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Reason behind the water scarcity in India
The water scarcity is mostly man made due to excess population growth and mismanagement of water resources. Some of the major reasons for water scarcity are:
- Inefficient use of water for agriculture. India is among the top growers of agricultural produce in the world and therefore the consumption of water for irrigation is amongst the highest. Traditional techniques of irrigation causes maximum water loss due to evaporation, drainage, percolation, water conveyance, and excess use of groundwater. As more areas come under traditional irrigation techniques, the stress for water available for other purposes will continue. The solution lies in extensive use of micro-irrigation techniques such as drip and sprinkler irrigation.
- Reduction in traditional water recharging areas. Rapid construction is ignoring traditional water bodies that have also acted as ground water recharging mechanism. We need to urgently revive traditional aquifers while implementing new ones.
- Sewage and wastewater drainage into traditional water bodies. Government intervention at the source is urgently required if this problem is to be tackled.
- Lack of on-time de-silting operations in large water bodies that can enhance water storage capacity during monsoon. It is surprising that the governments at state levels has not taken this up on priority as an annual practice. This act alone can significantly add to the water storage levels.
- Lack of efficient water management and distribution of water between urban consumers, the agriculture sector and industry. The government needs to enhance its investment in technology and include all stakeholders at the planning level to ensure optimization of existing resources.
- Fresh water deficit:
Along with the strain on surface water, the country is also facing great stress with freshwater. Lack of strict state regulation on ground water development has caused a strain on the amount of freshwater available. Indifference from bureaucratic powers and constant neglect has caused the problem to intensify. In hand with the lack of government interference and continued industrial waste deposited into major rivers, most freshwater entering the bodies of water is defiled. The approximation of the untreated water entering the water sources such as rivers and lakes is 90 percent and only furthers the problem.
Solutions to overcome water scarcity problems:
- We are drawing more ground water than the amount of recharge through rains. Farm ponds and rainwater recharge is the only way to move forward. We are disrespecting the rain water by allowing the water flow into the sea. That is why we see frequent floods. Unless we decentralize and incorporate local storage of water by creating more ponds check dams we will keep seeing more droughts every year. After all source of water for the ground water is rain water.
- A simple addition of a ‘water free’ male urinal in our homes can save well over 25,000 liters of water, per home per year. The traditional flush dispenses around six liters of water per flush. If all male members including boys of the house use the ‘water free urinal’ instead of pulling the traditional flush, the collective impact on the demand for water will reduce significantly. This must be made mandatory by law and followed up by education and awareness both at home and school.
- The amount of water that is wasted during dish washing at home is significant. We need to change our dish washing methods and minimize the habit of keeping the water running. A small step here can make a significant saving in water consumption.
Waste water treatment and recycling for non-drinking purposes. Several low cost technologies are available that can be implemented in group housing areas.
Very often, we see water leaking in our homes, in public areas and colonies. A small steady water leak can cause a loss of 226,800 liters of water per year! Unless we are aware and conscious of water wastage we will not be able to avail the basic quantity of water that we need to carry on with our normal lives.
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