Thursday March 21, 2019

’40 percent people in India may not have water to drink by 2030′ (March 22 is World Water Day)

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Ruwa Shah

Forty percent of India’s population may not have drinking water by 2030, if the water crisis in the country is not met seriously, a study has warned.

With the country facing a grave water crisis and lack of water conservation, the availability of potable water and groundwater has decreased over the years which would result in severe situation in the country after a decade, said an activist for water conservation on the eve of World Water Day (March 22) observed to create awareness about water-related issues and for action to deal with the global water crisis.

“By 2030, 40 percent of the total population in the country will not have drinking water if the situation remains same,” Jal Jan Jodo Abhiyan’s national convenor Sanjay Singh told the agencies, quoting a research published recently by 2030 Water Resource Group (WRG).

“The ground water is depleting, the small tributaries have dried up to 90 percent and the flow of rivers has reduced by 60-65 percent. This will lead to a severe situation in the coming years reducing water availability to a great extent,” he added.

He also said that the per capita demand has increased whereas the availability is very less. In fact, a report on ground water published by PRS Legislative Research –a non-governmental organisation — says: “Due to increasing population, the national per capita annual availability of water has reduced by 15 percent from 2001 to 2011.”

It also said that India uses almost twice the amount of water to grow crops as compared to China and the US.

“The gap between the availability and demand is increasing at a greater pace. Cities like Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai and other metropolitan cities consume water in huge quantities due to changed lifestyle of people. This must be looked into,” Singh told the agencies.

He also said that the efforts done by the government were not enough to meet the crisis.

South Asia Network on Dam, Rivers and People coordinator Himanshu Thakkar says water crisis in the country is multidimensional and is aggravating fast because of various factors including mismanagement of the resource.

He anticipates big problems based on the water crisis looming large in the country if the situation continues.

“Ground water is the lifeline of the country which is depleting very fast. Water is part of the ecological system as every living thing on earth needs water so if not dealt with properly the perennial water crisis may lead to more serious problems like food crisis, livelihood crisis, social conflicts,” Thakkar told the agencies.

He said that social conflicts based on water crisis have already started in the country. The tension between Haryana and Punjab over Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal project and conflicts in Marathwada region of Maharashtra over water are the latest examples.

“In terms of the water crisis in India things have now come to such a pass that a district collector in Latur district in Maharashtra had to implement section 144 to avoid clashes between people due to the water crisis,” Thakkar told the agencies.

Blaming the government, in general, being the major contributor towards the crisis, Thakkar said the government machinery was solely responsible for failing in water management.

“Government is responsible for the water crisis in terms of mismanagement. The government does not involve people in the management of water. This year is a drought year so the problem has increased manifold but the efforts of the government does not seem sufficient to deal with the crisis,” he said.

About the water crisis in Delhi, he said that mismanagement on the part of governments can be seen easily as in February, Jat protesters took over Munak canal in Haryana stopping water supply to the national capital and it took over a fortnight to deal with the consequences.

Ruwa Shah can be contacted at ruwa.s@ians.in and Ashish Mishra can be contacted at ashish.m@ians.in)

Next Story

Report Claims, As Many As 1 Billion Indians Live in Areas of Water Scarcity

The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater -- 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater -- 12 per cent of the global total.

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Global groundwater depletion - where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally - increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India's rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period. Pixabay

As many as one billion people in India live in areas of physical water scarcity, of which 600 million are in areas of high to extreme water stress, according to a new report.

Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid.

This number is expected to go up to five billion by 2050, said the report titled “Beneath the Surface: The State of the World’s Water 2019”, released to mark World Water Day on March 22.

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Pure water droplet. Pixabay

Physical water scarcity is getting worse, exacerbated by growing demand on water resources and and by climate and population changes.

By 2040 it is predicted that 33 countries are likely to face extremely high water stress – including 15 in the Middle East, most of Northern Africa, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan and Spain. Many – including India, China, Southern Africa, USA and Australia – will face high water stress.

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Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid. Pixabay

Global groundwater depletion – where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally – increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India’s rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period.

Also Read: Beware! Sipping Hot Tea Raises Risk of Esophageal Cancer

The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater — 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater — 12 per cent of the global total.

The WaterAid report warned that food and clothing imported by wealthy Western countries are making it harder for many poor and marginalised communities to get a daily clean water supply as high-income countries buy products with considerable “water footprints” – the amount of water used in production — from water-scarce countries. (IANS)