Threat of Water Shortage in India

Question : “Discuss the threat of water shortage in India, focusing on its causes, consequences, and government initiatives.

Context: India faces a water shortage with reservoir levels significantly lower than usual.

Storage Capacity:

  • 150 primary reservoirs: only 38% full (below last decade’s average)
  • These reservoirs account for 69.35% of India’s total live storage capacity.

Southern India:

  • Particularly affected with storage at 23% (down from 39% last year and 32% average).
  • Cities like Bengaluru facing a daily water shortfall of 500 million liters.

Reasons for Water Scarcity:

  • Inefficient agriculture and excessive groundwater extraction.
  • Climate change causing irregular rainfall and impacting recharge of water sources.
  • Poor water management and lack of proper infrastructure.
  • Deforestation and degradation of watersheds reducing water infiltration.
  • Rapid urbanization and industrialization polluting water bodies.

Consequences:

  • Reduced water for agriculture impacting crop yields and food prices.
  • Inadequate sanitation and hygiene leading to waterborne diseases.
  • Conflicts over water resources among different sectors and communities.
  • Migration from rural to urban areas straining infrastructure and social fabric.
  • Reduced power generation due to lower water flow in rivers and reservoirs.

Government Initiatives:

  • National Water Mission (NWM): Promotes water conservation, minimizes wastage, and ensures equitable distribution.
  • Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM): Aims to provide piped water supply to all rural households by 2024 (focuses on decentralized management and community participation).
  • Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY): Improves groundwater management and promotes sustainable use in stressed areas (focuses on community participation and recharge measures).
  • Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY): Enhances farm water access, expands irrigation, and promotes water conservation practices.
  • Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT): Develops basic urban infrastructure including water supply and sanitation in 500 cities.
  • Namami Gange Programme: Aims to rejuvenate the Ganges River by addressing pollution and restoring ecological health.
  • Interlinking of Rivers (ILR): Long-term plan to connect rivers for better water management (30 link projects identified).

Suggestions:

  • Implement efficient water management practices (rainwater harvesting, watershed management).
  • Invest in water treatment systems and improve irrigation techniques.
  • Raise awareness about water conservation and encourage responsible water use.
  • Develop policies for sustainable water allocation and management.
  • Utilize modern technologies (IoT, AI, remote sensing) for better water management.

 

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