India is surrounded by water on three sides, yet it faces an impending water crisis threat. Even though the country houses over 16 per cent of the world's population, it has only four per cent of the total freshwater resources in the world. In 2018, NITI Aayog released a report mentioning have 600 million Indians or at least half of the total Indian population, is under a deep water crisis. Three-fourths of the Indian households lack access to piped, potable water. Therefore, they resort to drinking water resources that project a significant health risk.
Drying Up Indian Rivers
The primary consumer of water in India is neither domestic households nor industries, but agriculture, which consumes over 85 per cent of India's freshwater, India Today reported. In the agricultural sector, only 40 per cent of the farmers have assured irrigation through rivers; the rest all rely on rains and groundwater to fulfil their needs. Wells, ponds and tanks are drying up as groundwater resources come under increasing pressure due to over-reliance and unsustainable consumption. This has escalated the water crisis and placed an even more significant burden on accessing water. The Central Water Commission (CWC) reported three major river basins, namely Krishna, Godavari and Cauvery, were severely distressed. Moreover, the Ken River, which flows over 450 km across two states—has almost dried up.
Initiatives By The Government
One must realize that saving water is not merely the government's responsibility. The government is already trying to do its part to conserve water and revive the freshwater resources in the country. After achieving the mission of declaring India open defecation free in his first term, the Modi government now aims to potable water through taps to the 191 million rural households by 2024, from the existing one out of six homes that have tap water. However, the COVID-led disruption raised eyebrows on the Jal Shakti Ministry's ability to achieve its ambitious targets.
However, one must acknowledge that the water crisis is genuine and not too far from the present. Therefore, taking small initiatives to conserve water, resorting to rainwater harvesting and making a conscious effort to reduce water pollution look like the ways to save clean water for future generations.
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