Groundwater situation in India
Groundwater situation in India.
Groundwater is a major source of clean water available to any country. Besides drinking, it is the most important source of water for irrigation and industrial sector in both, rural and urban India. Until recently, it was considered the most reliable and dependable source of clean water even though its availability depends on rainfall and recharging.
India Groundwater Situation.
Of every 4 liter of groundwater extracted in the world, 1 liter is extracted in India, making it the largest consumer of the groundwater resource across the world. It has nearly 30 million wells, both old and new from which roughly 250 cubic km water is withdrawn. This is equivalent to almost 200 years of water requirement for the 2nd most populous city of the world, Delhi. The situation has deteriorated to an alarming situation. Out of data captured for 4000 wells, 54 percent has dropped over the past seven years, with 16 percent declining by more than 1 meter (3.2 feet) per year. Farmers’ over reliance on groundwater, coupled with ease of getting the bore wells with subsidized energy supply and no laws to limit the use the excessive water has created the vicious circle.
North-western India again stands out as highly vulnerable. Of the 550 wells studied in the region, 58 percent have declining groundwater levels in last 10 years.
Causes of groundwater depletion
An overgrowing economy putting a stress on water supply. The situation has worsened due to mismanagement of resources. One may also lead to believe that due to climate change the challenges have accelerated. However, one thing can be stated that this issue is man made and cannot be considered natural, supported by the fact that India does not fall into the dry climate zone and the rivers are sufficient in the country. Groundwater levels have depleted due to extreme extraction of water. The number of wells have been drilled to an alarming level, which are used for irrigation, industries and changing lifestyles. The domestic need of fresh water has also been increased over the years, and that has added to the worsening of the situation. Basically the poor management of resources, unplanned laws, corruption, interstate conflicts and improper balance of the economy are the major reasons of the issue.
Vote bank politics is not allowing the resolution to get executed. In order to change the situation first of all, our perception regarding the same needs to be brought to realistic levels and we must realize that we are standing at a point of no return. Further, we need to use efficient water irrigation practices and remove the non sustainable crop pattern in the respective geographies. After all, how could you imagine the basmati rice be grown in the region where natural rain fall pattern do not sustain it. Rainwater harvesting needs to be promoted in big way so that ground water recharging takes place.
It is now critical for the government to set up stricter laws in the management of the water and must focus on reusing and recycling to minimize wastage. Plans have to be set-up for encouraging rainwater harvesting and waste water management for addressing this issue.