Water Scarcity & Atal Bhujal Yojana
India accounts for 16 percent of the world’s population while it has just 4 percent of the world’s water resources. With the rise in population, the demand for water is likely to increase manifold. The Central Water Commission estimates that the per capita water availability will decrease from 1434 cubic meter to 1219 cubic meter from 2025 to 2050. A water stressed condition happens with the per capita availability is less than 1700 cubic meter, while water scarcity occurs when the level falls below 1000 cubic meter.
Some of the water scarce basins include Krisha, Cauvery, Mahi, east and west flowing rivers of Saurashtra and Kutch.
According to the Central Ground Water Board there has been a decline in the groundwater level in 61% of wells. The states where around 100 levels were monitored, wells of Karnataka had the highest depletion, followed by Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab.
To address this issue, the Atal Bhujal Yojna has been launched, which focuses to address the rate of decline of groundwater levels and water consumption. The scheme will currently be implemented across seven states which include Gujarat, Karnataka, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, UP and Rajasthan for a period of five years from 2020-21 to 2024-25. The scheme on meeting its objectives in the implemented areas will be extended to other parts of the country.
Meeting objectives of the scheme
The scheme seeks to strengthen the institutional framework to bring behavioural change for management of groundwater resources. It seeks to focus on community led plans for water security. The scheme is funded by the World Bank and was approved by its board in 2018. Of the Rs 6000 crore estimated for the scheme, half will come from the World Bank while the other from the Central Government.
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