Water Crisis: An Alarm For The Future

According to the Niti Aayog report of 2019, by 2030 40% of the Indian population will not have access to proper drinking water.
Water Crisis: An Alarm For The Future
Photo @ congerdesign from Pixabay

This is a story reminding me whenever my eyes catch a water crisis story in a newspaper. We are in amidst of the summer season when the temperature remains above 30 degrees celsius and it is almost impossible to live without ACs or fans. During this time we want cool air or wind and when winters come we want summer back. Seasons do change but one thing does not; that is our seriousness towards saving water. Besides the different weathers there is one thing which is common and that is water crisis. Not only Jammu and Kashmir but the country as a whole faces the water crisis. This time the country is facing its worst water crisis ever. 2018 Niti Aayog report revealed an alarming state of affairs. The Niti Aayog report states that over 600 million Indians are facing “HIGH TO EXTREME” water stress. This leads to 2 lakh deaths per year. Some rural families have to assign a person whose purpose is only to fetch water because water fetching in the rural parts of our country is not an easy task.

These people do not have water supplies to their homes. Out of 718 districts 256 have reported critical or over exploited groundwater levels. This is according to Central Groundwater Board’s data. In states like Rajasthan women have to walk over 2.5 kilometres to fetch water. The ¾ of India’s rural households do not have access to piped and potable water. India is the largest extractor of groundwater, total of which the country accounts for 25%.

But in long term this is causing groundwater levels to fall. Groundwater resources have declined by 60% from 2009. This amount is greater than what U.S and China extract combined .Besides that we are the largest extractor of groundwater we still cannot meet the demands. According to the Niti Aayog report of 2019, by 2030 40% of the Indian population will not have access to proper drinking water. 70% of the country’s water resources are polluted and major rivers are dirty.

Even if we are the largest extractor of groundwater, we only have 4 percent of the world’s fresh water resources with a population of 1.3 billion people. According to a report by NASA in 2019, 65% of India’s water reservoirs were running dry. Now it is not just India’s rural population which is suffering from this crisis even urban cities are. According to WWF by 2050 at least thirty major Indian cities will face a grave water crisis. In the summer of 2019, Chennai, a major Indian city had its freshwater resources running dry. This made the government to bring in 1 crore litres of water every day.

Remember Chennai is the same city which receives an average of 1400 mm of rainfall per year, almost double of what London receives. A report published in the journal Nature predicts that by half of this century (2050) Jaipur will become the world’s second highest water deficit city. Out of the 34% of people living in cities, 31% of them living in unauthorised colonies and slums lack the access to piped water, even public taps.

Most Indian cities can’t meet the per capita need of 135 litres of water per day. Those pipes which are carrying water to homes have the risk of falling dry. The 2030 Water Resources Group estimates that if the country continues to consume the water at the current rate we will have only half of the water needed by 2030.

Data also suggests that the water crisis in India can lead the GDP to fall by 6% till 2050. Around 80% of India’s freshwater is used in agriculture. This is a huge amount spent on agriculture as we compare the number with China, it uses 64% of water and South Africa uses 62% of renewable freshwater resources for agriculture. And despite spending a huge amount of freshwater into agriculture the water crisis is still putting farmers and land as well in trouble.

Due to the water crisis 86 Lakh hectares of land has been destroyed. When the world’s largest T20 cricket tournament is on, 60 thousand litres of water is used to maintain the cricket pitches. The steps which are taken against the people for wasting water are not enough. Cricketer Virat Kohli was once fined for washing his car with drinking water. This water could have been utilised to end the thirst of hundreds of people and the message which was sent out was that he was fined rupees 500 only. I believe he could have been fined much more for a cricket star who influences a huge size of the public, he should not have been dealt with in such a way.

A wrong message was given out by this act. The unhidden criminals in this act are black marketers of water or “ The Tanker Mafia” who sell water at exorbitant rates during droughts or to area suffering from water crisis. Talking about the solution some of those old basic steps can still be followed to lessen the water crisis in future like:

1.Focus on methods such as rainwater harvesting this method can be made popular among the people so that people get the habit to store Rainwater which will hence increase the groundwater level.

2. Better water management plans can be made to lessen the wastage. Like using buckets while bathing and repairing taps with leakage.

3.Taking care of the health of rivers and other water bodies like ponds and lakes which have become dirty. They should be made clean and those who are already clean should be protected by imposing strict measures and people should also understand their responsibility.

4. Construction of dams on eco sensitive zones should be stopped.

5.Climate change should be given the attention it deserves and the fight against it should be started now.

Reaching to the conclusion, the WWF proposes nature based ways like enhancing health of rivers especially the major ones and the wetlands as well to make them resilient to water risks. But these measures could just tackle scarcity issue, not the distribution for which the government needs to work and work to make out success from some major schemes like Jal Jeewan . But there is another responsibility which the people should also take and that is the management of waste water. The water which is not fit for drinking nor for bathing or cleaning should be given to plants ( only when the chemical or any such thing is not present) and the industries should also release this kind of water only after neutralizing it). The problem of water crisis attracts no one but it can be one of the major risks the earth faces in the future.

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