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General Awareness topic - Time is ticking before we resolve magnitude of water crisis
Time is ticking before we resolve magnitude of water crisis
India’s population is growing by leaps and bounds by the day, and it is putting immense pressure on the country’s natural resources, in particular water. Out of 1.2 billion people in India, close to 128 million Indians do not have access to safe drinking water. Most of the water sources are contaminated by agricultural runoff and sewage, and close to 21 percent of communicable diseases in India are related to the consumption of unsafe water.
One of the problems that India faces is the lack of long-term availability of sustainable water resources. Most of the underground water, which is known to be a replenishable source of water, goes into the irrigation system, particularly for the production of grains. Since most of the water is used for agricultural purposes, the quantity left for direct human consumption is extremely little.
Given the climate conditions in India, with many cities facing droughts, time is ticking for the government to come up with policies to end water scarcity and resolve water crisis in India once and for all.
Water crisis in India has largely been attributed to poor governmental planning, increased corporate privatization and corruption in government agencies. In addition, if no action is taken today, water scarcity is expected to become a leading cause of national conflict, somewhat similar to what India is facing with its neighboring countries, including Bangladesh, with regard to the Teesta River.
By 2050, India’s population is expected to grow to 1.6 billion. And if we are unable to solve the present water crisis, we will surely be doomed in years to come.
To obtain water for farming, Indian farmers are digging deeper into the ground every year. Sadly, Indians are tapping the groundwater faster than the earth can replenish it. In fact, studies have shown that Indians are digging wells so fast that they are hitting deposits that were formed during the era of dinosaurs.
According to Indian surveyors, close to 25 percent of the geographic blocks in the country are being overexploited. Twenty years ago, only 250 geographic blocks fell into this category, but today, the number has risen to more than 1,000.
To protect and conserve water in India, the government has to place restrictions on who can pump groundwater and how much can be pumped at any one time. In addition, the spread of discounted electricity rates in rural areas and the proliferation of electric pumps have worsened the situation, by allowing farmers to squeeze out more water from the ground than what was possible by hand a decade ago. To ensure that the rural population utilizes water resources in a sustainable manner, the government has put a limit on the discounts for electricity for the poor.
In the short run, placing restrictions on the usage of water and limiting government discounts may seem detrimental to politicians, who are trying hard to get votes for the 2014 elections, but in the long run, it will benefit the entire country.
Time is ticking fast and the longer the government takes to place restrictions on the usage of water resources, the shorter the life span of the country becomes. With global warming on the rise, it has become even more difficult to preserve our natural resources. So, it is time for the citizens of India to use water wisely and for the government to protect the valuable resource at any cost.