India is now facing a water scenario which is considerably worse any that previous generations have had to face
India now uses more groundwater than China and the United States combined.
India is facing a great storm in handling water.
Centuries of mismanagement, political and institutional incompetence, indifference at central, state and municipal levels, a steadily increasing population that can reach an estimated 1.7 billion by 2050, a rapidly mushrooming middle class needing an increasingly protein-rich diet that demands significantly more water to create—together, these are leading the country towards catastrophe. Along with this, there's an absence of serious and sustained attempts at the fundamental or state levels to manage water quantity and quality, a lack of execution of regulations and existing laws, and pervading corruption and poor adoption rates of new and cost effective technologies.
Despite this depressing state of affairs, there aren't any indications of politicians waking up to the specific situation or those political choices that are willing to take difficult but essential. Activities are mostly aesthetic. Policies are mainly ad hoc, wrong, incoherent, and scarcely properly executed.
Politicians are seeking visible, but largely fast and temporary results from one election cycle to another. It does not matter which party had been in power.
India is currently facing a water situation that is significantly worse that previous generations have needed to face. All Indian water bodies within and near population centres now are polluted with hazardous and organic pollutants. Interstate disputes over river waters are becoming increasingly intense and widespread. Clean water can be provided by not a single Indian city that may be consumed in the faucet on a 24×7 basis.
Surface water conditions are lousy. However, the groundwater situation is even worse.
Groundwater extraction is growing and has become increasingly unsustainable. Hence, in several areas of the state, groundwater levels are decreasing steadily. In certain parts, the amounts are dropping by more than one metre annually. An insufficient proper wastewater treatment from mining sources, industrial, and domestic has meant that known and unknown pollutants are progressively contaminating groundwater, increasing the possible health threats to people and ecosystems.
It is, therefore, no coincidence the maximum quantity of protests by farmers and suicides have happened in Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, where groundwater blocks are overstressed due to decades of over- extraction and poor direction.
Through the last three decades, there has been an explosive growth of private tube wells in farms as a result of a dearth of dependable surface irrigation. Indian law which expands exclusive rights to landowners over groundwater compounds the problem. These factors, together with free electricity for pumping, have led to a rise in groundwater use from 58% in 2004. There are not any indicators this rate is levelling off.
To be able to come up with policies for sustainable groundwater use, it is essential that reliable information on groundwater availability be used and quality is methodically accumulated.
Despite having four separate bodies that are central regulating groundwater, there's absolutely no single database for the country. In 2016, the standing committee on water resources of the Indian parliament ultimately urged having a national groundwater database which could be updated every two years. But when this may in actuality happen is anybody’s guess.
India uses more groundwater than the USA joined as well as China.
Intensive groundwater extractions will continue at least over the medium term. The present situation has contributed to serious economic, societal, political, and environmental difficulties. India can also be confronting a rising variety of interstate and trans-border river battles.
India isn't a fresh policy challenge. Groundwater use in India started to hasten throughout the early 1960s together with the start of the Green Revolution.
The best estimate is the fact that at present India uses 230-250 cubic kilometres of groundwater each year. This accounts for around one-quarter of the world-wide groundwater use. More groundwater is now used by India than China as well as the USA united.
Farmers using groundwater get the crop yields when compared with surface water. This is only because groundwater irrigation provides more flexibility as to when to irrigate and also the quantity of water they could use because they will have complete control as to when to pump to the farmers and for how long.
Supported by external donors, whose financing of agricultural jobs in the 1970s was conditional upon farmers being supplied free electricity twenty-four hours a day, this policy created the short term benefit of raising food production. On the other hand, the ill-conceived policy had long-term costs, with substantial losses and serious groundwater depletion suffered by the many state electricity boards.
Based on official appraisals from the Indian ministry of water resources, in 2004, around 29% of the groundwater blocks were crucial, semi-critical or overexploited. It also reasoned the situation was deteriorating quickly. In 2014, the central groundwater board noted the amount of over-exploited districts rose from 3% in 1995 to 15% in 2011.
In 2009, studies by NASA reported that the Indus basin was the second-most overstressed aquifer in the world. This basin contains the states of Punjab and Haryana, which represent India’s granaries. This study also noticed that the rate of depletion of groundwater levels in North India is about one metre every three years. This signals the real gravity of the specific situation and is 20% higher than the earlier appraisal by the water ministry.
Quickening groundwater extractions even have major quality implications. In coastal aquifers, declines are leading to seawater intrusion. Additionally, there are serious risks as a result of various types of contamination that is geogenic, including by fluoride and arsenic. These issues are already being seen in some states.
There will probably be undesirable implications for India’s food, water, energy, environment, and wellness sectors unless urgent steps are taken to handle groundwater scientifically. Almost half of India’s occupations are now in the agricultural sector. When the present trends continue, by 2030 nearly 60% of Indian aquifers is likely to take a critical state. This means that some 25% of the agriculture production will soon be in danger. India’s employment situation may aggravate.
The root of the English word competition is the Latin word rivals, which means a person utilising the same river. Unless India can enhance its water management, opponents will turn, with similar competition springing up between various kinds of water users. This will be a risky development for the world’s most populous country throughout the post-2025 period.