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Water Crisis and the Monsoon Factor in India, Discuss the necessary measures.

All over the world water is becoming a scarce item now. Not only water for crops, but also for drinking purposes is becoming a rare commodity. Already we have costly water in bottles. But this water can't be purchased by poor people and the people belonging to the lower middle classes. The problem of shortage of water is hurting not only the villages but also the urban areas, particularly in the April-July season. All the major and minor cities face acute water shortage during the summer season. The water management bodies have increased the tariffs 7 times but they do not release water. The scarcity of water sometimes leads to avoidable bickering and acrimony over the sharing of the municipal water, which is regulated to fixed hours, and is often in short supply vis-a-vis the necessity felt by the residents. The shortage of water sometimes leads to skirmishes between peoples at public water posts in slum areas. According to newspaper report the following was the condition of a North-Indian State (Punjab) in the middle of the rainy season in 2015:

  1. The Pong Dam
  2. The Bhakra Nangal Dam
  3. The Ranjit Sagar Dam

Lack of rain and a sharp rise in demand of power has taken a silent toll. Two of the three main water reservoirs in the region, the Pong Dam and the Ranjit Sagar dam, had less water, thanks to the delayed monsoon and lack of pre-monsoon showers in the region. The only saving grace was the good water level in the massive lake of the Bhakra Dam which served as the workhorse to meet the large part of the irrigation and drinking of the region. According to the fact file published that year;

  1. Water level in the Pong dam was the lowest at 1285 elevation feet, the lowest since 1978.
  2. Level in the Ranjit Sagar dam is just two metres away from hitting the bottom.
  3. Demand for power in the ongoing sowing season has depleted the water reserves in the Bhakra Nangal dam.

If monsoons are in plenty, everyone heaves a sigh of relief, else all struggle. Surprisingly, even after completing 67 years of Independence, in many parts of the country, we depend on monsoon for the purpose of sustaining our life as well as our crops. We have installed tube wells on large scale, besides canal from dams.

However, due to excessive withdrawals of underground water, especially for irrigation has led to great depletion. Some scientists say that if this trend is not changed within two decades a major part of the north-eastern region will turn into a desert. In Punjab farmers get electricity free of cost so, they use groundwater to large extent. This has led to large depletion in groundwater level in Punjab. This also means more dependence on rainwater. If rain is sufficient and it occurs at the right time, not much underground water is needed. There is no doubt that water management is of utmost importance. The dilemma of water management has to be understood in the right perspective. If underground water is used indiscriminately the ultimately it will lead to vast lands becoming arid lands. On the other hand if rainwater is not harnessed properly much of it goes waste down the drain and in to the sea through water channels.

It is a pity that pure drinking water is still not available in many areas of the country, particularly in the rural areas.

Indian monsoon plays an important role here. It is the bringer of harmony in India. As the high Sun-season moves northward during April, India becomes particularly prone to rapid heating because the highlands to the north protect it from any incursions of cold air. By May, the southwest monsoon is well established over Sri Lanka, an island nation on the south-eastern tip of Indian peninsula. Also in May, the dry surface of Tibet absorbs and radiates the heat that is readily transmitted to the air above. Due to which an Anticyclonic cell arises causing a strong easterly flow in the upper troposphere above northern India. Later in June and July is strong and well established. Weather conditions are cloudy, warm and moist all over India. Because crops and water supplies depend largely on monsoon, it is necessary that monsoon should arrive at the right time in India. Otherwise we have to introduce methods to tackle difficult situations without depending on monsoon.

Kaushik Sen