ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Parched Present, Parched Future?

Faced with a worsening water crisis, the state needs to exercise prudence in water management.

 

The rains have arrived, albeit late, in many parts of India to provide a much-needed respite from the heatwaves thatkilled hundreds and the accompanying water scarcity that had accentuated the vulnerability and crisis situation. In cities like Chennai and Ranchi, water stress led to violent clashes, distress, and desperation, as the lakes and reservoirs dried up and people had to fight and fend for water for their everyday needs. However, water scarcity is the truth not only for these cities, but also for large parts of the country which have been reeling under a drought-like situation.

The delay in monsoon or poor rainfall is not the only reason. The effect of drought has been felt more intensely also because it is becoming difficult to scrape for the smallest amounts of water after digging even deeper. Women in the settlement of Barde-Chi-Wadi in Maharashtra’s Nashik district risk their lives to descend 60 feet into a well to collect potable water for their families. India is a country that is guzzling its groundwater at a rate unmatched by any other. Groundwater here fails to be treated as a public good. While most of the country is “living beyond its means” in terms of its water exploitation, according to a study of the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, even eastern India, which is otherwise considered as “water-affluent,” is staring at a future with “groundwater drought.” ­Water scarcity, thus, certainly cannot be treated as a standalone instance or problem. It is a process in which the water stress has accumulated in the absence of steps to prevent it.

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Updated On : 15th Jul, 2019
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