From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Nothing much
Mains level : Water crisis and solutions
India’s severe ‘water crisis’ is in the news recently. India’s cities are running out of water. Chennai witnessed the worst drinking water woes.
- Niti Aayog’s report ‘Composite Water Management Index: A tool for water management’ stated that 21 major cities are expected to run out of groundwater as soon as 2020, affecting nearly 100 million people.
- The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has been reporting on the increasing number of over-exploited blocks across India, labeled as the ‘dark’ category blocks. The recent annual book of CGWB has reported 1,034 units, out of the 6,584 units it monitors, as over-exploited.
- CGWB’s 2013 estimates say that the groundwater development in India is just about 62% of the utilizable groundwater reserves.
- A recent report by the Central Water Commission and ISRO asserted that India is not yet in “water scarcity condition”, but in a “water-stressed condition”, with reducing per capita water availability.
- Ensure adequate access to quality water, more so in urban areas where inequities over space and time are acute.
- With rapid urbanization, demand cannot be met by groundwater reserves alone. Groundwater meets just 10% of Delhi’s drinking water needs. The rest is met by surface water sources transported from outside Delhi.
- Water resource departments in States are following conventional approaches to supply augmentation. They should reorient themselves and deploy demand management, conservation, and regulation strategies.
- Centre and states should work towards an institutional change by building federal governance of water resources.