Just like the summers of past few years, this year too summer brought with it a parcel of agony and misery for the Indian people. The inclination of temperature and declination of rainfalls has created a terrible scarcity of water in various parts of the country. States such as Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and many others declared a drought in 2015 as well as in 2016. Many cities of India including 22 major ones like Kanpur, Meerut, Faridabad, Visakhapatnam, etc. are suffering from acute water crisis where water supply fails to meet almost 30% of the demand. Jamshedpur is the worst-hit city where the gap between demand and supply of water is a yawning 70%.
The crisis of water may be due to a number of reasons, the highlighted one being unequal distribution of rain throughout the country. It is prominent by the fact that when Assam is flooded by rains Maharashtra is craving for few drops of water. Moreover improper use of water i.e. wastage of water among those capable of buying water is an addition to the miserable condition of the poor ones unable to buy water. At the moment when lives of common people are at stake due to scarcity of water, when families in various localities are forced to run their lives using just a single bucket of water every day, many powerful and wealthy families are seen misusing water in many ways. Moreover, according to the govt., recently around 330 million people are affected by drought whereas in the midst of such conditions, private water sellers reap profits. The prices of water are getting doubled and tripled day by day severely affecting the poor and even the middle-class families.
To overcome this critical shortage of water, cooperation of each and every state is required. Sharing of water between states having sufficient water and those suffering water crisis is one way to help each other. Moreover strict actions to stop corruption in water supply preventing the private tankers to earn their own profit are the need of the hour. The government must efficiently conserve water during rainy seasons and supply this water to the drought affected states during dry seasons. This can result in large amount of water supply at a very low expense and hence water can be made available at cheap rates. Also lack of proper irrigation techniques makes it hard for remote areas to grow crops during such dry seasons. Moreover transportation of water to the interior most villages of India is a hard job since accessibility is extremely poor. Hence it should be taken care by the respective state governments that even when water is scarce it has to be made available to the most remote areas too.
Another method that can be employed to avoid drought is "artificial rain" production by "cloud-seeding". This method is used by China to create 55 billion tons of artificial rain. Thus by this process enough of rain can be provided in states which are prone to water scarcity thereby avoiding drought. Though the technique is an advanced one but Indian govt. needs to pull up and make it possible in India too.
Now since we have discussed some ways and means to handle water scarcity, we must not forget that no matter what steps the government takes we shouldn't fail to perform our role properly. Economic use of water is the first and foremost measure that we should adopt. Recycling and reusing waste water can save tons of water. The state government can ask people to conserve water during rainy seasons and surrender the water to the government which can then be recycled and provided to cities facing water scarcity in summers. Industries using large volume of water should be given a notice so as to check their water utility as soon as the summer starts especially those in drought prone areas. Reports state that 3228 farmers committed suicide in 2015 due to failure of crops resulting from poor rains, which is highest since 2001. It is high time that India needs to be aware of proper water management so as to avoid droughts from taking thousands of lives every year. And not only the government but we, the people of India must also take this responsibility on our shoulders and help the government in whatever ways possible.
- Paramita Mazumder