Conservation - Reducing Water Usage
The Yamuna was considered a nurturing and life-enhancing goddess in the past. Legend has it that bathing in the sacred waters of the Yamuna, the sister of Yama, the god of death, frees one from the ordeal of death. The 1376-km river is a tributary of the Ganga and originates in the Yamunotri glacier in the lower Himalayas.
India has the highest national freshwater demand globally and 91 percent of our freshwater is used in the agriculture sector. Cereals account for over 50 percent of the dietary water footprint in India and represent a potential opportunity for reducing water use in Indian agriculture.
India is on the brink of a major water crisis. With drought looming over the southern and western parts of the country, the existing water resources are in peril. Rivers are getting more polluted, their catchments, water-holding and water-harvesting mechanisms are deteriorating and groundwater levels are depleting at an alarming rate.
India, the second largest population in the world, is facing a water crisis with over 600 million people facing acute water shortage, as per a report by Niti Aayog, the government think-tank. India’s water crisis is expected to worsen, threatening the country’s food security as over 80 percent of our water is used in agriculture.
CWC data shows water storage in major river basins depleting
The Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH) cover 3500 kms across eight countries namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.
At 42 years, Bhagwat Ghagare seems young. But he is old enough to have seen his village prosper and decline many times. Farming had traditionally been small and distress migration rampant at Kumbharwadi in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra.
Gulam Mustafa owns around five acres of land at Digalhati Moynaguri village in Coochbehar district of West Bengal. The 34-year-old has switched to “smart farming” to minimise labour cost and water use.
In India, women often travel long distances to fetch water. This in turn affects school attendance for young girls, and has a domino effect on other development indicators. Women and girls are an important stakeholder to be considered in the design of interventions and programmes to ensure access to safe water for all.
India is undergoing a major transition with changes in rainfall patterns leading to increased frequency of droughts, floods, heat waves amidst fear of a major water crisis in the years to come. Why are these threats increasing?