See More on Facebook

News

India needs to fix water crisis on priority

Over 600 million Indians are facing an acute shortage of water even as 200,000 die every year.


Written by

Updated: June 18, 2018

The world’s largest consumer of groundwater resources – India – is staring at the worst-ever long-term water crisis in its history with millions of lives under threat.

Over 600 million Indians are facing an acute shortage of water, even as 200,000 die every year, according to a report by the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, a premier policy think tank of the government of India.

The report on Composite Water Management Index presented at the NITI Aayog meet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week, has warned that the water crisis will worsen by 2030 with the demand for water being doubled.

The scarcity will also impact the economy with around 6 percent loss to the GDP.

Millions of Indians rely on the monsoon rain every year to replenish water sources even as the unpredictable nature of rain – droughts or floods – leaves them vulnerable year-after- year.

The NITI Aayog report ranks Gujarat, Modi’s home state, at top in managing its water resources in the 2016-17 followed by Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. The worst hit states are Jharkhand, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar – in India’s north.

The report recommends a greater cooperation between the Centre and states to redress the crisis.

“There is an opportunity to improve Centre-state and inter-state cooperation across the broader water ecosystem. Water management is often currently viewed as a zero-sum game by states due to limited frameworks for inter-state and national management.

“This has resulted in seven major disputes regarding the country’s rivers, involving 11 states, as well as limited policy coordination on issues like agricultural incentives, pump electricity pricing etc,” the report states.

Apart from the 11 Indian states that are locked in disputes over river water-sharing, India is also caught up in long-standing disputes with its neighbours – China, Pakistan and Bangladesh – over the sharing of water from rivers that cross national boundaries.

The study warned of conflict and other related threats, including food security risks, unless actions are taken to restore water bodies. Scores of people have already died in violent protests over the Cauvery river water dispute between southern Indian states Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

“Critical groundwater resources, which account for 40 percent of our water supply, are being depleted at unsustainable rates,” the report pointed out.

Last month, the World Resources Institute (WRI), too, raised similar concerns about shrinking water reservoirs in India – which is the world’s largest consumer of groundwater resources. It blamed the rapid increase in population, urbanisation and industrialisation as the prime culprits for depleting water resources. And the pollution of rivers has compounded the problem.

Tianyi Luo, senior manager, Water Risks & Data Analytics, Global Water Program at World Resources Institute said that WRI’s analysis said India could reduce its water consumption intensity by more than 25 per cent just by achieving its renewable energy targets by 2022.

“If the ’40/60′ renewable energy development target proposed by the Government of India were successfully implemented, the water consumption intensity of India’s power sector (hydro excluded) would decrease by as much as 25%. We came up those estimates by conducting scenario analysis using CEA’s future power projections,” Luo was quoted as saying by Business Standard.

The institute recommended to India’s Ministry of Power to make it mandatory for power plants to start monitoring and disclosing water withdrawal and discharge data, leveraging its existing daily reporting system.

The widening gap between demand for water and its supply is estimated to reach a high of about 50 per cent by 2030 and plugging this will need an additional investment of about US$291 billion, according to another report (ASSOCHAM-PwC joint study).

“This will mean that the additional funding required only to plug the demand-supply gap in 2030 is higher than the Government of India’s 2016-17 budget, that is, Rs 20 trillion,” Business Standard reported.

As against the requirement of 140 litres per capita per day, urban India receives only 105 litres of water on a per capita basis.

According to Qrius, the Asian Development Bank has also forecasted that by 2030 India will have a water deficit of 50 percent.

The average Indian had access to 5,200 cubic metres a year of water in 1951, shortly after independence when the population was 350 million. By 2010, that had fallen to 1,600 cubic metres, a level regarded as ‘water-stressed’ by international organisations. Today, it is at about 1,400 cubic metres, and analysts say it is likely to fall below the 1,000 cubic metre ‘water scarcity’ limit in the next two to three decades.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Lamat R Hasan
About the Author: Lamat is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

News

Modi’s party unveils manifesto with something for everyone

BJP’s key pledges include housing for all by 2022 and the doubling of farmers’ incomes. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) yesterday unveiled a manifesto it said was inspired by the spirit of nationalism, in a bid to woo different segments of society just days before voters go to the polls. Populist pledges included doubling the income of farmers by 2022, social security in the form of pensions for small farmers and traders, and tax cuts for the middle class. The BJP also pledged full commitment to national security and a zero tolerance policy on terrorism. On Thursday, India kicks off a


By The Straits Times
April 11, 2019

News

Cloud Seeding: Why make it rain?

The South Korean government carried out its first artificial rain experiment of the year in late January. The trial was conducted by the Korea Meteorological Administration and the Ministry of Environment over the Yellow Sea. The results of this attempt were underwhelming, producing little more than a weak mist. Although the experiment has been reported as a “failure” the purpose of these operations isn’t necessarily to produce rain every time, but rather to acquire data, fine-tune the process and find out if artificial rain can even be reliably stimulated. The KMA carried out 12 experiments in 2018 and has 14 more trials planned for 2019. The data gathered by these trials will be used alongside information obtained from the 54 South Korean artificial rain experiments that h


By Quinn Libson
March 1, 2019

News

Southeast Asia rejects the world’s plastic waste

China’s ban on imports of plastic waste, the “National Sword Campaign” which went into effect in January of 2018, upended the global recycling industry. China has received as much as 106 million metric tons of plastics for processing since the United Nations first began gathering data on the phenomenon in 1992. That’s as much as 45-55 percent of the world’s plastic that made its way through China’s recycling pipeline. With that pipeline closed off, developed countries around the globe


By Quinn Libson
February 25, 2019

News

Southeast Asian elections will be defined by young voters

More than half of the population of Southeast Asia is under the age of 30. Therefore, it stands to reason that this segment of the population will have an outsized influence in coming political contests. Candidates across the region have their eyes turned toward capturing young votes, and that mission is having an affect on their platforms, and the way they campaign. Indonesia In Indonesia, Millennials make up nearly half of the electorate, and as such, candidates are working hard to woo young people. But, according to research it’s a tricky voter segment to pin down—and one that has traditionally been less politically engaged.


By Quinn Libson
February 18, 2019

News

Basic Income in India has been tried before

Is Rahul Gandhi’s basic income a ploy, history holds on a lesson. Speaking to a rally of farmers in Chhattisgarh on Monday, opposition candidate Rahul Gandhi announced that if his party is voted into power in the country’s upcoming national elections then it will introduce a Universal Basic Income of sorts. The “minimum income guarantee” would go out to every “poor person” in India—meaning those that fall within a minimum threshold level of income—and could potentially replace other government welfare systems: subsidies on food, fuel, etc. By the international standard set out by the World Bank, nearly 22 percent of the Indian population falls below the poverty line.


By Quinn Libson
January 31, 2019

News

India’s cyber legislation is part of a worrying trend

International technology firms face sweeping new regulations in India that have the potential to create major shifts in the country’s cyber landscape. The new pieces of legislation were proposed as 2018 came to a close and require technology companies like Facebook and Google to store user data locally, and would also require these companies to police content and remove material the government of India deems unlawful.  Such content would include messages that threaten the “sovereignty and integrity of India.” The rules requires these companies to take action on such messages within a 24 hour period. Such regulations that require companies to monitor content isn’t unique to India. Vietnam has recently passed similar laws, with similar potential consequences. New rules also mandate that companies reveal the origin of particular messages when that information is requested. If that section of t


By Quinn Libson
January 17, 2019