Groundwater contamination adds to India's water woes

News this week
A well in Rajasthan. (Source: IWP Flickr photos)
A well in Rajasthan. (Source: IWP Flickr photos)

India's water woes increase due to depleted and contaminated groundwater: Government

Depleting groundwater levels coupled with extreme weather conditions are impacting the agriculture output and may also become a hindrance to the Centre's target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022. As per the government data, in 2017, 40 lakh hectares of agricultural land was affected due to groundwater depletion resulting in a shrinkage of cultivated land. High levels of contamination is also found in groundwater across the country. Discharge of toxic elements from industries and landfills and use of pesticides and fertilisers are being blamed for it. 

Floods take away one lakh lives in last 64 years

As per the data of the ministry of water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation, nearly one lakh people have died in flood-related incidents in the last 64 years. In this duration, public property worth Rs 2,02,474 crore and crops amounting to Rs 1,09,202 crore on 25.6-crore hectare land have been damaged. According to the former chief of the National Disaster Management Authority, Noor Mohammad, no proper management was done for flood control. He says that in order to mitigate the flood disaster, there is a need to identify flood-prone areas.

Kerala's Idukki dam expected to be opened after 26 years

As the water levels in Kerala's Idukki dam, one of the highest arch dams in the continent rose to 2395 feet against the full capacity of 2403 feet, the dam gates are likely to get opened. The state disaster management authority has issued an orange alert that if the water levels go further up, the dam shutters will be opened. A red alert will be issued for Ernakulam, Idukki and Thrissur if the water level goes up further. With continued heavy rains in the state, shutters of Peppara, Aruvikkara and Neyyar dams have already been opened. 

Panel doubts 100 percent open-defecation free claim 

According to the report of the Parliamentary committee on rural development (2017-18), the 100 percent open-defecation free status of villages of 10 statesAndhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttarakhandis just on papers and the actual progress at the ground level is very lethargic. Also, the report pointed out that a village with 100 percent household toilets cannot be declared ODF until all the inhabitants start using them. The report mentions the need for behavioural change in rural populace in order to achieve the real goal of the programme.

Not a single state in the country processes 100 percent municipal garbage

As per the urban affairs ministry, out of the 1.43 lakh metric tonnes of waste generated everyday in Indian cities, only a quarter of it gets processed while the remaining three quarters are dumped in the open. Of the 35 states, only eight have been able to process more than half of the daily garbage and not a single state is able to process 100 percent waste. Moreover, states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand don't process even 10 percent of their municipal garbage while no processing of garbage is done in Arunachal Pradesh and Dadra & Nagar Haveli.

This is a roundup of important news published between July 24 - 31, 2018. Also, read policy matters this week.

 

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