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PM Man ki Baat focused on India’s water crisis: A problem that needs permanent solutions!

By GovernanceToday
In Cover Story
July 28, 2019
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In order to deal with the problem of water in India, we must first understand the basic reason for the current water crisis. There is no shortage of rain or rain in the current water crisis monsoon, as the media of India is claiming. Indeed, the current water crisis is standing in front of us because of the neglect of government, promoting false habits and misuse of water resources of the country. We also have to understand that due to climate change, our country can face a more major water crisis in the coming decades. According to the World Bank report, only 2 percent increase in the average temperature of the earth before the world’s industrialization will result in a lot of disruption in demand and supply of water. This can be a major threat to India’s security. However, in recent decades, the demand for water in every region is increasing. Whether it is farming, factory or home use. Today 90 percent of freshwater is extracted in our country for irrigation purposes. That is why, if we have to seriously work on water management in our country, then first we have to look at the management of the water used in agriculture. The world’s largest geothermal water is extracted for irrigation worldwide. Countries like China and America are behind us. (See Table 1). From this table, it is clear that China (6.9 million hectares of irrigable land), where there is more land than India (6.7 million hectares of irrigable land) for irrigation, there is less tapping of groundwater for cultivation. That is, we waste a lot of water and used it unnecessarily. But this is not going to last long.

By 2030, 40 percent of the country’s population will not get drinking water. And due to the water crisis by 2050, the country’s GDP will be destroyed by 6 percent. The Government has announced an ambitious plan. Under which, by the year 2024, there has been a goal of supplying pipes to all rural households in the country. Although it is a friendly target, it is not clear how the government intends to achieve this very difficult goal in the current situation.

 Just one year after the release of this report, the government has announced an ambitious plan to provide clean drinking water to all rural households by 2024. However, these goals are worth appreciating. But, the government has not clarified how it will achieve this goal.

In many cities of India like Chennai, the severe shortage of water has attracted the attention of people once again towards the water crisis in our country. However, knowledgeable, environmentalist and voluntary organizations were speaking out loud about the water crisis coming to India for quite some time. However, no one gave any warning to his warning until the water of the big cities of the country had dried up. The fact is that the organization’s policy commission of the government had issued a report warning the water crisis in June last year, which was named “Composite Water Management Index (CWMI), a National Tool for Water Measurement, Management, and Improvement. “In this report, the Policy Commission had acknowledged that India is struggling with the most severe water crisis in its history. And about 60 million people in the country (this population is equal to the total population of Latin America and the Caribbean islands) that is, 45 percent of the population is facing a severe water shortage. It was further warned in this report that by 2020, in 21 important cities of the country, groundwater (which is more or less the source of water in all cities of India) will come to an end.

In the last several years, India has seen many changes in the source of water for irrigation. In irrigated land, the share of the irrigation areas with the canal is continuously decreasing. In today’s date, the share of land which has been irrigated with underground water has increased even more than half of the total land area. This misuse of groundwater resources in the north-western areas of the country is the biggest cause of water crisis in the country. Besides, in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, sowing crops such as paddy and sugarcane are sown in large numbers for irrigation. The most important cereal rice to eat in our country is rice. Growing one kg of rice takes 3500 liters of water.

Major crops in the country – wheat, rice, and sugarcane cultivation contain plenty of water. Most rice exports from our country. Every one kg of rice produces 3500 liters of water. Punjab is the third-largest producer of rice in the state. Punjab is completely dependent on groundwater for rice cultivation. However, Punjab’s performance in the field of productivity is very good. But, in terms of a better use of water, it is far behind from the states of the northeast. Punjab uses two to three times more water than Bihar and West Bengal for the production of one kg of rice. Electricity in Punjab is inexpensive and the government also manages the good policies of buying farmers’ crops. In this case, rice cultivation is very beneficial for the farmers of Punjab. At the same time, farmers of Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, and Tripura do not get such facilities. Unfortunately, our country with water shortage is a big exporter of rice. This means that we are actually exporting our precious millions of liters of water to other countries in the shape of rice. This story is of sugarcane crop, which demands a lot of water. Farmers of Maharashtra cultivate sugarcane on a large scale. And use groundwater for its irrigation. Because they know their sugarcane will buy sugar mills of the state. At the same time, where Bihar is the most conducive environment for sugarcane cultivation, only 4 percent of the total cane production is produced. That is why state governments should encourage the cultivation of low-water crops such as pulses, jowar-millet, and oilseeds. Especially in those areas where the level of the groundwater level is constantly falling. Rice cultivation should be in the same areas where water is available in plenty. There is no proper use of water in agriculture except in the wrong election of crops for cultivation. The method of irrigation of crops by farming is very common in India. In this way, irrigation water is wasted.

The most extracted land for cultivation Country (Courtesy World Bank 2018)

Country Used for irrigation (billion m3) Total water drainage (billion m3) Water used in cultivation (%) Irrigation ground (m ha)
India 688 761 90 67
China 358 554 65 69
USA 175 486 40 26
Pakistan 172 184 94 20
Indonesia 93 113 82 7

Therefore, if we want to stop the coming of the day of Judgment in our country i.e. That day, when there is a lack of food and water in the country, then there is a dire need to apply the water conservation step in our country. Firstly, in the northwestern and central India with heavy water shortage, the demand for more irrigation crops like rice and sugarcane should be stopped. Farmers should cultivate other crops, for this, they should be encouraged in a variety of ways. So that they grow crops like jowar-millet, which seek less irrigation and which also do not affect climate change. Apart from this, methods like drip irrigation should be encouraged for irrigation, in which the water is sprayed on crops, and the fields are filled with water. Drip irrigation should be promoted rapidly with government support. Third, it may be that under the ground, irrigation, new ways of sowing and new farming practices like precision farming need to be encouraged. This will reduce the use of water in the field.

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