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OJAANK IAS ACADEMY

Water Crisis in India

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India has 17% of the world’s population yet just 4% of the world’s freshwater resources. The water situation is deteriorating as a result of pollution and climate change. In the 75 years since independence, yearly water availability per person has decreased by 75%, from 6,042 cubic metres in 1947 to 1,486 cubic metres in 2021; India is dealing with a number of issues, including the disappearance of ponds, lakes, tanks, and wetlands, as well as groundwater depletion and surface water pollution.

According to preliminary data from the first water body census, 18.691 out of 9.45 lakh water bodies, or 2%, have been encroached upon; according to the most recent Central Ground Water Board data, as many as 256 of India’s 700 districts have reported “critical” or “over-exploited” groundwater levels.Sewage water and untreated industrial contaminants are thrown into rivers. This is due to a failure to meet effluent regulations.Cities have a significant lack of sewage treatment infrastructure. Improper mining methods also degrade water quality and harm neighbouring aquifers.

Weather patterns are shifting as a result of climate change, and this leads to extreme weather events, unclear water supply, a worsening of water scarcity, and contaminated water supplies. Such impacts can have a major influence on the amount and quality of water that humans require to exist.Water is being overused and wasted as a result of excessive subsidies and ignorance. Uncontrolled agricultural water consumption and a lack of conservation initiatives have significantly impacted groundwater levels in Punjab and Haryana. More than 10% of the water sources in rural regions are no longer required.

Agriculture, according to statistics, consumes more than 85% of fresh water. The answer is yes.Irrigation is a primary emphasis of the National Water Policy. The water administration has been suffering from hydro-schizophrenia since the country’s independence. Water management, comprising surface water, groundwater, drinking water, and irrigation, has been managed independently by multiple bodies such as the Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) with little collaboration.

Children’s deformities are induced by the presence of contaminants in the water such as fluoride, chloride, and nitrate. It promotes premature hair greying as well as skin-related disorders. Water polluted with uranium traces can cause severe ailments such as cancer; a World Bank analysis estimates that climate change-exacerbated water scarcity might cost certain regions up to 6% of their GDP. The majority of women are in control of the household. Women and young girls endure the brunt of the duty of gathering water due to a scarcity.

According to a National Commission for Women study, rural women in Rajasthan trek over 2.5 kilometres each day to access a source of water. Severe water scarcity has led in polygamy in one Maharashtrian village prone to drought. You’ll need more than one spouse to collect water. The connection is known as “water wives”; Agriculture’s production will be influenced by water shortages.

Jal Shakti Abhiyan, an initiative for water conservation, recharge, and rainwater collection, was begun in 2019 in 256 water-stressed regions. It presently includes all 740 districts in the country.Each district’s 75 water bodies are to be developed and rehabilitated as part of the Mission. The Union Government intends to build 50,000 AmritSarovars across India by August 2023.

The initiative is designed to prioritise recharging and improved utilisation of groundwater resources. Atal BhujalYojana strives to build the institutional framework and bring about behavioural changes at the community level for sustainable groundwater resource management; PaaniBachao, Paisa Kamao has been started by Punjab Government. It encourages farmers to use less groundwater and power. This has led in water savings ranging from 6-25% while having no negative impact on production.

Since 2011, the World Bank has been assisting the Government of India in its efforts to revitalise the Ganga River. Two World Bank projects totalling $1 billion are assisting in the establishment of the organisations required to manage the river and create the infrastructure required to keep it clean.The establishment of the Ministry of Jal Shakti is a major step in overcoming hydro-schizophrenia. It will unite the irrigation and drinking water sectors under one ministry.

According to the Jal Shakti Abhiyan, the key priority should be enumerating, geo-tagging, and compiling an inventory of all existing water bodies. It is critical to take all necessary safeguards to prevent invasion.To enhance water management and reduce inter-state water disputes, governments must work together along hydrological lines rather than administrative ones.

The general people should be made aware of this issue by expressing their support for public officials such as Rajendra Singh (Waterman of India).A stronger water governance structure is necessary. The CWC and CGWB should collaborate to form a new National Water Commission, significantly enhancing each organization’s powers (NWC). It would increase collaboration and give the essential skills for varied water sources.


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