Getting all Indian tap water may be desirable. But what’s really needed is safe drinking water

Source – The Indian Express

Relevance – Clean drinking water is a basic human necessity. It must be ensured by resolving all the challenges.

Synopsis – Clean and safe drinking water situation in India and possible solutions to improve water stressed situation.

About Jal Jeevan Mission [National Rural Drinking Water Mission]

  • Announced on August 15, 2019.
  • Aim
    • To supply 55 litres of water per person per day to every rural household through Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) by 2024.
    • The objective is also part of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The actual goal, however, should be to provide clean and safe drinking water, which can be obtained through taps, wells, or other sources.

  • In Kerala– people get safe drinking water through wells.
  • In Meghalaya – People get safe drinking water through streams.

Is India facing a water-stressed situation?

  • Yes, India is facing a water emergency, it has 16% of the world population, but only 4% of freshwater resources.
  • Water availability in the country was about 5,000 cubic metres per capita per year at the time of independence. It was greater than what was necessary. India has failed to generate such additional availability over time.
    • The global norm for a water-stress situation is 1700 cubic meters of water available per person.
    • In India, The Central Water Commission estimates 1,486 cubic metres for 2021, while the World Bank estimates 1,100 cubic metres, both of which are below the world average.

Reasons behind the water-stressed situation in India-

  • Population explosion
  • Inefficient collection of water and its inefficient use (such as in agriculture).

Possible solutions to overcome water stress situation-

  • Need to sort inter-state issues and required well define water rights (contrast surface water rights with groundwater rights).
  • Water conservation is absolutely necessary to reduce extreme pressure from groundwater and to supply water for consumption.
  • Rework irrigation and cropping patterns – there is a need to employ agricultural practices such as planting crops that require less water, setting up better irrigation systems, and developing farm-based water conservation structures.
  • Water can be correctly priced, environmental regulations can be revamped, local capacity can be developed, and water user groups can be established.
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