India-UK Water Partnership Forum discuss on water conservation
The India-UK Water Partnership Forum was recently held. The forum discussed on developing water infrastructure in India. The countries linked Memorandum of Understanding between Ganga and British waters.
The forum also discussed Namami Gange Programme, Jal Jeevan Mission and Swachh Bharat Mission. It showcased the investment and business opportunities in the Indian water sector. It also highlighted on how the countries can collaborate in water infrastructure development.
These water partnership forums are essential as India is highly water stressed.
Water Stress in India
Ground Water in India is falling at an average of 0.4 metres nationally. India is the world’s largest user of ground water. Bihar is the worst affected state in India where the water table has fallen several feet.
In India, over 70% of surface irrigation water is being wasted nationally. Due to suboptimal utilisation of water and ill maintained canals, India faces severe soil erosion.
According to Ministry of Earth Sciences, there is significant drop of rainfall in West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Also, there has been increase in variability of monsoons all over the country. The annual rainfall is adequate. However, the natural run off is less.
Why is India water stressed?
- Over-Exploitation is the main reason for India being water stressed. Over 85% of water for irrigation comes from ground water. Ground water provides two-thirds of irrigation requirements.
- Policy issues. The crops that need adequate water should be offered with high Minimum Support Price at the right season (monsoon) predicting the amount of rainfall in the region.
- India lags reliable data. There is no single water database in the country.
The Government of India has launched the following schemes to conserve water in the country
- Jal Kranti Abhiyan
- National Water Mission
- National Rural Drinking Water Programme
- Jal Jeevan Mission
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