- Introduction on water stress.
- Discuss India’s water crisis with possible implications.
- Way forward & Conclusion.
According to the Centre for Science & Environment, global warming has the potential to risk India’s water security. India faces serious & persistent water crisis due to growing imbalance of supply & demand, as well as poor water resources management and climate change. India is projected to face severe water stress by 2050.
India is witnessing repeated heat wave conditions, with temperatures touching 40 degree Celsius in early summer in many parts. With scorching temperatures, variable and extreme rain is on the anvil. Both have direct corelation with the water cycle. Therefore, climate change mitigation has to be about water & its effective management.
2021 was a La Nina year, known to bring cooler temperatures globally. However, global warming has offset this cooling effect of La Nina. The rising heat has severe implications for water security –
- Greater rate of evaporation from water bodies.
- Drying up of soil moisture making the land dusty. It will intensify land degradation & dust bowl formation. This will need increased irrigation, leading to more inefficient water management & water loss.
- Heat will cause more water usage – from drinking to fighting forest fires. Already devastating forest fires are witnessed in many parts of the world and in India.
- India has fewer rainy days in a year – it rains for just 100 hours on an average in a year. The number of rainy days will further go down, but extreme rainy days will increase. Extreme rain events have made the cycle of floods followed by droughts even more intense.
India’s total water demand is expected to rise by over 70% by 2025, creating a huge demand-supply gap. So, it is even more imperative that water as well as wastewater are preserved. With increased extreme rains, India needs to think more about flood management & to optimise the floodwaters so they can be stored in underground & overground aquifers.
India needs to plan differently for capturing rainwater – currently, the water structures built under the MGNREGA are designed for normal rainfall; structures will need to be redesigned to capture extreme rain over a small time span. Water management must also include vegetation planning to improve soil’s ability to hold water even in intense & prolonged heat. Reducing loss due to evaporation by constructing underground water wells. This will also recharge groundwater.
Water and its management is the basis of health & wealth. In the age of climate change, we need to know that water agenda is the real make or break of our future.