Water Crisis: An alarming episode of life

photo by : Jyotimoy Kalita

WhatsApp Image 2022-04-12 at 8.07.10 PM

Dr. Jagadindra Raychoudhury

The present scenario of water scarcity is very grim across the globe. It is nothing but due to tremendous augment of the human population which makes crisis of water amongst the entire communities of the living organism. No doubt, scientists as well as environmentalists believe that not only water but total climate is changing because of global warming, global dimming, deforestation, shrinkage of wet land etc. As a result, the problem of water crisis is very sensitive and in a good number of states of India like Chennai, Gujarat, etc. are under tremendous shortage of even drinking water. In fact, many factors are involved with this issue which mainly includes poor management of resources, lack of government attention and manmade waste. 18% of world’s population which resides in India only has access to 4% of useable water sources and 163 million Indian lacking accesses to safe drinking water. The National Institution of Transporting India (NITI Ayog) government of India has released report, “Composite water Management Index” in June 2018 and listed Delhi and other 21 cities in India which would run out ground water by 2020.

            According to U.N.report more than 5 billion people could suffer water shortage by 2050 due to climate change, increased demand and polluted supplies. In continuation of this report again it is emphasized that by 2050, only 4.8 billion to 57 billion people will live in area that are water scarce for at least one month each year, up from 3.6 billion today, while the number of people at risks of flood will increase to 1.6 billion, from 1.2 billion. It is worth mentioning that in 2010, the United Nations general Assembly adopted a resolution recognizing, “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right” and in 2015 the human right to sanitation was explicitly recognized as a distinct right.

            Water scarcity can mean scarcity in availability due to physical shortage or scarcity in ocean due to failure of institution to ensure a regular supply or due to lack of adequate infra- structure. It affects every continent, water use has been growing globally at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century and an increase number of regions are reaching the limit at which water services can be sustainability delivered, especially in arid region. No doubt, it is a global crisis yet individual countries or regions need to urgently tackle the critical problem presented by water stress.

            India is facing great stress with fresh water. It is due to lack of strict state regulations on ground water developed has caused strain on the amount of fresh water available. It is to be noted that the other causes include lack of government interference and combined industrial waste deposited in to major rivers. In India, especially in Delhi, it needs 1100 million gallons daily whereas it supplies only about 900 million gallons. States like Bengaluru and Hyderabad the crisis of water is mainly due to rapid development and industrial boom, increasing population and depleting ground water level.

            Recently, news came that Chennai and Gujarat states are reeling under acute shortage of drinking water. No doubt, each state government is under process to cope up with this drought like situation and as a result crisis is more evident in ground water because its level has dropped down. After an overwhelming victory consecutively the second time for the BJP, Prime Minister was also seen very much concerned about the conservation of water and raised the issue on his first radio programme called Man Ki Baat. He said, “We together should resolve to save every drop of water and I believe that water is God’s Prasad to us.”

In Assam, city Guwahati is also reeling acute shortage of drinking water. Long queues can be seen near water supply pipes as people make out with just a bucket of water or two to last 24 hours for the entire family. Sometimes the supply fails to provide water for several days. Also, the treated water gets oozing out through openings of pipe but the concerned authorities do not repair immediately. At present Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) have three water supply treatment plants, one each at Panbazar, Satpukhuri and Kamakhya. GMC supplies water to public, mainly in the western and central part of the city, which covers around 30% of the total population. In the other part, the Jal Board supplies door to door water through its pipe lines and it covers R.G.Barua Road, Rupnagar, Jatia, Kahilipara, Sarumataria, Rukmininagar and Hengrabari area of the city. As supply of water is not adequate, the residents need to buy drinking water from private sources.

            Besides the three water supply plants, Government of Assam had taken up major water supply project funded by Government of India and Japan but nobody, GMDA knows when this project will be completed.

            It is the right time to raise our voices for conservation of water through rain water harvesting, constructing farm ponds through which rain water can be collected and the same can be utilized in agriculture especially in dry lands. Recycling of waste water can also be reused in various household purposes.

            The Canadian Government has developed a start up in the form of a mobile game called ‘Get water’. This game’s primary goal is to raise awareness of water crisis, by educating children as well as adults.

            A team of researchers from Canada’s Mc Gill University and Utrecht University has suggested six strategies to counter water stress that currently affects a third world’s population.

            Strategy has been categorized under two heads:-

            Self measures:-

  1. Productivity of agricultural water can be improved by using better cultivators and nutrient applicants. This can help to reduce the fraction of people living in areas facing water stress by 2% by 2050.
  2. Irrigation efficiency can be improved by switching from flood irrigation or drips. However, this measure can result in soil salivation, warn the study.
  3. Domestic and industrial water use can be reduced by cutting leakage in distribution and by improving water recycling facilities.
  4. Keeping world population below 8.5 billion by 2050 through tax incentives and family planning can reduce the demand for water. But current trends indicate that this measure could be difficult to implement.

Heard Measures:

  1. Increasing storage in reservoirs by enlarging the capacity of existing reservoirs, by making new reservoirs and by reducing sedimentation. This strategy could require an additional 600 cubic km of additional capacity and could have “negative ecological and social impacts”.
  2. Increasing the capacity or numbers of desalination plants can help in countering the problem in coastal areas. A 50 fold increase is needed to have an impact. This would require significant investments and will have energy costs. Also, waste water discharged should be disposed off safely.

It is to be noted that by any means we have to conserve water for our future generation and for this it needs awareness amidst all sections of the people. Priority should be given in reusing rain water, waste water recycling and control of population etc. to mitigate the crisis of water.


Dr. Jagadindra Raychoudhury. E.mail : jagadindrar705@gmail.com ph.no. 8812011012