India’s Water Crisis

Categories: Water Scarcity

India's water crisis is often attributed to lack of government planning, increased corporate privatization, industrial and human waste and government corruption. In addition, water scarcity in India is expected to worsen as the overall population is expected to increase to 1.

6 billion by year 2050. A staggering 344 million practice open defecation. The World Bank estimates that 21 percent of communicable diseases in India are linked to unsafe water and the lack of hygiene practices.

Further, more than 500 children under the age of five die each day from diarrhea in India alone .

About 80 % of irrigation and 90 % of drinking water comes from groundwater sources. It is contributing more than 85 % of the drinking water requirements of rural areas, about 58 % of irrigation requirements and more than 50 % of the urban and industrial water supplies. By 2050, the report predicts, between 4.8 billion and 5.7 billion people will live in areas that are water-scarce for at least one month each year, up from 3.6 billion today, while the number of people at risk of floods will increase to 1.6 billion, from 1.2 billion.

Agricultural Country Water Withdrawals (billion m3) Total Water Withdrawals ( billion m3) Share of Agricultural Water Withdrawal in Total Water Withdrawal (%) Area Equipped For Irrigation (m ha) v India 688 761 90 67 v China 358 554 65 69 v United States 175 486 40 26 v Pakistan 172 184 94 20. Renewable sources are diminishing rapidly. Water is one element which, is declining in the face of human onslaught. India\'s historic billionth baby has not led the government to take concrete measures to control this rapid population growth. Jabalpur is located in the heart of Madhya Pradesh and lies 15 kilometres from river Narmada.

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Its present population is 2 million. Two decades back it was 700,000. Increasing population is making summers seem like a nightmare. Though, in some areas of the city water supply is irregular throughout the year. Water shortage leads to long queues and street squabbles with people\'s patience running out. Once known as the city of lakes, the water bodies have today lost their beauty. Serving daily needs and for recharging groundwater the lakes are dying. Concrete buildings and waste material have taken the place of the shrinking water bodies. Scarcity of water has led to the digging of tubewells in every plot of the newly-constructed colonies.

This has further aggravated the problem with the fall of the watertable. Narmada, rain and groundwater are the three major sources of water for Jabalpur. The water flow in Narmada is because of rains in the upper reaches of Jabalpur. Other than the Narmada the other water supplied is from by two reservoirs. Now, with 70 per cent of the forest cover in Khandari and 30 per cent of forest cover in Pariyat catchment removed the available reservoirs are getting silted up. Unfortunately, there is no official policy to respond to the crisis.

In the drought-prone regions of Maharashtra State, a growing social movement for equitable water distribution is engaging the help of engineers to build technical projects. This movement aims to challenge the state's agro-industrial development model favoring water-intensive sugarcane farming by redistributing water. The case study examines the Baliraja Memorial Dam, located in southwestern Maharashtra. Through the dam, 400 families in the villages of Balawadi and Tandulwadi will receive a share of water for irrigation and domestic needs.

This article explores the Baliraja Dam as an appropriate technology project designed jointly by village farmers, engineers, and social activists. Through this unique alliance, Baliraja was designed to meet the needs of ecological restoration, community empowerment, and democratic technological design. The pioneering success of the Baliraja effort has prompted other communities to pressure the state irrigation bureaucracy to address the ecological and human costs of prolonged drought and water misuse.

Jaipur receives only an average of 600 mm of precipitation per year, mostly in the monsoon months of June- September, we believe that: Jaipur depended on the Ramgarh Dam as its surface water source throughout the 1900s, but this became a non-viable source in the late-1980s/early-1990s, leading to a shift to complete dependence on groundwater & thus, a rapidly depleting aquifer.

Jaipur relies extensively on groundwater and a single surface water source, the Bisalpur Dam, which is located 120 km southwest of Jaipur & is shared with Ajmer and Tonk District villages. Jaipur, since tapping of groundwater is still a landowner’s right. There is a lack of adequate water supply and demand accounting, both in terms of government water supply and private water supply. In addition to water scarcity, degradation in quality of both surface and groundwater sources is of great concern.

Emergency measures were taken regularly through installation of wells at the Amanishah Nala.\nIndustrial processes in and around the city have greatly and negatively affected the quality of surface waters in Jaipur. Decreased water quality causes increased health risks and increased spending on health care.

These conditions also allow for an increased risk of pollution of shallow aquifers Measures such as increasing open areas, creation of artificial recharge zones, educating the public on water issues and conservation, reclamation and reuse of wastewater, rooftop rainwater harvesting, and investment in updating the water distribution and metering system will all help to improve the water supply system and Jaipur as a whole.


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India’s Water Crisis. (2021, Oct 31). Retrieved from

India’s Water Crisis
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