The water crisis in the 21st century has more to do with poor management than scarcity and stress. Critically analyze the situation in India.
Government think tank NITI Aayog in a report said 2 lakh Indians die every year because they don’t have a safe water supply, the report said. A shocking 600 million people face “high to extreme” water stress.
Reasons for poor water management in India:
- Excessive use of groundwater for irrigation in agriculture caused a strain in the resource. In India, about 80% of the water is consumed for agricultural purposes.
- Use of ineffective techniques for irrigation aligned with mismanagement. In addition to this significant portion of the water used for industrial and domestic purposes is wasted when returned to the streams.
- About 80 per cent of the water reaching households in India are drained out as waste flow through sewage to pollute other water bodies including rivers and also land.
- Government announce high MSP for water guzzling crops like Rice so farmers are harvesting more water intensive crops increasing the use of water.
However, along with poor management scarcity and stress are also considerable factors
- Due to climate change affects like less pre-monsoon rainfall and delay in monsoon combined with unprecedented heat make water scarcity
- Degradation of river basin due to natural and manmade factors
- It is estimated that water demand in India is going to be as high as 24% by 2025 and 74% by 2050 due it increase in population
Most importantly India has 18 percent of the world’s population which resides in India having access to 4 percent of usable water sources.
- Government of India has established National Water Mission as one of the eight National Missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change
- Water conservation works were undertaking by MGNREGA
- Recently, Atal Bhujal yojana for restoration of ground water and budget 2020 allocated funds for resolution of water crisis
- Government encourages people to use smart metering and to use water conservation technology.
- Law regulating groundwater – It is a curious case but the Easement Act of 1882 that gives every landowner the right to collect and dispose of groundwater and surface water within his/her own limits is still in operation .
- Inadequate technology and poor utilization of funds
- Weak regulation structure because water comes under state list
- Unplanned urbanization, loss of wetlands and floodplains
- Farmers should be given adequate incentives to shift to production of crops like millets which require much less water and are climate resilient.
- The spread of drip and sprinkler irrigation systems should be increased rapidly with state support.
- The new agronomic practices like sub-surface irrigation, raised bead planting, ridge-furrow method of sowing, and precision farming etc which have the potential to reduce water-use in agriculture should also be adopted.
- India is not running out of water but water is running out of India without extracting it’s potential benefits so every stakeholder should focus on water management.
- System of Rice Intensification (SRI) has been adopted by several farmers especially in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh as a water-conserving method of paddy cultivation.
- Organic and nature based farming: Studies have shown that organic farming conserves water by requiring less water in irrigation and also helps in improving water-storage capacity of soil by improving its health.
- Conservation techniques like zero-tillage, raised-bed planting, precision farming have shown good results in soil and water conservation