Depletion of water resources in India is both a geo-climatic phenomenon as well as a result of short-sighted government policies. Discuss.

According to World Resources Institute, 54% of Indians face high to extremely high water stress. Further, as per NITI Aayog, 2 lakh people die every year due to a lack of access to clean water.

Depletion of water resources due to the geo-climate phenomenon:

  • Drought and heat stress – As 69% of India is vulnerable to droughts, it has led to the depletion of water resources.
  • Limited rainfall in winters – Only southeast India receives rainfall in winters and the country depends on a few months of rain for an entire year.
  • Climate change – As per the Ministry of earth sciences report, droughts have increased by 1.3% per decade, resulting in greater depletion of water resources.

Result of short-sighted government policies:

  • High subsidies for use of fertilizers and electricity have resulted in a great amount of withdrawal of water by diesel pump sets. More than 90% of groundwater is used by agriculture in India.
  • Lack of water processing and recycling – There is no policy to recycle and harvest water, until recently, resulting in only 30% water recycled and 10% harvested.
  • Increasing water pollution – As per NITI Aayog, 75% of water is contaminated in India due to a lack of policies on the discharge of pollutants in water and lack of enforcement.

Thus, India must start developing localized water solutions like tanks, subsurface dams, and rainwater harvesting to achieve SDG 6.

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