) are some of the challenges.
3. The Easement Act, 1882, which grants groundwater ownership rights to the landowner is one of the reasons for water over-use and depletion of groundwater levels.
4. The subsidized pricing of water in various states has resulted in non-revenue water and a sharp decline in groundwater levels in all states.
5. As per 2011 Census, only 30.8 per cent of the total rural households and 70.6 per cent of the total urban households get piped water supply.
6. The sustainability of the source and growing contamination of ground water in newer areas are constraints in ensuring safe drinking water supply in rural and urban areas.
1. The time has come when India needs as rigorous a program on water efficiency as it has on energy efficiency.
2. Managing the demand side of water management is crucial as India cannot increase the per capita availability of water.
3. The country needs to have a specific plan for water-stressed states.
4. Promote the use of solar pumps to improve the utilisation of groundwater in Eastern India where utilisation is hampered by the lack of power.
5. A water regulatory framework should be established for water resources in all states.
6. Both the central government and the state governments need to have considerations on setting the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of water consuming crops.
7. The government needs to encourage local participation for conserving water in the country. Eg Atal Bhujal Yojana
8. Incentive based water conservation in rural parts in the water stressed areas is another solution, for example, if a particular level of groundwater level is maintained, higher MSP can be provided to the farmers of that region.
9. Water-use efficiency in agriculture can be ensured by making farmers aware and by providing them, on the ground, technologies like the one related to water resistant crops, sprinkler and drip irrigation.
10. In-situ water conservation techniques like rain water harvesting, check dams need to be continued.
11. Participatory aquifer management initiated in the 12th Plan National Aquifer Management (NAQUIM) under PMKSY should be strengthened.
Looking at the current situation, there is a need for a paradigm shift. We urgently require a transition from this 'supply-and-supply-more water' provision to measures which lead towards improving water use efficiency, reducing leakages, recharging/restoring local waterbodies as well as applying for higher tariffs and ownership by various stakeholders.