Shortage of Water in India

  Jun 20, 2020

Shortage of Water in India

Which are the factors that decide water availability?

  1. The average annual water availability of any region or country is largely dependent upon hydro-meteorological and geological factors. 
  2. However, water availability per person is dependent on the population of the country and for India, per capita, water availability in the country is reducing due to the increase in population. 
  3. Due to high temporal and spatial variation of precipitation, the water availability in many regions of the country is below the national average and may be facing water stress / scarce conditions.

Water availability in India over the years:

  1. The average annual per capita water availability in the years 2001 and 2011 was assessed as 1816 cubic meters and 1545 cubic meters respectively which may further reduce to 1486 cubic meters in the year 2021. 
  2. Water-stress and Water scarcity:

Annual per-capita water availability of less than 1700 cubic meters is considered as water-stressed condition, whereas annual per-capita water availability below 1000 cubic meters is considered as a water scarcity condition.

What are the challenges in water management in India?

The country is facing a number of challenges in water management such as 

  1. High temporal and spatial variability in respect of the availability of water resources, 
  2. declining per-capita water availability due to increase in population, 
  3. Inadequate water storage for meeting future water demands, 
  4. Over-exploitation of groundwater resources, 
  5. Increased frequency of droughts, 
  6. low water use efficiency,
  7. No Indian city is in a position to boast of a complete sewerage system. According to the Central Pollution Control Board, the country has installed capacity to treat roughly 30% of the excreta it generates.
  8. Water pollution due to Agriculture and industry

What are steps taken by Govt for efficient water management in the country?

Water being a State subject, measures for the management of water resources is primarily taken by respective State Governments. Central Government supplements the efforts of the State Governments by providing technical and financial assistance through various schemes and programmes. Central Government has taken various steps for the management of water.

  1. Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA), a campaign for water conservation and water security, was launched by Ministry of Jal Shakti in water-stressed districts of the country.
  2. Central Government has formulated a National Perspective Plan (NPP) for Water Resources Development which envisages transfer of water from water surplus basins to water-deficit basins through interlinking of rivers.
  3. Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) is being implemented with an aim to expand cultivable area under assured irrigation, improve on-farm water use efficiency, introduce sustainable water conservation practices, etc.
  4. Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is implementing Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) in 500 cities with mission components such as water supply, stormwater drainage, etc. The water supply component includes augmentation of the existing water supply system and water treatment plants; rehabilitation of old water supply system; rejuvenation of water bodies, etc.
  5. The Government of India has launched Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), which aims at providing functional household tap connections to every rural household by 2024 at the service level of 55 litres per capita per day.

A Multi-Dimensional Response to deal with Water management crisis in India: Mihir Shah

  1. Assessment of groundwater resources through participatory aquifer mapping coupled with systematic studies by institutions with appropriate capacities to identify natural recharge areas, groundwater discharging zones and quantification of aquifer characteristics, namely transmissivities, storativities and groundwater quality.
  2. Focus on recycling and reuse of wastewater
  3. Reduce the industrial water footprint 
  4. Protect and prioritise local water bodies 
  5. Shift focus to management and distribution: The much more acute problem in urban India is not the quantum of water to be supplied but its management and equitable supply to all.
  6. Eco-restorative, low-cost technologies to treat wastewater