Water being exported even as government has not been able to meet its own targets for drinking water supply
India exported 3,850,431 litres of water between 2015-16 and 2020-21 (April-November), the Union Minister of State in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Hardeep Singh Puri, told the Lok Sabha February 3, 2021.
Puri was responding to a question raised by Member of Parliament Feroze Varun Gandhi.
India exported three categories of water in this period: Mineral water (2,378,227 litres), aerated water (602,389 litres) and natural and other water (869,815 litres).
Most of this water in 2019-20, went to China. Beijing imported 63,580 litres of mineral water, 1,000 litres of aerated water and 20,000 litres of natural water.
It imported the highest quantity of mineral and natural water. Other major imports of Indian water were to the Maldives (38,380 litres), United Arab Emirates (35,510 litres), Canada (33,620 litres) Singapore (33,460 litres), United States (31,730 litres), Qatar (25,900 litres) and Saudi Arabia (29,020 litres).
Experts noted that while water was being exported on the one hand, on the other, the government had not been able to meet its own targets for drinking water supply.
All rural households in India are entitled to 55 litres of drinking water per person per day under the Jal Jeevan Mission. The mission, launched August 15, 2019, aims to provide safe and adequate drinking water. It has not been able to meet its target.
“This water, which is exported, is pumped out of the ground. There is a decline in ground water in India and there is a need to sustainably manage it,” Sushmita Sengupta, programme manager, Rural Water-Waste Management programme at Delhi-based non-profit, Centre for Science and Environment, said.
In rural areas, there is a lot of seepage and improper recharge of ground aquifers. The government is not able to provide the 55 litres of drinking water to rural households per person per day under the Jal Jeevan Mission. India is mostly dependent on ground water and surface water is dependent on rains, which are becoming more erratic. We should be sustainably managing our ground water resources rather than exporting water
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.