When the Indus Valley Civilisation had gained its zenith, it mysteriously lost its brilliance and disappeared suddenly. Many archaeologists believe that it was due to a catastrophic water scarcity caused by drastic climate change or shifting rivers. History seems to be repeating itself when coming to Inia.
Six hundred million people, or nearly half of India’s population, face extreme water stress. Three-fourths of rural households in India do not have potable water, piped, and rely on sources with severe health risks. The world’s largest extractor of groundwater in India, accounting for 25 per cent of the total. That 70 per cent of our sources are contaminated, and our significant rivers are dying because of pollution. Its conclusion: ‘India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history.’
What is India facing now?
We must all work hand-in-hand to save ourselves from this scarcity. But what can we do? Firstly, we need to understand both the availability and the patterns of our consumption. India has 18 per cent of the world’s population but has only 4 per cent of the global water resources. So, the water balance is severely adverse.
Difficulties of women: In India, fetching water has been perceived as a women’s job for centuries, especially in rural areas. According to a National Commission for Women report, a rural woman in Rajasthan walks over 2.5 kilometres to reach a water source. India has been continuously working towards improving access to water. By the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) guidelines released in 2019, India promises tap water connections to families, thus providing the women in the country a happy life.
If it gets implemented to every corner, girls and women will not have to go through the tiresome job of fetching water. JJM focuses on involving women in leading the scheme’s activities, especially at the village level.
Bad sewage treatment
Our cities also employ centuries-old town-planning techniques of laying sewage pipes to carry solid waste to a standard treatment plant on the outskirts. Can a more localized treatment plant be found and the treated water recycled for industrial use or parks in the vicinity?
Delhi is working on a project to treat its sewage water so that it fits for industrial use. More such initiatives need to be taken up and a total rethink on how we plan our water supply and wastewater disposal in cities.
There is one major complication to water crisis handling. The Constitution of India states that water is under the control of state governments. Hence, the central government is unable to legislate its own accord.
New legislation mandating these changes should be drafted and implemented by state governments in India to conserve water.
Finding innovative solutions amidst all this crisis is our priority
Yet, amid all this water crisis, the momentum to find innovative solutions out of the gloom has taken up speed, as we have discovered while researching this particular issue.
- Drinking-Water: Take drinking water, for example. After providing toilets to every household and making India open defecation-free in his first term, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the (JJM) or Jal Jeevan Mission at the start of his second term. The ambitious scheme plans to provide potable water via taps to the 191 million rural houses by 2024.
- Water supply to dry region: While keeping environmental considerations in mind, the interlinking of rivers may be the solution to supplying water to dry areas, with the added advantage of harnessing water wasted in floods.
- AMI: With advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) systems, a module could take water consumption readings hourly to ensure the pressure is at a safe level. These improvements can reduce NRW and, ultimately, reduce the amount of water that needs to be pumped to meet demand. This would also reduce the amount of energy required to pump the water and the number of carbon emissions produced, providing other tangential benefits.
Without these efforts, the onus to solve the problem will continue to be on the consumer alone, ignoring the much more significant impact that faulty public distribution systems have on India’s seemingly perennial water shortages.
Source From : DownToEarth