Are We Prepared To Face The Worst Water Crisis Ever Witnessed ?

Water-Conservation-Cover

A recent report released by the Govt Of India’s, NITI Aayog, indicates that India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history…

The 180-page report on Composite Water Management Index further points out that ‘by 2030, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people and an eventual 6% loss in the country’s GDP.’

The National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog has developed the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) to enable effective water management in Indian states in the face of this growing crisis.

Maharashtra and more specifically, Pune has been experiencing severe water shortage over the years. Depletion of the ground water table and scanty rainfall only adding to the crisis even more.

This certainly calls for serious introspection to arrive at sustainable solutions that can help conserve our limited natural resources say these city experts and informed citizens. 

“We should not forget that India’s fresh water share is barely 4.5 % of World total fresh water, whereas population share is 18 %,” quotes Col (retd.) S G Dalvi, District Manager (Pune)- The Climate Reality Project, India; Director, Parjanya-Rain water Harvesting Consultancy.

“Water is required by all beings on the planet, it is also required for farming sector to ensure food security for ever rising population.

Water-Facts

It states by 2020, just two years from now New Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad will run out of Ground water affecting the very survival of the population of over than 100 million.

Shimla and Uttarakhand has already joined the list of water stressed places. Gujarat is the highest performer on the Water Index scores for the financial year 16-17, closely followed by Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Maharashtra ranked fifth with 55 scores. Jharkhand is the worst performer.

Dalvi further adds that, “In India around 50% of agriculture depends on rainfall & ground water. With surface water totally contaminated, the stress on groundwater is increasing by the day. We all must take steps to fight this severe water crisis.”
Fight Water Crisis

Dhiren Singh, an active citizen says that it is scary to think that within a couple of years, we can be deprived of the most important resource of life.

“It is all because of us. There are water mafias looting our resources for their financial gains. We do not pay attention to the leaking taps and over usage either.

The natural water sources are not being used effectively and the authorities seem indifferent to all this. We should have heeded the warning when we were first hit by drought.

“At least now people should wake up and do their bit,” Singh urges.

Aditi Deodhar, Director-Jeevitnadi – Living River Foundation while speaking to Pune365 remarked “We are playing a dangerous gamble when it comes to water and our future generations are at stake. Deodhar goes on to explain the main reasons behind the lack of water and why they needed attention.

Majority of the soil surfaces in urban areas are capped due to buildings, roads, pavements. There are fewer soil surfaces available to absorb water. Hence the recharging of ground water is hampered. 

At times, unnecessary hard-scapes are created where tiles and concrete is added near the riverbed, even when it is not really needed or does not serve any purpose.

Because of this, the water which would have been absorbed gradually and released into the river, flows rapidly instead.

We advocate rain water harvesting and yet we destroy these natural rain water harvesting systems.

Secondly, “there is no policy for monitoring groundwater usage. Groundwater is pumped at an unprecedented rate, while recharge has reduced. On 12th July 1961, Pune experienced floods due to breakage of Panshet and Khadakwasla dams. We studied how Pune city survived without both these dams (other 2 dams were not there yet).

We mapped water sources available in 1961-river, streams, dug wells, Peshwa-era system tanks and lakes. We then compared it with 2015, the low rainfall year. Current sources are dams, bore-wells.

“We have destroyed other sources. Dug wells are reduced, many streams destroyed, river and stream water is polluted, lakes polluted, Peshwa-era system defunct. Yet when it comes to financial security, we diversify portfolios and ensure we never invest all our money in one place.

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#Infographics: Manjiri Jayesh For Pune365

 

Loveleen Kaur

Loveleen Kaur

She loves travelling, dogs, sarcasm, humour and anything that spells F O O D, in that order. A writer on a journey to make positive stories a morning ritual and give society what it needs the most - optimism !!

Reach her at loveleen@pune365.com or tweet @KaurKaur18
Loveleen Kaur

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