Suggest measures should be taken by the government on immediate basis to deal with the problem of water scarcity.

Civil Services Main Examination

General Studies (Paper - 1) : Model Question & Answers


http://www.iasplanner.com/civilservices/images/Krishna-Water-Disputes.jpgQuestion: Suggest some measures which should be taken by the government at different levels on an immediate basis to deal with the problem of water scarcity. Also discuss the applicability of them in a long term basis.

Water Management: Creating Water Abundance through Conservation and Judicious Use

India's Current Water Crisis Scenario


  • One third of India's districts are affected by severe droughts, affecting some 33 crore people in ten states.

  • Water crisis in India is very clear from the farmer suicides in Karnataka January 2016, acute scarcity in the eight districts of Gujarat and Latur in Maharashtra district, Bundelkhand district across Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, Shimla and Himachal Pradesh.

  • The outbreak of jaundice, high level of Coliform which makes the water unsuitable for drinking closing down of water intensive sectors, disruption in power production disruption in Farakka and the pervasive poverty in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal also tell the same story.

Reason for water crisis in India

  • Water mismanagement

Remedies-Creating water abundance

  • Water management would involve undertaking comprehensive, consistent and constant campaigns to re-establish the relationship between people and water.

  • Awareness generation among communities is the prerequisite for water conservation activities.

Immediate Measures


  • Formation of drought mitigation committees in the villages. These committees should assess the status of structure and undertake repairs and desilting.

  • Elicit commitment to prevent farmer suicide.

  • Arrange for tanker water supply where there is drinking water scarcity.

  • Arrange for water and fodder for livestock in livestock camps.

  • Implementation of the Right to food (RTF).

  • Restore/rehabilitate/create water conservation structures.

  • Building Medbandhis to conserve rainwater.

  • Almost all villages should have a tank, talab, dug well or any structure.

  • New rainwater conservation structure such as ponds should be constructed.

  • Funds allotted for MGNREGA must be directed towards reviving and creating water conservation structures.

Long terms Measures: Artificial groundwater recharge: Traditional water harvesting systems suited to the region, which must be revived at scale.The natural processesreduce contamination of infiltrated river water and using this artificially direct rainwater into underground aquifers through basins, pipes, ditches and wells.It can be practiced in river valleys and sedimentary plains by infiltrating river or lake into shallow sand and gravel layers.

Sectoral Approach


Agriculture

  • Promote agricultural crops which can grow in available water.

  • Adoption micro irrigation

  • Land and water management practices.

  • Laser leveling – technique removes unevenness of soil surface.

  • System of rice intensification

Industry

  • There are five levels – Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum with industries meeting better water standards at each level.

  • Increasing water efficiency

  • Life cycle analysis- Water stewardship as a part of cradle to cradle certification requires actions that only improve the water footprint in industrial processes and supply chain.

  • Supply chain water management

  • Water reuse or recycling, water offsets investments to watersheds are adopted.

  • Adoption of water offset would typically involve planting trees or investing in efficiency measures in far off lands.

New Irrigation Strategies


  • System of rice intensification should be followed in paddy cultivation to save water of about 40-50 percent and to increase the yield by about ¾ tons/Ha.

  • Provide drainage especially in canal/ tank irrigation and reuse the drained water, if it is suitable, for irrigation.

  • Conjunctive use of surface and ground water.

  • Using sprinkler irrigation in canals and tank command areas for all closely spaced crops except rice.

  • Introducing drip irrigation in well irrigated areas for all rows crops – cotton, sugarcane, banana, coconut and vegetables etc.

  • Irrigation based on water/ fertilizer production function cuves.

  • Training farmers and extension officers in water management.

  • Conducting seminars/ workshops in villages to bring awareness among ll farmers for safe water and to increase yield.

  • Demonstration and workshops may be organized in villages and in the farmer’s field to use water judiciously.

  • Extension offices in water management should be created in the block level as in the case of agronomy, plant protections etc.

  • If the rain water is harvested, conserved and managed properly as detailed above, there should not be any water scarcity problem in the country.

Water management measures in Laws


  • In the Constitution of India, water is a state subject and the national government is allowed only to intervene in the case of interstate rivers to the extent that it is declared by the parliament to be a situation in public interest.Entity 17 of the state list, Entry 56 in the Union list and Article 262 of the constitution deal with them.

  • The River Board Act 1956 provides for the establishments of River Boards, for regulation and development of inter-state rivers and river valley.

  • Interstate Water Dispute Act, 1956 which extends to whole India to resolve the water disputes that would arise in the use, control and distribution of an interstate river or river valley.

  • Water Tribunal- It is a type of interference by the central government in case of failure of States to the terms of any agreement under Interstate Water Dispute Act, 1956. Eg: Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal, Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal. The tribunal investigates the matter and gives a final verdict where even Supreme Court and other courts shall not interfere.

  • Panchayati Raj Laws: Section 92 of Panchayati Raj Laws, allows village Panchayat to form a Water Committee to ensure proper water management, equal distribution, tax collection and protection of water resources. Section 110 and 200 give the panchayat the authority to approve the construction of drainage pits and to collect water tax respectively.

Conclusion: The demand of water is increasing due to increasing population, while the water resources are being exploited mercilessly without thinking for the future. It is possible to reverse the prevailing scenario and make India a water rich country by adopting strategies for the rational use of water.