How much water do Indians use comparatively to other countries?
According to an India spend analysis of a recent report by the international World Resource Institute; India receives the most yearly rainfall of the 17 countries, facing the worst level of water stress – when 80 percent of available water is used up annually. All of the other nations on the list are in the arid and semi-arid regions of Africa, West Asia, and South Asia, get almost half of India's annual rainfall, and have limited natural water resources. Even inside India, the Indo-Gangetic plain, which features a system of great and small rivers and lakes, is home to all nine states and union territories that suffer the severe water stress. According to the World Resource Institute, Chandigarh is at the top of the list, followed by Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir. Despite widespread rainfall and a significant number of water sources, India is water-stressed.
"Water stress is caused by overexploitation and mismanagement of water," said Shashi Shekhar, a senior fellow of the World Resource Institute India and a former secretary at the Ministry of Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation. One of the biggest causes of India's water stress, according to Shekhar, is inefficient agriculture, which consumes up to 80% of the country's total water resources. Groundwater extraction, which meets 40% of the country's water needs, is much more expensive than recharge.
WATER SCARCITY IN INDIA
India is a water-rich country, accounting for 4% of global water resources. The rivers have always been at the heart of India's development and culture. Twelve rivers are classified as large rivers, with a catchment area of 253 mha, while 46 rivers are classified as medium rivers, with a catchment area of 24.6 mha. Many river systems and their tributaries are perennial, while others are only seasonal. The Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna system is India's largest river system, accounting for 43 percent of the country's total catchment area. Indus, Sabarmati, Mahi, Narmada, Tapi, Brahmani, Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Pennar, and Cauvery are the other main river systems. Apart from that, there are several more medium river systems, the greatest of which is the Subernarekha (with a catchment area of 1.9 million hectares.
In India, irrigation is still the most water-intensive industry. In 2000, irrigation accounted for 90% of the total withdrawals of 680 BCM. The home and industrial sectors each contributed 5%. Groundwater irrigation, which has grown quickly in recent decades, accounting for a significant portion of water withdrawals in many river basins. More than 60% of the total irrigated land is now irrigated with groundwater. Groundwater, on the other hand, generated only 45 percent of total irrigation withdrawals, although having better project efficiency than surface irrigation. Despite this, some basins are experiencing severe regional water table depletion due to over-abstraction.
In India, which is expected to overtake China as the world's most populated country in less than a decade, groundwater levels have been decreasing at an alarming rate. More than a third of India's population lives in water-stressed areas, and the figure is expected to rise as groundwater levels decline and urbanisation increases. According to a recent assessment by the World Resources Institute, India is one of 17 countries experiencing significant water stress. Bore-wells have been drilled to collect more and more groundwater for water-guzzling crops like rice and sugarcane, causing India's water stress to worsen in recent decades. Surface water, rather than groundwater, should be saved during the monsoon season and used throughout the year.
India has built numerous huge dams in recent decades, but there are still hundreds more dams that have yet to be completed, despite the fact that successive federal governments have spent billions of dollars to complete them. However, because to bureaucratic inertia, corruption, opposition to land acquisition, and a lack of cooperation within the government, several remain unfinished. According to government data released in July 2019, 109 of the 684 districts for which data was available used more groundwater in 2017 than was restored by natural and manmade processes, a measurement known as groundwater "recharge.” Despite of so much of water availability, our country in under Water Stress. We need to take care of our country’s water resources.