Water stress

With about 4 per cent of the water resources of the world, India should have been a water-adequate nation. However, in 2011 India turned into a water-stressed nation, according to experts. Let us have a look at what caused this stress and what steps need to be taken to bring India back to water-adequacy

 
Last Updated: Thursday 11 June 2015

Water stress

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THE REASONS
 
INDUSTRIAL WASTE
90%
of waste water discharged in rivers after treatment—38,254 million litres—do not meet environment norms. The sewage water should be treated so that it is fit for bathing. World Bank estimates that the current industrial water use in India is about 13 per cent of the total freshwater withdrawal in the country and the water demand for industrial uses and energy production will grow at a rate of 4.2 per cent annually

Source: World Bank
 
POLLUTION
75%
of available water resources in the country do not meet the World Health Organization water quality standards because of pollution caused by rapid industrialisation, urbanisation, poor farming and irrigation practices

Source: Bhartiya Agro Industries Foundation
 
URBANISATION
70%
of India’s water pollution happens due to waste from cities that house only 36 per cent of India’s population, says a report of the Central Pollution Control Board. Owing to poor infrastructure, cities are able to treat only 31 per cent of the waste, while the remaining is dumped untreated. The report also points out that only 38 per cent of the population in the cities have access to sanitation and 78 per cent to clean drinking water.

Source: Central Pollution Control Board
 
RAINFALL WASTAGE
65%
rainwater runoff goes into the sea, which is a major wastage considering that over 70 per cent of country’s farming is rain-fed. The runoff also causes soil erosion, river flooding and siltation of water bodies

Source: Bhartiya Agro Industries Foundation
 
POOR SANITATION
6.4%
of India’s gross domestic product (Rs 328,500 crore) worth of economic opportunities were lost in 2006 because of poor sanitation. Poor sanitation results in water contamination that leads to widespread diseases and wastage of public resources

Source: World Bank
 
DEPLETING GROUNDWATER
210

billion
cubic
metres
is the amount of groundwater extracted in India annually, which is the highest in the world. Groundwater today provides for more than 60 per cent of net irrigated area. As a result, over 60 per cent of districts in the country are facing problems relating to poor quality and shortage of groundwater, says the mid-term appraisal of the 11th Five Year Plan

Source: Planning Commission
 
DEMAND AND USES
Demand for water in India is expected to rise drastically to about 833 billion cubic metres (BCM) in 2025 and 899 BCM in 2050. At present, water demand stands at 712 BCM.
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POPULATION TROUBLES
Water is getting scarce because of growing population
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THE SOLUTIONS
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RAINWATER HARVESTING
India is using only 35 per cent of the rainwater it receives. If rainwater harvesting projects are effectively implemented, 65 per cent of the rainwater which is wasted can be used
 
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REDUCE DAILY WATER USE
New technologies such as dual flush toilets, waterless urinals and efficient shower systems in houses can go a long way in reducing the amount of water wasted in households
 
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BIOREMEDIATION
The process of using plants and microbes in contaminated water bodies to improve water quality should be promoted. There are 130 plant species that can be used for the process
 
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REGULATING INDUSTRIAL CLUSTERS
A robust enviro-legal network to check illegal dumping of effluents and monitoring of industries should be in place for periodic assessment of water pollution
 

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