Water Management

Facts:
  • MoU between India and EU in field of water management.
Under it, exchange of experiences and cooperation will take place between India and EU to strengthen and further develop cooperation in the field of water management.
  • The groundwater is source to around 85 % of drinking water and 65% of water for irrigation
  • Water is a state subject.
 
Background:
Groundwater depletion is among the grave ecological threats that the country faces. It has become serious concern to use groundwater judiciously. The groundwater is source to around 85 % of drinking water and 65% of water for irrigation. However, water being State subject in the seventh schedule of constitution has stalled previous plans to address the problems. Even existing laws give the owners of a piece of land complete right over its groundwater.
 
 
Modern India has a lot to learn from the traditional water management from the past. Explain in what ways this can be done with special focus on water harvesting and disaster management. (200 Words)

In ancient times Indian are known for having various water conservation and management methods. These methods are so convenient that these are suited according to need of any kind of ecosystem.
Various water harvesting methods that can be used are:
  1. Tanks: We can have tanks for an area or in each house which can collect rainwater and which can be used for several purposes. It can also be used to collect water when there is a situation of flood. So will help in mitigating flood impact.
  2. Johads: It is small earthen dams to collect rainwater and can be used to recharge groundwater.
  3. Step wells: These are also knows water temple. Step wells can be used to collect rainwater and it can be used for various purposes during dry seasons. So drought like situation can be mitigated this way.
  4. Kunds: another very efficient method to collect rainwater, which is built underground with cement is used for drinking purposes.
  5. Kuls: It is a channel in the precipitous mountainous region where rainwater can be guided to flow in this channel and can be used for irrigation purposes in downhill areas. It will help in mitigating flood situation also.

Modern water related problem can be solved by traditional methods. These techniques are very simple to use. They just require participation from communities. So government can learn these approaches and MNREGA scheme can be used to involve people to build traditional water reservoirs.
 
“The water crisis is not just the result of two consecutive failed monsoons, it is a direct outcome of the inability of the governments over decades to manage sensibly, sensitively and sustainably India’s water resources.” Discuss. (200 Words)
 
Water Management failures:
  1. In name of water management we focussed more on ambitious water linking projects rather than local solutions like rainwater harvesting, watershed development, earthen dams, aquifers, johod in Rajasthan, etc.
  2. We did not effectively involve local bodies like panchayats in cleaning drives and neither focussed on technology driven solutions.
  3. Polluter Pays Principle is still not invoked rather incentives given for treatment.
  4. Policies were either framed in silos or seemingly in populism/vote banks like sugarcane MSP and electricity subsidy in Maharashtra.
  5. Irrigation coverage via canals remains inadequate and so is the introduction of better irrigation techniques like micro, drip, mulching, etc.
  6. Inadequacy of local bodies in provisioning water, only sporadic success of PPP like in Nagpur, allegations on water mafia and private tankers, little check on river sand extraction, etc. are also some of the contributing factors causing pollution and depleting our right to water.
 
25/04/2016
Example of water crisis: (can be quoted in GS answers/essays on environment)
  • In Latur, where the traditional sources of water have run dry, Section 144 has had to be imposed to prevent into a water riot.
  • Trains carrying water are being despatched to Latur.
 
 
Machine generated alternative text:540/0 of India Faces High to Extremely High Water Stress