The rapid decline of water resources in India is not just due to geographical factor, rather there are political and economic factors too. Discuss along with its implications.

India’s per capita water availability is below 1400 cubic meter and gone below 1100 cubic meter in some areas.

Factors responsible:

  1. Economic factors –
    • Huge water in irrigation since less awareness of conservation and suitability of crops in an area.
    • Due to commercialization of agriculture, water usage increased. E.g. Sugarcane production.
    • Rapid urbanization for economic gains taking toll on water.
    • Industrial uses and lack of water treatment.
  2. Geographical factors –
    • Seasonal river system in central and southern part of the country.
    • Less rainfall and non-availability of groundwater in some areas due to terrain.
    • Monsoonal rains, which are unpredictable.
    • Diversion of water at potential places for hydroelectricity.
    • Global warming Increasing variability of rainfall.
  3. Political factors –
    • Use of farmers as vote bank leading to immediate benefits disbursal.
    • Lack of reforms in agriculture.
    • Subsidies on power consumption. E.g. Punjab.
    • Water policy and comprehensive efforts lacking.
    • Corruption in conservation projects and lacklustre implementation.

Implications:

  • Lower agricultural productivity.
  • Land degradation and salinity.
  • Water scarcity and unsafe water consumption.
  • Huge conflicts due to water. E.g. Krishna river water dispute.
  • Diseases due to unsafe water.

Formation of Jal Shakti ministry is a right step. Many more such steps and policies are required to direct government efforts to visible solutions on ground.

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