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:
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):
|Hyderabad||956||770||24.2 (least deficient)|
|Vaizag||305||159||91.8 (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.
The Scarcity of Water Essay
966 Words4 Pages
The procurability of potable water per capita is scarce and is currently diminishing worldwide. Scientific surveys estimate that the Earth’s surface is relatively seventy-one percent water and twenty-nine percent land. Unfortunately, a substantial amount of the seventy-one percent of water is salty and non-potable. Only about one percent of the available seventy-one percent can only be utilized for human consumption, without requiring initial desalinization. It has been predicted by the United Nations that due to population growth and various other factors that the average person’s water supply will be limited by a third over the next twenty years. Strategists allege that future wars will be waged over water because it is the most crucial…show more content…
Factors that provide to the production of goods and services include entrepreneurship, labor, capital, and land-including water and other natural resources. As a result of the scarcity of water, some cities and water suppliers can take advantage of the situation by afflicting excessive prices for it due to the natural ramification of a shortage in economics. A shortage, which implies that the market price is below equilibrium, is resolved through higher prices. The higher price would promote profit-maximizing suppliers to increase quantity supplied. The higher price would also discourage waste and encourage conservation, thereby reducing quantity demanded. Ultimately, if market forces were able to resolve water scarcity, an equilibrium price and quantity would be reached. However, putting a high price on water could cause it to simply redistribute from the conserving poor to the wasteful wealthy. This will severely limit water away from the places where it is most beneficial to society as a whole. Since market forces are not able to completely resolve the problem, I believe that government and private sector intervention might be required as well.
One solution is to enact aggressive water conservation programs. For example, the local water authority could pay homeowners to rip out their lawn and replace it with desert-friendly landscaping. Doing this would reduce the amount of water required by our lawns by providing an incentive