Water Scarcity In India Essay Topics

Free sample essay on Water Crisis in India. India has many social problems and frequent water crisis in many States is one of them. Food and drinking water are quite essential for people’s comfortable living. When these two are scarce sometimes people suffer untold miseries.

India suffers from water shortage for cultivation and drinking despite the fact that many big rivers, some of them perennial rivers, flow through some parts of India. In the south there are the Krishna, Godavari, Cauvery, Tamaraparani, Perilya and other rivers. In the north there are the mighty Ganges, Brahmaputra, Indus, Mahanadi and other rivers. Much of the water goes to the sea unused. Though we have much natural resources like water, minerals, abundantly growing crops and so on, we still suffer, because our knowledge of utilising these natural resources to the maximum advantage is inadequate.

The two States that suffer acute water scarcity sometimes are Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The water reservoirs in many towns and cities were meant for a small population. Even the drains for carrying sewage water were planned and built for a small population. With the increasing population the water available is inadequate to meet the needs of the people. Investigation should be done whether more reservoirs could be built to augment the supply of drinking water to the people.

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When summer is quite severe sometimes what was once a large reservoir of water shrinks to a pool. Both human beings and animals suffer for want of water.

If it rains it rains and rains and there is a flood. Houses built of thatch are submerged in the water. The cultivated crops under deep water rot and perish. When there is inadequate yield of crops there is famine. Rice, wheat, raga and sugar cane are scarce. In fact there is scarcity of every type of grain.

There are two extremes in India. The nation goes without water or there is heavy rain resulting in flood.

While the north suffers from flood sometimes, sometimes the south suffers from inadequate water supply. The cultivated fields do not have enough water and the yield of crops is inadequate. People suffer without enough drinking water.

If the northern and the southern rivers can be linked there will be perennial water supply to all the States. First the rivers in the south have to be linked and then the rivers in the north have to be linked. Then both the southern and the northern rivers have to be linked. This is a colossal project. This project involves cores of rupees. Even if the project of linking the rivers is taken up this year it will take several years for the project to be completed. The project may need a huge financial outlay. There may be engineering problems in the linking of rivers as there may be vast level variations between one river and another. It will be a great engineering feat if the rivers in India are linked.

Essay on Water Scarcity in India!

While water is a renewable resource, it is at the same time a finite resource. The total quantity of water available on the globe is the same as it was two thousand years ago.

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It is important to appreciate the fact that only 3 per cent of the world’s water is fresh and roughly one-third of it is inaccessible. The rest is very unevenly distributed and the available supplies are increasingly contaminated with wastes and pollution from industry, agriculture and households.

Over the years, increasing population, growing industrialisation, expanding agriculture and rising standards of living have pushed up the demand for water. Efforts have been made to collect water by building dams and reservoirs and creating ground water structures such as wells. Recycling and desalination of water are other options but cost involved is very high.

However, there is a growing realisation that there are limits to ‘finding more water’ and in the long run, we need to know the amount of water we can reasonably expect to tap and also learn to use it more efficiently.

It is the human nature that we value things only when they are scarce or are in short supply. As such we appreciate the value of water once the rivers, reservoirs, ponds, wells, etc. run dry. Our water resources have now entered an era of scarcity. It is estimated that thirty years from now, approximately one-third of our population will suffer from chronic water shortages.

The increasing demands on fresh water resources by our burgeoning population and diminishing quality of existing water resources because of pollution and the additional requirements of serving our spiralling industrial and agricultural growth have led to a situation where the consumption of water is rapidly increasing and the supply of fresh water remains more or less constant.

It may be maintained that the water available to us is the same as it was before but the population and the consequent demand for water has increased manifold. The consequences of scarcity will be more drastic in arid and semi-arid regions. Water shortage will also be felt in rapidly growing coastal regions and in big cities. Several cities are already, or will be, unable to cope with the demand of providing safe water and sanitation facilities to their inhabitants.

Indicators of water stress and scarcity are generally used to reflect the overall water availability in a country or a region. When the annual per capita of renewable fresh water in a country or a region falls below 1,700 cubic metres, it is held to be situation of water stress. If the availability is below 1,000 cubic metres, the situation is labelled as that of water scarcity.

And when the per capita availability falls below 500 cubic metres, it is said to be a situation of absolute scarcity (Engelman and Roy, 1993). These are also the fundings of a study conducted by the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI). This concept has been propounded by Malin Falkenmark on the premise that 100 litres a day (36.5 cubic metres a year) is roughly the minimum per capita requirement for basic household needs and to maintain good health, roughly 5 to 20 times that amount is needed to satisfy the requirement of agriculture, industry and energy.

At the time of Independence, i.e., in 1,947, the per capita availability of water in India was 6,008 cubic metres a year. It came down to 5,177 cubic metres a year in 1951 and to 1,820 cubic metres a year in 2001. According to midterm appraisal (MTA) of the 10th Plan, per capita availability of water is likely to fall down to 1,340 cubic metres in 2025 and 1,140 cubic metres in 2050.

Figure 16.6 shows the probable trends in per capita water availability for hundred years from 1947 to 2047. The problem of water shortage is further complicated when we look at the areal distribution of water resources with reference to population.

From as high as 18,417 cubic metres in the Brahmaputra valley, per capita water availability comes down to a low of 411 cubic metres in the east-flowing rivers between Pennar and Kanniyakumari. Even within the Ganga basin, the availability varies from 740 cubic metres in the Yamuna to 3,379 cubic metres in the Gandak (Chitale, 1992).

According to 2001 census figures, 77.9 per cent of India’s population had access to safe drinking water. At 90.0 per cent, urban population was better placed than 73.2 per cent of rural population. However, these figures could be misleading and the real picture emerges only when we look at the individual cities.

A survey conducted by Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS) showed 50 lakh households in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Kanpur and Madurai are water deficient (see Table 16.5). World Health Organisation (WHO) specifies that minimum water requirement should be 100-200 litres per day. That is way above the average urban figure, 90 litres.

TABLE 16.5 Number of Water Deficient Households:

CityNumber of water deficient households
Mumbai1735,756
Delhi14,73,114
Kolkata4,36,905
Ahmedabad4,29,199
Hyderabad4,13,881
Kanpur3,29,714
Madurai1,48,533

Table 16.6 shows that several cities particularly the southern cities are most water deficient. Chennai and Bangalore suffer from 53.8 and 39.5 per cent deficiency respectively. Andhra Pradesh has too extremes: deficiency is a moderate 24.2 per cent in Hyderabad, an alarming 91.8 per cent in Vaizag. In the north, Delhi records 29.8 per cent water deficiency and Lucknow, 27.3 per cent.

Table 16.6 Demand, Supply and Deficiency of Water in Selected Cities of India in Million Litres per Day (MLD):

CityDemandSupplyDeficiency (%)
Mumbai4,3003,60043.3
Delhi3,8302,950 >29.8
Kolkata2,2581,56844.0
Chennai3,0001,95053.8
Hyderabad95677024.2 (least deficient)
Indore31818472.8
Bangalore1,20086039.5
Lucknow56044027.3
Jabalpur239144.565.4
Vaizag30515991.8 (most deficient)

Central India is more water-deficient than the north with wide regional variations. For example, Bhopal is 26.4 per cent water-deficient while Indore and Jabalpur record rates of 72.8 and 65.4 per cent respectively. Mumbai in the west, with deficiency rate of 43.3 per cent, is similarly situated to Kolkata which clocks at 44 per cent.

Nearly 40 per cent of water demand in urban India is met by ground water. So ground water tables in most cities are falling at alarming rate of 2-3 metres per year. Another factor is water leakage. Delhi loses at least 30 per cent of its water due to leakages in its 83.0 km long pipeline network. Mumbai loses about 20 per cent of its water due to leakage.

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