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water crisis India- 40% of Indians will have no access to drinking water by 2030 – God of Small Thing

the water crisis in India:

Water has been the central point and a vital catalyst for the civilizations to flourish. Imagine a day of your life without having water. Scary, isn’t it? The mere thought of water shortage sends us in panic mode, think about the time when this will be a reality.

drinking water crisis India facts
drinking water crisis India facts. Image Credits: Al Jazeera

What’s even worse is the fact that those days are not too far. To be precise, as many as 21 Indian cities will have no groundwater by 2020. Just in case you are feeling relieved that your city is not there in the list, don’t be. You might face the same fate just a little later.

drinking water crisis India: According to a report by the Niti Aayog- Government’s think tank, 40% of India might have no drinking water by 2030.

India water crisis
The water crisis in India. Image Credits: Al Jazeera

According to the report India needs “urgent and improved” management of water resources. Failure to come up with an efficient plan might wreck havoc.

Nearly 600 million Indians are facing water scarcity as more than 40% of the annually available surface water is used every year. The number of people dying due to inadequate access to clean drinking water is alarming. Going forward, the situation will only magnify due to the high demands of a rapidly growing population. A report by the ‘Composite Water Management Index’(CWMI)’ predicts that by 2050, India’s demand for water will exceed the supply.

What are the consequences of water shortage in India:

water shortage in India. water crisis India 2019, water crisis India
water shortage in India. Image Credits: The Economic Times

This is an absolute no brainer that water demand in cities is much higher than the rural parts of the country. We can already see the cities struggling to meet the demands of the residents. We need to come up with a plan real soon because if cities leave no water for rural India, it will adversely affect the crops that grow there. This means due to the huge demand for water in Metro areas, food security of the country will also be affected.

What can be done/ What is being done for the water crisis?

drinking water crisis India
drinking water crisis India. Image Credits: insights

Indian states need to start managing their groundwater and recharging and recycling the water. They should also come up with ideas/ innovation to minimize the wastage of water for agriculture.

Setting up CWMI is a step in the right direction, but according to experts, the states should also pay attention in enforcing the laws for groundwater exploitation. It is a collective responsibility of both the Centre and state government. There are existing laws in most states, but they are never implemented in reality as the state government does not enforce them strictly and vigilantly.

Which cities will be worst impacted by water shortage?

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water shortage in India. Image Credits: Kractivist.org

As mentioned earlier, twenty-one Indian cities–including Old Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Hyderabad–will run out of groundwater by 2020, poignant on the point of one hundred million people; four-hundredth of India’s population can don’t have any access to potable by 2030, the report same.
Currently, several Indian states, as well as Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu, face water shortages. You might have heard about all the 4 reservoirs in Chennai drying up.

drinking water crisis India: groundwater restoration a solution to the water crisis in India?

Water shortage in India
Water shortage in India. Image Credits: aljazeera.com

We all know that groundwater restoration is a slower process than consumption. Also, most of our agriculture depends on monsoon or groundwater. The average rainfall has also reduced resulting in a higher number of dry days and more pressure on groundwater.

If water conservation and harvesting measures are not implemented, India might face a 6% loss in its gross domestic product (GDP) by 2050, as reported by the NITI Aayog. Also, of the total available water, nearly 70% is contaminated. The report also says that India ranks 120th of 122 countries in a global water quality index, which is a very disappointing stat.

NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog on drinking water crisis India
NITI Aayog on drinking water crisis India. Image Credits: Career Launcher

The NITI Aayog annually evaluates all the states on various parameters like availability of drinking water, level of groundwater, implementation of water management practices, etc.

When this exercise was started in 2015-16, 14 of the 24 states analyzed scored below 50% on water management and were classified as “low performers”. As expected, these were the states with populous agricultural belts in the north and east India and the northeastern and Himalayan states.

The water crisis in India: Which states are performing good in water availability?

Which states are performing good in water availability. Water Index scores.
Which states are performing good in water availability? Water Index scores. Image Credits: The Hindu

Gujarat performed best with a score of 76%, followed by Madhya Pradesh (69%) and Andhra Pradesh (68%).

Seven states scored between 50-65%–including Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, and Tripura–and have been classified as “medium performers”.

“Water Index scores vary widely across states, but most states have achieved a score below 50% and could significantly improve their water resource management practices,” the report said.

Management score for water state wise in India:

Water Management Scores, By State
StateScore (In %)Performance
Gujarat76High
Madhya Pradesh69High
Andhra Pradesh68High
Karnataka56Medium
Maharashtra55Medium
Punjab53Medium
Tamil Nadu51Medium
Telangana50Medium
Chhattisgarh49Low
Rajasthan48Low
Goa44Low
Kerala42Low
Odisha42Low
Bihar38Low
Uttar Pradesh38Low
Haryana38Low
Jharkhand35Low
Tripura59Medium
Himachal Pradesh53Medium
Sikkim49Low
Assam31Low
Nagaland28Low
Uttarakhand26Low
Meghalaya26Low

Source: Composite Water Management Index, NITI Aayog

With the above-mentioned statistics, India food is at a high risk as low performing states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, and Haryana on the water index account for 20-30% of India’s agriculture output. These states are also home to more than 600 million people.

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Low-performing states show improvement

The practice started showing results gradually. Most states improved their performances by almost 1.8 %. According to the report, working towards the restoration of small water bodies that contain surface water led to the improvement. Meghalaya, Sikkim, and Tripura were among the top five states which showed the most improvement, gaining more than 7.5 percentage points each. Rajasthan, Jharkhand, and Haryana achieved improvements in the overall performance index.

A solution to Water Crisis India: Groundwater management, sustainable water use key

Most states have focused on the development of infrastructure to store water and practices like irrigation management and ‘watershed development. The key to improving the groundwater levels is yet to be worked upon.

Some critical areas like sustainable farming practices, effective management of drinking water, particularly in rural areas and recharging groundwater still need more attention.

A solution to Water Crisis India: Recharging Ground Water?

The groundwater recharging needs to speed up. The government should focus on keeping a check on the groundwater being extracted. Additionally, they should implement plans to optimize and maximize rainwater harvesting. Most of you might be aware that boring is not allowed in Delhi. In fact, it is discouraged everywhere. Yet it is very ordinary to spot a submersible pump in most places. This is where the state governments need to enforce strict checks and efficient implementation.

Active participation by citizens is required to deal with water problems in India:

No country has ever scaled heights without the contribution of their citizens. Responsible citizens are the greatest asset any nation can have. Testimony to the statement are the nations where nature has been harsh and has devoid the place of rich diversity and mineral wealth. Those nations are way ahead of us because people love their country more than their personal petty gains.

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Water crisis in India Facts. water crisis in India
The water crisis in India Facts. Image Credits: Al Jazeera

If each one us pledges to minimize water wastage, it will create a significant change. That water might save the lives of people who die due to the water crisis. We can cooperate by adhering to the laws laid by the government and inform in case of breach or corruption. Each revolution starts from small actions and thoughts, so let us all make it a point not to waste water. Leave some for our generations to come.

Garima Tomar

Senior Software Development Analyst at an IT firm