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The Looming Water Crisis in India

Measures to avert impending water crisis in India

By Mahadev Desai

Fortunately the 2019 rainy season in India so far has been better than normal, but still the country need not be complacent and must take steps to safeguard against the looming Water Shortage Crisis. India is home to 18% of the world’s population but has access to barely 4% of world’s fresh water. Traditional irrigation by 180 million smallholder farmers uses 80% of water.

There is lot of wastage due to practice of flood irrigation resulting in surface run off, percolation and bare soil evaporation. Farmers need to plant less water intensive crops. But it is not easy as farmers opt sugarcane and paddy because they don’t need a big labour force and bring more money.And they should also use more drip irrigation like in Israel. With drip irrigation, instead of water going all over the field, water flows only to the roots, resulting in less water wastage and better crop quality and output.Israel also has an expertise in desalination plants.India has a desalination plant in Chennai but more needs to be done in in this area.
The problems of water shortage cannot be ignored any longer. According to the report of Niti Aayog till 2020 the groundwater of 21 major cities will drought. More than 70% water supply of India is polluted. Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad are among 21 cities to run out of Ground Water by 2020
Due to lack of irrigation Water, and resultant crop failure, number of farmers commit suicide. Approximate 70 percent population is using polluted water in daily uses.82% of rural households lack access to piped water supply. In rural areas, women have to walk long distances to fetch water. Due to water scarcity, people have to queue up for long hours for water delivered by water tankers and water trains. In the previous 10 years there has been a 61% Groundwater decline.

Central Government has started India Jal Shakti Program the same as swachh bharat abhiyan, on 1st July, 2019.
Gajendra Singh Shekhawat is an Indian politician from Rajasthan who is currently serving as Union Cabinet Minister in the Ministry of Jal Shakti. The country will do major efforts for water Conservation and rainwater harvesting.Jal Shakti Water Saving and awareness program will be regulated in two Phases. The first phase will start from 1st July 2019 to 15 September 2019 and the second phase will begin from 1st October 2019 to 30th November 2019. In the beginning of Jal Shakti Abhiyan water-stressed blocks in 256 districts will be covered. District water conservation plans will be made and implemented in water-stressed districts. Jan Andolan will make people aware of water crisis and will teach people to adopt Rain Water Harvesting renovation method, water for irrigation purposes, store rainwater in monsoon time and after that use this water for utility purposes. Various type of Water Saving Camps will be organized. People will also be encouraged to plant more trees. Release of chemicals and effluents into rivers, streams and ponds will be checked. Around 30% of water loss is caused by leaky pipes and steps will be taken to prevent this loss.

On 15th August 2019, India’s Prime Min.Narendra Modi initiated Jal Jeevan Mission whose goal is to ensure that every household gets potable water by 2024. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also inviting the citizen of the country to join the campaign. In Jal Shakti Campaign government will teach people to adopt Rain Water Harvesting renovation method, water for irrigation purposes, store rainwater in monsoon time and after that use this water for utility purposes.

Water is the lifeline that bathes us and feeds us. One must remember the President of Force Water NGO, Jyoti Sharma’s mantra of 5 Rs—Reduce; reuse; recharge; recycle; respect.There is not one silver bullet to solve the water shortage. But with public awareness, cooperation and resolve the problem.
Sri Shekhawat,during his visit to Israel,requested it to "innovate together" to create a synergy for saving life and water to protect the planet. He remarked that bilateral cooperation between Israel and India in the fields of water use efficiency, desalination, waste water and grey water reuse, pollution abatement, technological interventions etc. would be of immense help to both the nations. He noted that climate change, population and pollution were putting a lot of pressure on water resources making management of water in India a big challenge.India has a huge population,and Indian landscape is full of diversity. India has 18 per cent of the world's population and 18 per cent of the world's livestock population.

But it has just 4 per cent of the freshwater resources of the world which creates a formidable problem of water scarcity.
India has abundant access to seawater so with Israel’s help in desalination, India can alleviate water shortage.