Independent India witnessed several problems that shaped its destiny. Frequent wars lead to nuclear tests, droughts lead to Green Revolution, proxy war lead to high military spending etc.
However, depleting natural resources like water are concerns to everybody. A recent survey by NASA shows that the precious resource, which is eminent to life is fast disappearing from the land at an alarming rate.
The GRACE mission (Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment) has found that North Indian regions including Delhi experiencing water level fall about 4cm per year.
During NDA regime it is even remembered that Vajpayee himself spoke strongly about reducing water table levels across the country.
Current year monsoon already failed and drought condition looms large. They cite reduction of monsoon is attributed to climate changes triggered by global warming.
However, water crisis is not an issue still very recent times. Water crisis came into forefront during 1980’s after much discussions and debates created burning situations across several states. Punjab and Haryana were under dispute for sharing river waters. Gujarat, M.P, and U.P were also logging horns with each other over water sharing proposals. Southern States of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka entered into a prolonged dispute over river Cauvery.
Why this happened? There are few reasons that need deep analysis from experts. First green revolution encouraged usage of limitless water utilization. Since the new seeds need lots of water. Farmers who are illiterate and ignorant choose all methods including digging deep wells and bore-wells to meet water demand.
The ground water levels as per the ministry of water resources explain as
“The ground water resources of the country have been estimated for freshwater based on the guidelines and recommendations of the GEC-97.The total Annual Replenishable ground water resources of the country have been estimated as 433 billion cubic meter (BCM). Keeping 34 BCM for natural discharge, the net annual ground water availability for the entire country is 399 BCM. The Annual ground water draft is 231 BCM out of which 213 BCM is for irrigation use and 18 BCM is for domestic & industrial use.”
Though the agriculture expansion happened for the last 40 years the water availability from the basins remains the same. Utilization total capacity is still not met and the statistical figures show the truth.
In this background national water policy of 2002 earmarks a fact that water availability and wastage has to be coordinated properly. It reads as follows: Floods and droughts affect vast areas of the country, transcending state boundaries. One-sixth area of the country is drought-prone. Out of 40 million hectare of the flood prone area in the country, on an average, floods affect an area of around 7.5 million hectare per year. Approach to management of droughts and floods has to be co-ordinated and guided at the national level.
The national river water integration (River Linking Project) is yet to take off since certain states are apprehensive about insecurity against floods and loss of water availability to them. In particular states like Bihar which hit hard in the current drought situation are vociferous over the project. South Indian states for their betterment can take up this project to solve once and for all water disputes among them.
Though it is agreeable that population pressure also plays an important role on water crisis, it is less rather than the mismanagement that aggravates the situation further. Few Urban water bodies are managed with professional attitude.
There are frequent voice heard for privatization of water distribution in the lines power and sanitation. However, there is no concrete proposal from any giant corporate bodies coming forward to take major initiatives inclining to solve water scarcity in the country.
But religious bodies like Sai bhabha came forward to assist water distribution in Chennai and surroundings.
Unless there is a concrete actions played through PPP module the water crisis in India will be always remain there.