The NITI Aayog report (2018) says that India’s water demand will exceed water supply by a factor of two by 2030. These call for urgent attention for ensuring water security in the coming years.
Declining water levels –
- According to World Water Development Report 2015 (UNESCO), India is a frontrunner in groundwater extraction. The water table is going down in several areas. The reasons for this decline are multi-fold; overexploitation of shared water resources, mismanagement, and climate change impact, among others.
- Several metropolitan cities are already facing difficulties meeting water demand due to high population density and limited water resources.
What is the government doing?
- For improving access to water, the government has given special focus to implementing “source sustainability measures such as recharge and reuse through grey water management, water conservation, rainwater harvesting”.
- A campaign to “Catch the rain, where it falls, when it falls”, which aims to push stakeholders to create appropriate rainwater harvesting structures, has also been launched.
- Several government schemes, for example, Atal Bhujal Scheme, are currently focusing on aquifer mapping to construct artificial reservoirs and rainwater harvesting structures. These mapping techniques take into account hydrogeology and source water availability. These efforts are expected to reduce groundwater depletion. Rainwater harvesting (RWH) process will help in this regard.
Rainwater harvesting — artificial recharge –
- The rainwater harvesting process incorporates collection and storage of collected rainwater with the help of artificially designed systems. Such artificial recharge structures could be a major intervention to augment the water supply, thereby improving the groundwater resource availability.
- For both urban and rural contexts, the traditional methods along with modern storage options can address the root cause of water security.
- Once installed, RWH becomes a simple low-cost technique that offers multiple benefits. The water storage tank is usually the principal capital investment. The installation of RWH structures is more cost-effective when done at the construction stage of the building.
What should be done?
Efforts that could help attain the target of reducing dependency on groundwater, thereby enhancing water security, include rejuvenation and recharge of natural and constructed water bodies, increased reuse of treated wastewater through local sewage treatment plants and well-designed rainwater harvesting systems across residential and commercial areas. These efforts must be facilitated by the Central and State governments.
There is a need for stringent policy initiatives for long-term and sustainable solutions. An integrated water management plan must be brought up by local bodies and implemented at the local level. This approach will ensure better water security in the country.
Source – The Hindu Business Line
QUESTION – Rainwater harvesting provides a simple and traditional solution for the water scarcity that is dawning upon the country as per several reports. Discuss.