Rising Water Crisis


The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted that 2019 might get below normal rains. This will not only increase water scarcity and droughts, but will also affect agricultural output leading to food scarcity. This might create economic problems as India is the largest exporter of rice and a lack of rains will affect its agricultural production and export. More than 40% of people around the world face scarcity of water. As the population increases, the use of water per person also increases, which leads to water scarcity for production of crops and other industrial uses. More than 1.2 billion people globally lack access to clean drinking water, while over 4 billion people have been experiencing severe water scarcity for the last one month. A water crisis is a situation where the available potable, unpolluted water within a region is less than that region’s demand.

Water scarcity is being driven by two phenomena—growing freshwater use and depletion of usable freshwater resources. In India, the other problems include floods, droughts, climate change, pollution of rivers and lakes, urbanisation and over-use of ground water. With industrial development and population boom, our water demand is projected to increase by 20 to 30% by 2050. The United Nations (UN) General Assembly proposed 17 goals for a sustainable future in 2015, one of which aims to improve water conditions by 2030. Its vision is to have ‘water for all by 2030’, which by definition means, ‘providing water for everyone in the world as their basic right’.

According to the World Water Vision report written by the World Water Council, there are three facets one needs to focus on to improve the rising water crisis—water scarcity, mismanagement of water and lack of access to clean and safe water. Water can be effectively managed by avoiding unnecessary wastage. For example, showering uses up to 37 litres of water, while a bucket bath uses only 10 litres of water. Brushing teeth with a running tap can consume up to 5 litres of water, while keeping the tap closed or using a mug can save a lot of water. The 11 cities that are most likely to run out of ground water by 2020 include São Paulo, Brazil; Bengaluru, India; Beijing, China; Cairo, Egypt; Jakarta, Indonesia; Moscow, Russia; Istanbul, Turkey; Mexico City, Mexico; London, UK; Tokyo, Japan; and Miami, USA.

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