It is expected that India’s per capita water availability will decline to 1,401 cubic metres and 1,191 cubic metres by 2025 and 2050, respectively. The average domestic water demand will also increase from 85 litres per capita per day (lpcd) in 2000 to 125 lpcd and 170 lpcd by 2025 and 2050, respectively. The projected water demand of 1,498 billion cubic metres will exceed the supply of 744 billion cubic metres — two-fold — by 2050.The deteriorating quality of natural water bodies, due to the discharge of untreated sewage, also poses a serious concern. India generates 61,754 million litres per day (MLD) of sewage, of which 63% remains untreated. Waste generation is further expected to increase and the projected wastewater in cities could reach up to 1,20,000 MLD by 2051.
- Poor Maintenance: Due to poor maintenance, there is a big and expanding gap between the irrigation potential generated and that which is actually used.
- Data that isn’t trustworthy: Water data is frequently inaccurate, and it is obtained using antiquated methods and approaches. The data is largely available at the aggregate level in most groups — industrial consumption, households, etc. — meaning limited utility for policymaking. For the whole country, there is no unified water database. In 2016, the Indian parliament’s standing committee on water resources advocated the creation of a national groundwater database that could be updated every two years. However, there hasn’t been much progress in this area.
- Over-exploitation: According to the numbers, groundwater meets more than two-thirds of irrigation needs. Groundwater has provided around 85% of the entire contribution to irrigation in the previous four decades. This is plainly unsustainable, as the groundwater table is rapidly depleted. The situation is exacerbated by Indian legislation, which grants landowners exclusive rights to groundwater.
- Poor Water Treatment Plants: Water treatment and reuse are grossly under-invested. Only 2% of metropolitan areas in the United States have both sewerage and sewage treatment plants. Over 40,000 million gallons of sewage are produced daily in India’s cities, yet only approximately a fifth of this waste is treated.
- Policy Issues: In rain-scarce states like Punjab and Maharashtra, groundwater is utilised to produce water-intensive crops like rice and sugarcane (both supported by the Green Revolution). Punjab’s state procurement policies and subsidised power make rice production viable for farmers. Farmers in Maharashtra, for example, grow sugarcane because they know it will be purchased.
- Rapid Urbanization: India is rapidly becoming more urbanised. This means that water demand from families, industry, and agriculture will be higher. The amount of groundwater replenishment is also reduced as a result of concreteization.
- Jal Kranti Abhiyan
- National Water Mission
- National Rural Drinking Water Programme
- NITI Aayog Composite Water Management Index
- Jal Shakti Ministry and Jal Jeevan Mission
Measures for improving water conservation
- River revitalization should be a top priority for both the federal and state governments.
- Irrigation system operations and maintenance must be improved for long-term success.
- Rainwater harvesting should be included as part of city design.
- The need of focusing on behavioural change and distinguishing between potable and non-potable water consumption by citizens will go a long way toward bringing about a Jan Andolan.
- Conservation agriculture, or agricultural techniques that are tailored to the needs of crops and local circumstances, is required. In water-stressed areas, less water-intensive crops such as pulses, millets, and oilseeds should be cultivated.
- People tend to overlook the necessity of water conservation because it is usually provided for free or at a low cost. Water pricing can be rationalised while keeping in mind the affordability of the country’s people. Water reuse, reduction, and recycling should also be encouraged.
- Water-related data systems, which appear to be severely deficient in coverage, efficiency, and robustness, require the use of information technology to be revamped.
- Water conservation, source sustainability, storage, and reuse are all priorities in this decentralised strategy. Water governance requires a collaborative approach.
How to structure:
- Give an intro about water scarcity in India, try to use a report like NITI Aayog’s.
- Mention the reasons for declining water availability- add man-made and natural causes
- Discuss measures for improving water efficiency- try to link schemes