UN World Water Development Report out

News this week
UN report suggests better management of water resources to ensure equity of water. (Image source: IWP Flickr photos) UN report suggests better management of water resources to ensure equity of water. (Image source: IWP Flickr photos)

UN releases the World Water Development Report 2019

During the 40th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), and in conjunction to the World Water Day, the United Nations has launched the World Water Development Report titled Leaving no one behind. The report demonstrates how improvements in water resources management and access to water supply and sanitation services are essential to addressing various social and economic inequities so that ‘no one is left behind’ when it comes to enjoying the multiple benefits and opportunities that water provides. The report took note of the international human rights law that obliges states to work towards achieving universal access to water and sanitation for all, without discrimination, while prioritising those most in need. 

India uses largest amount of groundwater in the world: Report

To mark World Water Day on March 22, WaterAid, a non-profit organisation, has released a report titled Beneath the Surface: The State of the World's Water 2019. As per the report,  India accounted for almost one-fourth of the total groundwater extracted globally, more than that of China and the US combined. Moreover, India has used the largest amount of groundwater, 24 percent of the global total. The country's rate of groundwater depletion has increased by 23 percent between 2000 and 2010. The report also points out that wheat and rice are the two most important and highest water-guzzling crops that India produced and that there is a need to replace these crops with others that match with ecology and the amount of water available in the area. 

Despite Namami Gange, water quality of Ganga has worsened

According to the analysis of the Sankat Mochan Foundation (SMF), a Varanasi-based NGO, it has been revealed that coliform bacteria and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) have increased significantly in the Ganga river in the last three years. The data collected by SMF at Tulsi Ghat shows that the faecal coliform count rose from 4.5 lakh - 5.2 crore in January 2016 to 3.8 crore - 14.4 crore in February 2019. Similarly, the BOD level has risen from 46.8-54 mg/l to 66-78 mg/l during this period. However, a slight improvement was seen in tapping discharge of sewage into the Ganga river during this period. 

Tamil Nadu to face a thirsty summer, worse than 2017

As per the data by the State Ground and Surface Water Resources Data Centre, water levels in 19 of the 32 districts in the state are in the red category. Moreover, groundwater levels in Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Vellore have dropped by an average of one metre from January. Although the water levels were not recorded for Chennai, the decreasing water levels in neighbouring districts directly affects Chennai’s drinking water sources and people have to rely on private water tankers for drinking water. According to officials, though cyclone Gaja brought moderate rainfall to the southern districts, groundwater levels went up only marginally due to lack of water retaining structures. 

Buffer zones of 10 water bodies in Bengaluru in danger

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report of the proposed elevated corridor project in Bengaluru has revealed that the project alignment will cut through buffer zones of at least 10 lakes and rajakaluve in the city. The water bodies under threat include Varthur Lake, Agara Lake, Ulsoor Lake, Hebbal Lake and KR Puram Lake, among others. Moroeover, the corridor alignment will pass as close as one-30 m from boundaries of some of the lakes and rajakaluve. However, as per the Karnataka Road Development Corporation (KRDCL), the project implementing agency, most of the project alignment is on existing roads and there is little threat to the water bodies. 

This is a roundup of important news published between March 13 - 20, 2019. Also read policy matters this week. 

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