Water scarcity challenges climate and development goals
The unprecedented floods, droughts, and water-related crises that have occurred in recent years are not unexpected, but rather the result of decades of mismanagement of water by humans, according to the Global Commission on the Economics of Water report.
The report states that a sustainable and equitable future for water can be achieved, but it will require changes in water-related economics and governance.
Globally, India ranked 13th in facing water scarcity in 2019, and since then, this rating has only increased.
Climate change, along with increasing constraints on effectively implementing regulations and rising water demand in industries, agriculture, thermal power generation, and urban centers, has made India one of the most water-stressed countries.
Water supply in India
The available water supply in India is between 1100-1197 billion cubic meters (BCM), which is gradually decreasing due to increasing pollution.
In contrast, the demand for water is expected to increase to about 900-1400 BCM by 2050, from 550-710 BCM in 2010. More than 222 million Indians are facing a severe shortage of water in urban areas.
(Water stress means that the rate at which clean water is being used is rapidly decreasing, while the demand for water is increasing rapidly.)
The Urgency of Action to Address water crisis
The Global Commission on the Economy of Water has today released a report titled ‘Turning the Tide: A Call to Collective Action,’ which warns the world about the danger.
This report highlights the growing global water crisis and discusses the actions that need to be taken collectively. Its failure highlights the failure of climate action and all sustainable development goals of the United Nations.
The water crisis is linked to the damage caused by global warming and biodiversity, which are dangerously reinforcing each other. Human activities are changing rainfall patterns, which are the source of all clean water, causing changes in water supply worldwide.
Water Crisis in India: Causes and Impacts
‘Every perspective on climate change is incomplete without water. ‘ This is stated by Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Vice-Chair of the Commission.
‘For the first time in human history, we cannot rely on sources of clean water that return to the surface of the earth in any form by the condensed atmospheric water cycle. We are changing the entire global hydrological cycle.’
They take water as an example. Approximately 7% of the water cycle is included in each 1°C of global warming. Extreme weather events exacerbate this and accelerate it.
In 2019, India was ranked 13th globally in terms of water scarcity, and since then, this rating has only increased.
In addition to climate change, the ineffective implementation of laws and regulations is exacerbating the water crisis in the country. Increasing water use in industry, agriculture, power generation, and urban centres contributes to India’s water shortage, making it one of the countries with the highest water stress.
India’s available water supply ranges from 1,100 to 1,197 billion cubic meters (BCM). In contrast, water demand increased from 550-710 BCM in 2010 to nearly 1,500 BCM by 2050.
Water stress in India: A Growing Crisis
A recent study by Central India, which usually considers Ganga and Narmada rivers as water-rich, shows the increasing water stress.
The study reveals that 74% of the landscape experiences water stress for four or more months each year, and urban centers experience it for most of the year.
Additionally, the water stress has affected the level and population, making the situation even more challenging, and the Clean Ganga Mission is an example of this.
In India, there is nothing new about water scarcity. Every summer, news of water shortages and increasing prices in cities and even sending water tankers to villages for water supply is common.
Until India has stronger measures to implement its pollution and wastewater regulations and conserve water consumption in agriculture and industries, it will remain limited in its quest for development and progress.
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