Rajasthan becomes one of the hottest place of the world in June. - Seeker's Thoughts

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Monday, 24 June 2019

Rajasthan becomes one of the hottest place of the world in June.


It is so hot in India that thousands of people are fleeing their homes. The record-breaking drought and rising temperature up to 50 Degree Celsius in Rajasthan made it one among the hottest places for June in the world. 
54% of India's total area faces high extreme water stress, and more than 100 million people live in poor water quality areas.  According to the UN World Water Development Report, 2018, water scarcity in India will Intensify by 2050. 




How does the rising temperature effect human lives?

The rise in temperature is not just the rise in the warmth, it brings catastrophic events, floods, and droughts with it. The rise in temperature indirectly impacts the economy, human resource, and everything, therefore, the rise in temperature or global warming should not be avoided at any cost. Even though there are various problems associated with the rise in temperature but some of them are -

1. It has a devastating effect on the crops
The heat will have a devastating effect on the crop such as Maize, Sweet Lime, and groundnuts. Livestock has been dying from hunger and thirst. 

2. Rising temperature changes weathering pattern
Climate change has impacted on the weathering pattern. 

3. Increase in water scarcity depletes water reservoir. 
Depleting water reservoir force people to migrate and municipalities to cut water supplies. 

Groundwater resources face greater pressure as India typically witnesses water scarcity during summer months, but the situation this year is particularly grim in western and southern states which received less than normal rainfall in the 2018 monsoon season.

4. Ravaged Crops, killed Livestock 
Due to lesser rainfalls, the situation of drought worsens the living conditions for humans and other living species. The drought has ravaged crops, killed livestock, emptied reservoirs and hit city dwellers and supplies to some industries. 

Along with Gujarat, Karnataka, and Maharashtra now Andhra Pradesh and Telangana down south and Madhya Pradesh in central India, the drought will haunt the economy as well.  
In total, key reservoirs in western India were at 11% of their overall storage capacity compared to 15% year and ago and a ten-year average of 19%.



Why does India face water crisis every year?

There are several major issues and challenges India has been facing since so many years.
1.    Climate Change
Recurring droughts and frequent floods increased vulnerability due to climate change. India has been facing high demand and supply of water due to the rising population, increasing water demand and falling capita availability.

1.    Ignorance of the population about natural resources
Moreover, the Indian population is so ignorant and irresponsible that wastage of water and overexploitation of every natural resource is considered as normal.

The water table in India declining every year, Indiscriminate extraction of groundwater; inefficient irrigation practices; rapid urbanization are major causes has led to water wastage and consequent stress on water wastage and consequent stress on water resources.


2.    Poor water quality
Another major reason is contaminated water - sewage and wastewater drainage into water bodies, the release of chemicals and effluents into rivers, streams and other surfaces of water bodies.
According to the NITI Aayog report, Water Management Index published in June 2018, stated that more than 600 million in India face high to the extreme water crisis in the country.
And about three-fourths of the households in the country do not have drinking water on their premises.
With nearly 70% of water being contaminated, India is placed 120th amongst 122 countries in the water quality index.

3.    Poor storage, planning, and Infrastructure
Poor storage infrastructure allows India to store only 6% of rainwater, compared to 250% stored by developed nations. The problem of urban water supply is due to poor and leaky distribution networks leading to large amounts of unaccounted water.


How does water shortage impact on health?

As primary stakeholders in water resource management, women are the most affected by the poor water management system.

Shortage of water is a major obstacle to public health and development. The world bank estimates that 21% of communicable diseases in India are linked to unsafe water and the lack of hygiene practices.


Drought can be mitigated?

The answer is indeed – a yes! India geographically has various rivers and rain. If utilized in an appropriate manner- the problem and risks can be mitigated. In Rainy season- India faces floods, and if that water can be preserved and utilized, there are hopes for lesser water crises.
There is a need for proper management and a comprehensive plan that not only covers water availability but its judicious use and re-uses along with an overhaul of the agriculture system.
Some of the solutions can be adopted-
1- Adoption of micro-irrigation techniques by farmers. However, such systems will need to be subsidized to be made competitive for a majority of farmers who are small and marginal farmers.
2- Seechwal model can be implemented especially in acute water deficit areas. This model is currently being extended along the banks of the Ganga.
3- Wastewater recycling facilities in urban and industrial centers to allow for in-drinking uses.
4- Stringent application of water harvesting measures not only at the individual level but at community and village level too.
5- Agriculture practices should focus on more crop, per drop. Government support through Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), soil health card scheme, etc. must be extended to all gram panchayats.
6- Agro climate basis for crop selection should be promoted. this can be done by adjusting MSP by the government.

What state governments have done?
Tankers supply water only once in a week has been used as a solution. The rest of the week, people have to carry water from a borewell where hundreds of people queue from early morning from, a city with a population of around 500,000.
Maharashtra is using 6,209 lorries to supply water to 15,425 villages and hamlets, four times the fleet it sent out in 2018.

As government supplies are not enough, people are buying water from private tanker supplier, and the price is rising with demand.


In the southern city of Chennai, where many well-known IT companies are based, the process of a water tanker has nearly doubled in two months to Rs 4,000 media reported.
The storage had been exacerbated by private vendors digging deep into the water table.
Indians know how the annual June-September monsoon rain will also bring down temperatures that have shot up above 45 degrees Celsius in many parts of the country.
But there are fears it could deliver lower rainfall than normal, according to private forecaster sky met.
 Typically, the monsoons hit Kerala's southern coast on June 1, but this year it could be delayed until June 6, the state-run India Meteorological Department has warned.

How India can manage its water resource?

Usage of efficient irrigation methods, implementation of an urban water policy to harvest rainwater in Indian cities and regulate groundwater usage, increasing the water recycling capacity are the urgent steps that India should undertake going forward.

Agriculture uses up to 80 percent of all water resources in the country, the Aayog’s report said, making it critical to rationalize water use in this sector.

Drinking water accounts for only 4 percent of the water consumption in India.

India has the potential to bring nearly half of its net cultivated area — 140 million hectares — under micro-irrigation. But so far, only 7.73 million hectares (mha) — drip irrigation covers 3.37 mha and sprinkler irrigation covers 4.36 mha  as against the estimated potential of 69.5 mha — has been covered under micro-irrigation, 

Research shows that sprinkler irrigation can use 30-40 percent less water, while drip can use about 40-60 percent less water compared to flood irrigation methods,
Performance around groundwater augmentation can significantly improve with the strengthening of groundwater regulations and strict implementation on the ground.
 Steps such as improvement of monitoring network and continuous monitoring of groundwater level and groundwater quality, strict implementation of rainwater harvesting and continuous operation and maintenance of the same will also help states manage their groundwater better.

As of June 2018, the Central Ground Water Board — a central authority to monitor and manage water groundwater resources of the country.

India also needs a “National Urban Water Policy which will define amongst other things what is a water smart city and provide guidelines: to harvest rainwater to its full potential, recharge the groundwater and regulate groundwater usage”,

Instead of spending thousands of crores on cleaning rivers, the government should propose a river law that prevents industries and people from contaminating the water of the rivers.

Instead of cleaning water entering the rivers, the Sewage Treatment Plants “should be used to clean our waste and then reuse and recycle that water for non-drinking water needs as Currently, 63 percent of sewage wastewater goes untreated in India.

World Bank helped India to manage its complex water resources
Four generations of world bank projects have worked with India to test various reform options and pioneered new models of service delivery.
Village level government are now being empowered to choose, construct and operate their own water supply system with government water institution playing the role of facilitator.
Since 2000, 3.4$ billion in world bank support has helped 36 million people in 40,000 villages gain better access to drinking water.

A new World Bank-supported project will soon introduce water conservation practices and help equip communities 78 districts in seven Indian states to manage groundwater.

India has among the world’s largest areas under non-irrigated (rainfed) agriculture, leaving farmers dependent on fickle monsoon rains to cultivate a single crop. In many poor rainfed parts of the country, a series of World Bank supported watershed projects have used remote sensing images, soil profiles, and hydrological information to help communities build check dams, farm ponds and other water retention structures to make water available for many more months a year.  

In the remote western region of West Bengal – one of the poorest parts of the state - another World Bank-supported project is using the latest remote sensing technologies and mobilizing communities to build small, scientifically-placed irrigation structures. With water now available during the dry winter months too, farmers have been able to reap the second crop of vegetables and diversify into more profitable horticulture, giving a much-needed boost to family incomes.

Cleaning the Ganga
Only one-third of sewage from the hundreds of towns and cities along the Ganga is treated before it flows into the river, making India’s most iconic river a highly polluted one.  

The World Bank’s National Ganga River Basin Project is helping build sewer networks and sewage treatment plants in several of the towns and cities along the river.  The project’s investments in Prayagraj (Allahabad) are now complete. Soon, no untreated wastewater will flow into the Ganga at this critical stretch of the river.

Enhancing Dam Safety in India

Given its highly seasonal pattern of rainfall, India’s 5,000+ large dams provide essential water storage for the country. However, many dams are aging (605 dams are more than 50 years old and another 3,000 + are over 25 years) risking the lives of ever
increasing numbers of people downstream.

A World Bank-supported project is helping rehabilitate and modernize over 220 large dams in Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and Tamil Nadu. It is also helping reform institutions and strengthening regulations to make these dams both safe and financially sustainable.

A Conclusive Note

India is one of the countries that have a long experience in managing water scarcity. It has a wealth of both modern and indigenous knowledge for adapting to drought and water shortage.
What’s probably missing is the effective implementation of a strategy that would allow the existing knowledge and experience to be up-scaled and generalized in all drought-prone areas.

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