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UPSC Sansad TV: AIR- Water Conservation and Rain-water Harvesting in India

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Water stress in India

  • 785 million people lack access to clean water. That’s one in 10 people on the planet.
  • India has 4 % of the world’s freshwater which has to cater to 17 % of the world’s population.
  • Approximately 600 million people or roughly around 45 % of the population in India is facing high to severe water stress.
  • As per the report, 21 Indian cities will run out of their main source of water i.e. groundwater by 2020.
  • Nearly 40 % of the population will have absolutely no access to drinking water by 2030 and 6 % of India’s GDP will be lost by 2050 due to the water crisis.
  • A disastrous water crisis has been creeping up on us for years. Water tables have declined precipitously, even by thousands of feet in some parts of Punjab, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh. Tanks and wells have gone dry.
  • Some rivers have shrunk while other smaller ones have completely dried up.
  • Water rationing is routine in many urban areas, while in many villages women are trudging longer distances to fetch water.
  • A recent report mentions that over 70% of surface irrigation water is being simply wasted, nationally.
  • Not only farmers are affected by the water crisis, urban dwellers in cities and towns across India are also facing a never seen before drinking water scarcity.
  • In India, there are conflicts between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over sharing of Cauvery waters, between Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh over sharing of Narmada waters, between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana over sharing of Krishna waters, etc.

Measures to educate and create awareness regarding water conservation

  • Resource Awareness:
    • Public education helps raise awareness about the finite nature of water resources. Understanding the importance of water as a limited and essential resource encourages individuals to use water more responsibly.
  • Behavioral Change:
    • Education plays a key role in driving behavioral change. By informing the public about the impacts of water wastage and the benefits of sustainable water use, individuals are more likely to adopt water-efficient practices in their daily lives.
  • Community Engagement:
    • Educating the public fosters community engagement. When communities understand the shared nature of water resources and the collective impact of conservation efforts, they are more likely to collaborate in implementing water-saving initiatives.
  • Policy Support:
    • Informed and engaged citizens are more likely to support and advocate for water-conservation policies at local, regional, and national levels. Public pressure can influence policymakers to implement regulations and incentives that promote sustainable water use.
  • Technological Adoption:
    • Public education can drive the adoption of water-saving technologies and practices. This includes promoting the use of water-efficient appliances, rainwater harvesting systems, and drought-resistant landscaping.
  • Economic Benefits:
    • Understanding the economic implications of water scarcity can motivate individuals and businesses to adopt water-saving measures. Conserving water not only helps reduce water bills but also contributes to the overall economic resilience of a region.
  • Climate Change Resilience:
    • Education about water conservation often involves discussions about climate change. Public awareness of the interconnections between water availability, climate change, and ecosystem health can lead to a more comprehensive and integrated approach to water management.
  • Cultural Shift:
    • Through education, there can be a cultural shift towards valuing water as a precious resource. This shift is essential for promoting a long-term commitment to sustainable water use across generations.
  • Education Programs:
    • Educational programs, whether conducted in schools, communities, or through public awareness campaigns, can provide practical tips and guidelines for water conservation. This empowers individuals to make informed decisions in their daily lives.
  • Long-Term Impact:
    • The long-term success of water conservation efforts relies on sustained public awareness and education. Continuous education ensures that individuals remain vigilant about water use and adapt their behavior in response to changing conditions.

 Way Forward:

  • Bigger program on water efficiency as energy efficiency – Setting standards for water management.
  • Ensuring minimal pollution in both urban areas and industry.
  • Fixing water crisis will need well balanced policies, meticulous strategy and a massive amount of public participation.
  • Sugarcane consumes a disproportionate amount of water and water-stressed regions must make an effort to move away from the crop.
  • Comprehensive restructuring of India’s Central Ground Water Board and the Central Water Commission in order to create a new 21st Century management authority.
  • Right to water should mean a high priority to drinking water