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Science & Technology
Jal Jeevan Mission delivered tap water to more than 1 lakh villages & 71 districts
- GS 2 || Governance & Social Justice || Human Development || Drinking water & Sanitation
Why in the news?
In recent time it has been notice that the water crisis is talk of the town, in last decade it have seen that many state of India has been facing water crisis, major issue is with proper supply of drinking water.
- Mumbai residents do not need to buy reverse osmosis (RO) water purifiers, according to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, because samples of tap water obtained from the city meet Indian drinking water requirements.
- Other metro cities such as Delhi, Kolkata, and Chennai, on the other hand, failed to meet nearly all of the Bureau of Indian Standards’ 11 quality criteria (BIS). The bulk of other state capitals are in a similar state.
Drinking Water Crisis in India:
- India has the world’s second biggest population, with a population three times the size of the United States yet just one-third the physical size.
- Although India has made strides in both the availability and quality of municipal drinking water systems in recent decades, the country’s huge population has expressed concern that the latter is still falling short of international standards.
- The rapid growth of population in India’s urban areas, is making the problem of availability worse. And also, India’s water crisis is often attributed to lack of government planning, increased corporate privatization and contamination due to industrial and human wastes.
- According to an NITI-Aayog report issued last year, 21 Indian cities would reach Day Zero by next year.
- According to available statistics, India still has a water surplus and receives enough yearly rainfall to fulfill the needs of more than one billion people. India requires a maximum of 3,000 billion cubic meters of water each year, according to the Central Water Commission, despite receiving 4,000 billion cubic meters of rain.
Why is it that a country with plenty of water is experiencing a water shortage today?
- Excessive use of groundwater: India is the world’s largest consumer of groundwater. More than half of the country’s overall clean water demand is met by groundwater. Groundwater provides 50 percent of urban water and 85 percent of rural residential water. According to a research published by the ministry of water resources, the dramatic reduction in groundwater volume in the country is due to growing population, rapid urbanization, industry, and insufficient rainfall.
- Uneven Distribution and Availability: According to the NITI Aayog’s previous Composite Water Management Index, 75% of homes do not have access to drinking water on their premises, while 84% of rural households do not have piped water access. Where water is delivered by pipes, it is not dispersed adequately.
- Wetlands and Water bodies are disappearing: To fulfill the demands of a growing population, many cities and villages across the nation have lost their wetlands, water bodies, and even rivers to invasion. Chennai, which is experiencing severe water shortages, had boasted over two dozen water bodies and wetlands, but the majority of them are now inactive. Only nine of them, according to a recent study, might be restored as water bodies.
- Laws aren’t being upgraded as frequently as they used to be: The 1882 Easement Act, which grants every landowner the right to collect and dispose of groundwater and surface water within his or her own boundaries, is still in effect. This legislation regulates a person’s use of water on his or her land, resulting in economic exploitation of water supplies.
- Furthermore, water is included in the Schedule VII Constitution’s state list, which means that only state governments have the authority to enact regulatory legislation.
- The federal government released a Model Bill for state ground water management in 2011.
- However, not all states have enacted legislation that supports the principle that public resources cannot be turned into private property.
- Contaminated drinking water/Tap water: Chlorination is used to cleanse water, however it only kills bacteria and other germs; it does not remove dissolved salts, alkalinity, or harmful metals from water.
- Leaks: Because the pipes that carry the water are old and leaky, leaks are causing polluted water to mingle with drinking water.
- Lack of management: Water is a state topic, which creates a challenge of coordination and accountability between the federal, state, and local governments.
Challenges associated with providing clean drinking water:
- Interstate water conflicts: Water is a topic that is dealt with by the state. As a result, the Center’s involvement in this area is restricted. The states are also looking at the issue of drinking water as a separate issue (not the problem of other states). This causes interstate water conflicts and hinders them from adopting a comprehensive solution.
- Providing high-quality piped water will be difficult. Water demand is greater than supply in the majority of metro cities and metropolitan regions. To make up for the shortfall, municipal governments combine surface and groundwater.
- India’s “slippage” problem: The problem of monsoon slippage is caused by the monsoon’s wide temporal and geographical fluctuation. For example, India receives 75% of its total rainfall during the monsoon season, which lasts four months. As a result, there is a greater possibility that the water supply would dry up or that the built infrastructure will fail, re-creating the problem of drinking water in previously covered regions of projects like Jal Jeevan Mission.
- Reducing the amount of water available per inhabitant in India is also a difficulty. In 2001, the per capita availability was 1816 cubic meters. However, in 2011, it was decreased to 1545 cubic meters. In addition, by 2031, it is anticipated to be reduced to 1367 cubic meters. In this situation, Pipe connections, which would cost 19.02 crore, will increase demand for drinking water while reducing water availability per capita.
Chennai rain water harvesting system- a successful model:
- In many ways, the Chennai experience is a success tale in and of itself.
- The grassroots campaign to promote RWH began in Chennai in 1995, and it evolved into a major movement over the next decade. RWH was declared required for all new buildings in Chennai in 1994, and for both new and old structures in 2002.
- The country’s first Rain Centre, a collaborative effort of people, NGOs, and the government, was launched in Chennai.
- It is because of this collaborative effort that RWH has become so popular, and it is critical for the success of any social or environmental concern. The project’s success in Chennai can be attributed to two factors:
- First, there has been a rise in public awareness of the need for, relevance of, and importance of RWH among diverse segments of society. For the residents of not only Chennai, but the whole state of Tamil Nadu, rainwater harvesting is no longer a foreign concept;
- Second, by the advantages that those residents have received as a result of implementing RWH in their particular properties. The advantages will not appear instantly, but rather over a few years, as has happened in Chennai.
Effects of poor drinking water:
- Negative health consequences: Waterborne illnesses account for about 70% of all ailments in India. As a result, poor water quality is a significant health risk.
- Economic cost: A lack of safe drinking water will reduce tourist traffic.
- The domino effect: The primary cause for the selling of plastic bottled drinking water is the result of bad drinking water. Bottled water, on the other hand, contributes to plastic pollution..
- Wasting resources: RO is costly, and 1 litre of RO or bottled water wastes several litres of water; moreover, RO water lacks critical minerals and salts.
- Social impact: Given the current state of the water crisis, it is less probable that the goal of providing clean drinking water to everyone will be met (Sustainable Development Goal number 6).
What can be done to improve access to drinking water?
- Rainwater Harvesting Systems: Providing clean drinking water needs a few corrections at the ground level. Artificial Recharge Techniques such as Rainwater Harvesting Systems in houses and localities should be mandatory. This will increase the Groundwater level in Indian villages. Government has to encourage local participation in water conservation by steps such as an awareness campaign.
- Local-level water regeneration: The government has to enact a specific plan for water-stressed states and water-stressed areas like the Hiware Bazar model of local-level water regeneration.
- Pricing water: The government can explore the options of pricing water used by well-off sections and agriculture. This fund can be used in the maintenance of the pipes and drains.
- Mandatory compliance: The sources, as well as the quality of water in the country, need to be maintained on a war front basis. The government can ensure mandatory compliance of local bodies to the Bureau of Indian Standards on water quality. This will ensure quality water at the local level.
- Technological solutions: The government has to explore technological solutions in drinking water management. Such as establishing water treatment plants in water storage facilities to remove toxic inorganic pollutants and dissolved solids.
Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM):
The continuing National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) has been reorganized and incorporated under the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) to deliver Functional Home Tap Connection (FHTC) to every rural household, i.e. Har Ghar Nal Se Jal (HGNSJ) by 2024.
The following kinds of works/ schemes are proposed to be taken up under JJM:
- In-village water supply (PWS) infrastructure for tap water connection to every family;
- Development/augmentation of existing drinking water sources;
- Water transfer (multi-village scheme; where quantity & quality issues are there in the local water sources);
- Treatment of water to make it drinkable (when water quality is a problem but quantity is sufficient);
- Retrofitting of finished and continuing piped water delivery projects to offer FHTC and increase service levels;
- Grey water management;
- Capacity building of various stakeholders and support activities to facilitate the implementation.
India cannot supply safe drinking water to its citizens without depleting its natural resources. It will bring India one step closer to ground zero. India, on the other hand, cannot wait till the current population depletes water supplies. As a result, it is past time for the government to take action on water conservation in order to provide safe drinking water for everybody.
Mains oriented question:
Cities in India are running out of water, which is compounded by serious drinking water shortages, prompting concerns about the quality of the discourse and the selection of water governance methods in India. Discuss the causes that contributed to the problem, as well as steps that may be taken to enhance the country’s water administration. (250 words)