Water scarcity in India is an ongoing water crisis that affects nearly 600 million people each year in addition to affecting the huge rural and urban population. The water scarcity in India affects extensively the ecosystem and agriculture. India has only 4% of the world’s fresh water resources despite a population of over 1.3 billion people. Agriculture alone is responsible for 80% of the country’s water usage. Several large cities of India have experienced water shortages in recent years, the Chennai was the most affected city due to water shortage in 2019 and affected nearly 9 million people and resulted in the closure of several hotels, restaurants and businesses. According to a report by the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), at least 21 major Indian cities, including the capital New Delhi will completely run out of groundwater by 2020. The report also noted that approximately 200,000 people die in India each year due to the lack of access to safe drinking water. In June 2019, 65% of all reservoirs in India reported below-normal water levels, and 12% were completely dry. Limited accessibility to water is a threat to the people’s health. In June 2016, the count of health problems was observed in Latur, with multiple people showing symptoms of fever, infection, dehydration, vomiting, and kidney ailments. Water scarcity also threatens the lives of wild animals across India. Water is essential to the popular occupation of agriculture in India. Much of the local economy and farming regions nearly collapsed as the citizens were left with no choice but to use the polluted water. This water scarcity reduced job opportunities in rural areas, which pushed citizens to move in the urban areas in search of jobs and put a pressure on large cities for the more demand of water.
Due to the lack of a long-term water management plan, many of the country’s rivers either run dry like Kaveri river crisis or have been polluted. Although one of the most important river in India, Ganga is also the one that is most severely polluted. The pollution mostly results from untreated sewage from densely populated cities, garbage, industrial waste as well as due to religious ceremonies through the drainage. This is affecting the marine animals and depleting the water resources used for domestic and industrial purpose and leading to water shortages. This eventually leads citizens to rely on the polluted water and leads to the health problem due to lack of safe drinking water and related infrastructure required for purifying the water. From 2007 to 2017, the continued exploitation of groundwater caused the groundwater level in India to decrease by 61 percent, according to the Central Ground Water Board as India is world’s biggest groundwater user, extracting nearly 251 bcm (billion cubic metre). According to the Central Water Commission, even though climate change has resulted in a reduction in rainfall and thereby the water supply, the country still receives enough rainfall to meet the needs of over 1 billion people. However, India only catches only 8 percent of its annual rainfall due to poor rainwater harvesting. India has also been lacking in the treatment of wastewater for reuse. Approximately 80 percent of domestic wastewater is drained out as waste and ends up flowing into other water bodies which lead to salt water sources such as the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. Leakages in pipes is also observed in Indian cities due to poor infrastructure resulting in loss of water and leading to water shortage and there is need to control this leakage in order to save the water. The is need for better water resource management solutions to be adopted in India in order to get out of the water scarcity problem as shown below,
1) Retrofit Water Conservation:
Retrofitting involves the replacement of existing plumbing equipment with equipment that uses less water. Retrofit programs are permanent, one-time conservation measures that can be implemented with little or no additional cost over their lifetimes. In a regular tap, water gushes out and most of it just passes our hands or bounces off our plates. In the end, we have only used the water that touched our skin. Imagine billions of gallons of fresh water running straight down the drain every day. The Altered: Nozzle a Dual Flow that is designed for everyday efficiency and water conservation. That means saving water without wasting time or losing functionality. Making it possible to give us 98% less without loss. Full functionality with the spray Mode. If we need more, will get it, just turn the handle and the spray mode will fill our glass instantly and still saving 85% water as compared to the regular taps. This conservation techniques will make a huge difference in saving the water in Urban as well as rural areas.
2) Rainwater Harvesting:
Now a days there is need to adopt the rainwater harvesting system in Indian cities in order to collect each drop of rainwater that falls from the sky and stored it for future use rather than allowing it to run off in to drains. There are two method of rainwater harvesting either storing it into tanks or allowing it to percolate in ground in order to increase the groundwater levels. Urban local bodies and planners need to include this system in Development Control Regulations and make regulations compulsory to Development/Redevelopment/Part Development in town/cities to install rainwater harvesting system in order to collect and percolate rainwater and used it in future during the water scarcity. Government of India has launched new Jal Shakti Abhiyan in 2019, a water conservation campaign requesting state governments to complete water conservation measures for large scale rain water harvesting. Atal Bhujal Yojana was launched in 2019, is an initiative to improve groundwater management launched by GOI under Jal Jeevan Mission for the seven states where groundwater resources were depleting.
3) Water Reuse/Recycle:
Water Reuse/recycle or Water reclamation is nothing but recycling wastewater that involves Greywater system and blackwater system. Greywater is easier to treat and recycle than blackwater. Blackwater contains bacteria that can cause disease. That’s why communities build wastewater treatment plants and enforce laws against the release of raw sewage into the environment. Sewage Treatment plant system are used to recycle blackwater. In recent years, there has been growing interest in wastewater reuse as a major component of water resource management. The provisions for Water reuse/recycle should be included in Development Control Regulations by Urban Local Bodies and planners and made mandatory to Development/Redevelopment/Part Development in town/cities to install the system in order to reuse every drop we waste for future use.
4) Leakage Control:
The Municipal Corporations/Councils/Gram Panchayats need to revive and renew leakages that take place in water supply pipes which causes unaccounted water supply and loss of water. The Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban transformation was launched in 2015 with a focus to establish the robust sewage networks and water supply for urban transformation by taking urban revival projects like leakage controls, housing connections, drainage etc. Under this scheme the leakages can be repaired and control through Public Private Partnerships so that water can saved.
5) Water Meters:
Water Metering at user level is to measure each user’s consumption periodically in order to charge for the service. The metering can have an influence on domestic water use, industrial water use with reductions of up to 25% in areas that previously had no metering. The main reason to use water metres is that citizen will use water carefully without wasting it as they will have to pay for the water they use. The Municipal Corporations/Councils/Gram Panchayats should mandate it to fix water meters for households, industries and for agriculture purpose so that unnecessarily wastage of water can be controlled and the water scarcity can be controlled.
6) Trash Trapping Nets:
The drainage nets or trash trap should be placed to reduce the discharge of plastic waste from drainage systems. The nets are designed to prevent pollutants and solid waste, carried by stormwater from the local road network, from flowing into the natural reserves. The trash traps should place on the outlets of two drainage pipes, located between residential and natural areas. This kind of waste management was proven to be extremely cost-effective in Kwinana, Australia. Traps are relatively easy to install, and when they get full – they can be picked up with a crane. The collected waste can transport into a sorting facility, where the green waste will be converted into mulch, and recyclable/non-recyclable materials will get separated and the plastics recycled. Installing drainage nets will save the rivers from being polluted from the waste and the citizens can rely on the natural resources for using the water for drinking purpose.
Figure. Tap Strategy
Adopting this tap strategy like Retrofit water conservation, Rainwater harvesting, Water reuse/recycle, water metres, leakage control and drainage nets would definitely help to conserve water and save the rivers from being polluted. This would help to fill the gap between existing demand and supply and also cater the future requirement this is how we can achieve water resource management by using the resources effectively and efficiently. The Municipal Corporations/Councils/Gram Panchayats and planners need to focus on providing Water treatment plants in order to provide safe and clean drinking water free from germs for maintaining a good health of the citizens. This strategy would help India to achieve the sustainable development goal of access to water supply and safe drinking water.
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