The Water Shortage in India

The Water Shortage in India

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India is the seventh largest country in the world by geographical area which is located on the South Asia. Moreover, India is the second populous country and second country which gets the most frequent rainfalls. Then why is India experiencing water shortage? Unfortunately, there is an ecological unbalance on the global scale. India is one of the eight countries which are seriously facing a sharp increase in water crisis that threatens humans, while a huge percentage of the world has no access to sanitation and clean water. The average person only needs 20 or 30 liters of water, while every Indian uses a big amount of water per day for different purposes than they are supposed to. Additionally, overpopulation and pollution have also been a cause of water poverty in India. Therefore, young children under the age of five make up the 75% of 37.7 million people who are affected by water-borne disease (Khurana 2008). The aim of this project was to create three possible solutions, and finally the most effective solution is recommended. Thus, several ways to deal with the problem of water shortage in India include harvesting rain water, watershed management, and river interlinking.
Harvesting rain water is one of the possible solutions to avoid water crisis. Water harvesting is one of the old methods of storing the priceless rain drop rather than letting it to flow away in India. Experts of this area say that collected rain water can be used right away or directly can be reloaded into the ground. As an example of this, about 366000 liters of water are harvested annually by CSE office building in Tughlaqabad institutional area (Bansil 2004 p.372). According to Bansil (2004): “And even the short spell of rain on May 12, 2002 which was only 8.5 mm. was enough to provide six days of drinking water for the 110 CSE staffers” (p.372). Additionally, roof-top water harvesting is one of the effective ways of harvesting rain water. Roof-top water harvesting enables people to economize water for drinking purposes up to 4-5 months (Bansil 2004 p 381). The Government of Rajasthan, one of the state governments in India, has made an obligatory provision for roof-top harvesting (Bansil 2004 p.386). However, the water used for harvesting is full of substances, which cause health problems.

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The water used for harvesting contains a large amount of nitrates and fluorides, cadmium, and chrome which are toxic. Furthermore, water is always invaded by various kinds of insects hence it should be upheld very carefully.
One of the proposed solutions to the water shortage in India is watershed management. Watershed management is landscape-based approach or strategy which aims to put into action management systems of natural resources for making living conditions better and providing conservation beneficially, economical usage of water and management of natural resources (Shiferaw, Kebede,and Reddy 2008 p.1). The Government of India conforms a high priority to watershed programs as a plan for structured expansion of rural areas “especially in rain-fed and drought-prone areas (Shiferaw, Kebede,and Reddy 2008 p.1).” Therefore, experts admitted that watershed projects have a positive impact on crop productivity, saving water that had been frequently used for farming (Yoganand and Gebremedhin 2008 p.11).Bansil (2004 p.392) states that “management of 4207 ha of the Sukhna lake (Chandigarh) catchment in the Shiwalik hills reduced runoff from 29% to 7% and sediment load from 140 to 18 tonne/ha over 20 years.”However, putting watershed projects into action is really expensive. As an example of this, year by year about $400 million is spent on watershed management projects in India (Kotru 2003 p.85). Furthermore, realization of these projects takes a long period of time. As Bansil stated above even the runoff process took about 20 years.

Water scarcity can also be avoided by river interlinking.As a name reveals, the aim of this project is to interlink all rivers with an attempt to cure India’s water problems (Goel 2005 p.3). First, this project will lessen the yearly floods in Ganga and Brahmputra (Shiva and Jalees 2003 p.1). Second, as Shiva and Jalees (2003 p.1) claims that “interlinking would lead to a permanent drought proofing of the country by raising the irrigation potential to equal the current net sown area of about150 million hectares.” Finally, “it would add 34,000 MW of hydropower to the national pool” (and Jalees 2003 p.1).However, river interlinking causes more problems rather than it proposes to solve. According to Alagh, Pangare, and Gujja (2006 p.160) “a single project, the Sardar Sarovar is estimated to destroy at least 14 000 hectare of the forest upon completion. In the case of Narmada Sagar, over 40 000 hectare of the forest land was destroyed and not compensated for.” On other hand, the cost of such projects is considered to be over billion dollars, which is a huge undertaking for Indian government to fund.
To sum up, several ways to deal with the problem of water shortage in India include harvesting rain water, watershed management, and river interlinking. Best efficient solution to water scarcity in India, perhaps, is harvesting rain water. First, it saves energy: “to lift ground water, one metre rise in water level saves about 0.40 kilo watt hour of electricity (Bansil 2004 p.375).” In addition to this, harvesting structures are very basic and simple, eco-friendly, and economical (Bansil 2004 p.381). River interlinking projects as one of the possible solutions may result in environmental concerns like pollution due to transportation and construction, and destruction of natural landscaping. Also another response to water scarcity, watershed management, is a large project for Indian government to afford. However, there can more effective solutions to avoid future crisis. The water shortage in India can be a perfect sample for the rest of the world to look at and learn from. The actions need to be taken right now in order to make human’s priceless liquid gold available for a future generation.

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