India’s Water Crisis
There is nothing more essential to life on earth than water. From Cape Town in South Africa to Asia’s teeming mega cities, the world is in the midst of a huge water crisis. India is one of the most water stressed countries with just 4% of the global freshwater but 16% of the world’s population. What is worrying is the fact that India is extremely vulnerable to climate change impacts which is adding to our water woes.
- With global warming, Himalayan glaciers are melting fast which is resulting in many perennial streams feeding our rivers to run dry.
- Climate change induced erratic weather patterns are increasing number of dry days in the monsoons.
- Demand for water is huge but our resources are highly mismanaged. We have extracted so much water from the ground without putting anything back that more than 70% of our nation’s groundwater aquifers have dried up.
- As a country, we harvest and recharge less than 10% of the annual rainfall every year letting it flow into the gutters which is a huge reason for India’s water crisis.
- Most of our water sources – rivers, lakes, ponds, groundwater are extremely polluted.
- Indian government has been diluting laws to allow more forests and wetlands which are natural water recharge zones to be diverted for industries, mining, real estate, urbanisation, rail and road projects across the nation. Check out these hashtags on Twitter: #ProtectIndianForests #StopEcocide
- Our agricultural policy is flawed. Government’s minimum support price scheme incentivises production of water-intensive crops such as rice and sugar cane, even in water stressed regions. Electricity subsidies have resulted in farmers using pumps to extract groundwater without worrying about the environmental costs of extraction.
Result of our collective water mismanagement is that more than 600 million Indians face acute water shortage. Niti Aayog (a prominent Government of India think tank) report of 2018 states that 21 cities in India (Delhi & NCR cities, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and others) are racing towards reaching zero groundwater levels affecting access of water for millions of urban Indians. By 2030, India’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply. With global warming and climate change increasing, India’s water crisis will get worse unless each and every Indian learns to respect water and becomes water wise.
What Can We Do To Ensure That Our Taps Do Not Run Dry
Reducing water wastage & consumption, reusing water by giving it extra life, recycling grey water, using treated sewage water, storing rainwater and recharging groundwater at the individual home level, community level, institution level, village level, city level, district level, state level, nationwide level and respecting every drop of water is the key to solving India’s water crisis. Below are links to a few blogs and films on this website which talk about effective, tried and tested solutions that individual homes, residential communities, institutions and office complexes anywhere in India and the world over can adopt to be water rich and avoid the kind of crisis Cape Town in South Africa experienced. Do share widely in your circles.
Water Management Films and Blogs on this Website
The blogs include the films posted here. These films have been made by film makers volunteering for http://www.healingourcities.org
Water Rich Homes: This film and blog presents more than 12 practical, simple and cost effective solutions that individuals and families living in urban or rural India and Asia can easily implement in their homes to prevent day zero conditions when our taps will run dry.
Water Rich Communities: This film and blog presents 15+ practical solutions that different residential communities in Gurgaon city in the water starved National Capital Region in India have successfully implemented to conserve water. These water saving measures can be adopted by any residential condominium, township, office complex or institution anywhere in the world.
RO Water Filters: How do you decide on which water filter to buy for your home or office? What is the health risk of drinking low mineralised water? Have the RO manufacturers in India been misinforming the public? How and why should an existing RO filter be converted into a non RO filter unit? Read this blog to find out what the experts have to say about all this.
Water Aerators: This film and blog shows how putting water aerators can help reduce water use by at least 60 percent per tap. In these water stressed times, this simple and cost effective solution should be implemented in every home, institution and office complex across the globe.
Grey Water Recycling in Homes: Every home generates grey water daily from washing of hands, bathing area in the bathrooms, washing of utensils and clothes. This is relatively clean water and should not be allowed to go into the drain. This video and blog presents the views of eco champion Poornima Savargaonkar who talks about how she has channelised the grey water generated in her house to her green belt and treated it in a very cost effective and natural way before redirecting the water back into the ground. Every urban and rural family having an independent house can contribute towards improving our nation’s rapidly depleting ground water levels by implementing grey water management in this natural way.
Rain Water Harvesting and Ground Water Recharge at the House Level: This film and blog talks about how an independent house in any town or village in India can save lakhs of litres of water during the rainy season every year by a very simple and cost effective way of storing rain water in an underground tank and redirecting the overflow into a ground water recharge pit.
Ground Water Recharge Structures at the Community Level: This video presents the views of a Sustainability Expert on what are the things to keep in mind while designing efficient ground water recharge structures for residential communities and institutions that will allow maximum percolation of rain water into the ground.
Planting Native: These 2 blogs talk about why planting native species of the right ecology is critical in these water stressed times and throw light on rewilding initiatives in the Aravalli landscape in North India and Western Ghats in the South. Topics covered in the blogs are as follows:
- Why is it critical to plant native species of the right ecology?
How invasive species are destroying the native flora of Western Ghats?
- Understanding basics of how to create a native forest.
Native planting efforts in the states of Haryana, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Kerala.
How can forest friends living anywhere in the world contribute towards restoring degraded lands in the Western Ghats?
- How can citizens create biodiversity rich spaces in residential and institutional areas?
Water Management Films from Rural India
Miracle Water Village made by Black Ticket Films narrates the inspirational story of Hiware Bazar, a drought prone village in Maharashtra that reversed its fortunes through its visionary model of water management. If every village in India does this, we will have no farmer deaths and life in rural India will be transformed. Hindi Version: http://youtu.be/CwCX0JKgl7U
Words of Wisdom from the Water Man Of India