Life Without Water. Scarcity of Water is putting Life in peril. “SAVE WATER TO STAY ALIVE”
India receives about 4000 billion cubic meter of precipitation, only about 33% of which can be utilized with the current technology and infrastructure development. With increasing demands from urbanization and the demographic pressures the per capita availability of water which has decreased by about 20% in the last two decades is expected to decrease further by another 20% by 2050, making India a water scarce country. Global warming and climate change impacts are further expected to influence this scarcity. Annual rainfall has been decreasing. India is the largest user of ground water in the world, 89% of which is used in agriculture and 11% in the domestic and industrial sectors. This has resulted in almost 22% of the assessed blocks as being classified as critical or over exploited. Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi lead with an extraction of more than 100% of the recharge.
While the per capita drinking water consumption is limited to 2 to 4 liters per day, the bench mark consumption is being suggested at 135 Ipcd. The MoEF&CC, in case of housing projects, bench marks the same at 85 lpcd based on reuse and recycle of treated waste waters. For rural areas the per capita water supply is bench marked at 55 liters per capita per day. Interestingly the per capita daily water foot print is estimated to be 1.24 million lpcd considering water use in other items of daily human needs.
Water quality issues in India, need serious attention. India ranks 120 among 122 countries in terms of water quality index and 133 out of 180 nations in terms of water availability. Only a small part of the almost 40 million liters of waste water entering rivers and other water bodies every day ( CPCB estimates 61,948 MLD) gets treated properly and 70% of the water is considered to be unfit for consumption. Despite perceived to be sacred and pure, the rivers serve as a dumping ground for all types of wastes. Every year more than 100000 Indians die from diarrheal illnesses, the health costs amounting to about 6 to 8 billion dollars per year. Poor water quality reduces productivity, impacts the health of the poor more than the rich and in this way increases absenteeism, reduces productivity and the earnings of the poor more than the rich and reduces attendance in schools. Water borne diseases have been reported to be accountable for expenditures of almost 600 million U.S. dollars a year. Fluoride and Arsenic are major geogenic water quality concerns in India.
Scarcity of water has caused many wetlands to dry up. Life is in peril. Wetland biota is dying. This can happen to all of us. “SAVE WATER TO STAY ALIVE”.
Acknowledgements- Dr. Yashpal Singh, Mrs. Neena Singh, Mr. Rajesh Bedi, Manoj Kumar Yadav