An author and a writer with a different approach to life. Covid 19 can surely check our patience but we will never give up.
In our country, India, about 70 per cent of the available water is contaminated. We are ranked 120th out of 122 countries in terms of water quality. NITI Aayog has warned in its report that by 2020, demand for water will double from its availability. 60 crores people are directly affected by the water crisis. Even after a decade, this problem can reduce the GDP by 6%. There are some reservoirs across the country with a total water storage capacity of 160 billion cubic meters. Of these, more than 60 MW of hydropower is produced from each of the 37 large reservoirs. According to the report released by the department concerned recently, the water level in these reservoirs is left only 17%. Seeing the havoc of the scorching heat, the need for water conservation in the country is now understood. The heat has wreaked havoc in many parts of the country including North India. In some parts of the country, the mercury starts approaching 48 degrees. The intensity of scorching heat is that till now there was the havoc of heat only in the plain areas, whereas the temperature in the hilly areas has also started increasing. Seeing the havoc of summer, the need for water conservation in the country is now understandable.
Nature of Rain
The meteorologist, who has done a special study of rain and water conservation in India, has told that there is a significant difference in the symptoms of rainfall in Europe and India. Rainfall in Europe occurs gradually throughout the year. In contrast, most parts of India receive only about 100 hours of rainfall out of 8760 hours in a year. Out of this, there is torrential rain for some time, due to which, half of the rainfall finishes only in some hours. It is clear that water collection and conservation is more necessary in a country like India than in the countries of Europe. The normal drop of rainfall in Europe is much smaller than the rainfall of India, due to which its soil cutting capacity is also less.
Soil Erosion in India
In Europe, a lot of rain falls in the form of snow which gradually dissolves in the earth. Whereas in India, a lot of rain falls in a torrential form which has a lot of ability to cut and drain the soil. In other words, we have a natural tendency of rain here, that if proper arrangements are not made for the collection and conservation of its water, then this water will run out towards the nearby river by shedding a lot of soil and flooding the river. Because most of the water will not be collected or not engulfed in the earth, so after some time a water crisis is also natural. Maximum conservation and storage of lifesaving water are necessary to reduce or eliminate both these incidents. The first requirement for this is trees, forest and all kinds of greenery, which withstood the first sack of rain and gently lowered it to the earth so that the rain does not cut the soil. Rather, to a large extent, it should be absorbed in the soil itself and prevent soil erosion.
Excessive Water Usage in some Areas
Water pollution has worsened the crisis of water scarcity, even small rivers have become so polluted that it has adversely affected the water fulfilment of many villages. Where agricultural chemicals are being used more, there is an equally harmful effect on groundwater. In many areas, irrespective of the water crisis, industries are being set up that will use excessive water and increase water pollution. There are also some areas were while ignoring the water crisis, new water-intensive crops are being encouraged, whose benefits will be limited to some already affluent people, but the consequences of which are in the form of groundwater tumbling. The public will have to suffer. In urban areas, we are moving fast in mobilizing facilities with high water use, such as five-star hotel, lawn and golf courses, while many settlements are facing water scarcity. On the one hand, while people are craving for drinking water, on the other hand, it is unjust in terms of the present situation as well as this inequality becomes a hindrance in finding a permanent solution to the problem in the future.
To Store Rain Water in lakes and ponds
The second important step is to collect the maximum possible part of the remaining rainwater flowing into the river or in the ponds. By the way, this water can be diverted and brought directly into the fields, most of the rainwater falling in the fields can remain in the fields, it can be arranged by various measures of land conservation such as terraced fields in the ridges mountains. For the water to be retained for a longer period in the pond, trees can be planted and special size ponds can be made to reduce evaporation. Taps, handpumps or pipelines are all visible in many villages, but if the groundwater or from ponds from which they have to get water starts reducing then how can the problem will be solved by these construction works. How many waterfalls have become dry in the mountainous areas, a large number of ponds have become like a plain, there is encroachment performed upon them, they are lying in a bad and pity state?
Points to be considered before giving approval for any new projects
For meaningful water planning, it is important that irrespective of the pressure of vested interests, the highest priority should be given to ensuring that every person, every house, and every village can quench the thirst. Other uses of water, whether it is for a new crop or for industry, should be considered only when this basic need has been satisfactorily met before. Similarly, industrial pollution, use of agricultural chemicals, changes in the crop cycle, mining work are all those areas which can have an impact on the availability of drinking water. Therefore, the system should be such that projects and new programs related to these different areas should also be considered from the point of view of water availability and before giving a decision in their favor, what effect they will have on the status of water availability is given due importance to this question.
Coordination of new technology with traditional measures
It is also important to pay attention to how much information about the maintenance and repair of new sources or sources of drinking water is being made available to the local people. If due to these small problems, people have to remain thirsty for many days waiting for outside help, then new technology that increases such dependency cannot be considered ideal. In fact, there should be a water system in the country in which new technologies do not oppose traditional measures, but should work to remove their shortcomings or increase capacity as per the need of the times.
Water is the most critical resource issue of our lifetime and our children’s lifetime. The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land.” – Luna Leopold
What report says
India is grappling with clean and better drinking water, especially a severe shortage of groundwater. There are 19000 villages in the country where there is no clean drinking water, experts say that if this situation persists, then this crisis will increase further in the coming time. The main reason for this will be excessive exploitation of water and climate change. A study by the World Resources Institute has revealed that tap water reaching the homes of people are feared to be completely dry due to dwindling reservoirs in India. Research has shown that uranium content in groundwater in 16 states of India is at an alarming level, much higher than the World Health Organization standards. This study of scientists from the Duke University of America has been published in the Environmental Science and Technology Letters for which they collected samples from 324 wells in Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Steps taken by Government
According to the Union Water Resources Ministry, the World Bank has approved a plan of 6000 crores under this, groundwater conservation program has been made in some selected areas. According to the government data, out of the 6584 blocks in the country, 1034 blocks are badly affected and have been identified as dark zones. 1350 gram panchayats of 78 districts of these states are expected to get benefit from the proposed scheme. Apart from this enterprise of the government, that is, we and every citizen of the country should become aware of water storage and conservation.
Vikram Brahma from Assam, India on October 24, 2020:
Very indepth and intereting article to read. Yes, many cities especially metro cities are facing water crisis. But yes, there are sloutions available. Common people along with govt. agencies have to do something. In our area and region there is excess water available for all. Every year we get so much rain and flood.
Risha Khan from Bhilai, Chhattisgarh on October 23, 2020:
Very enlightening article on water shortage and conservation, Swati. You have also suggested measures to solve the problem of water crisis. Water bodies getting polluted because of industrial wastes like uranium can have many adverse effects on people consuming them. Deforestation must be discouraged at all terms. Our government must implement plans so as to increase the level of groundwater and make it suitable for drinking. Climate change is also a major problem.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on October 22, 2020:
Such an important article. our desert here face many similar problems. Progress is being made here.