The IndIan ConCreTe Journal
scarcity”- they will lack the nancial and institutional
capacity required to increase their water supplies by25 percent (see Figure 2).
Pressure on water resourcesis particularly acute in arid regions that supportagricultural production or large populations—regionswhere water use is high relative to water availability.The Middle East, Central Asia, North Africa, South Asia,China, Australia, the western United States, and Mexicoare especially prone to water shortages (see Figure 2).Global per capita water availability decreased from13,000 m
in 1970 to 6,800 m
in 2004. An optimisticcalculation shows that assuming current trends, only4,800 m
will be available in 2025.
When per capita watersupply is less than 1,700 m
per year, an area may beconsidered as
In many parts of the World,water supply is actually less than 1,000 m
per capitawhich causes serious problems for food productionand economic development. Today, 2.3 billion peoplelive in water-stressed areas.
If current trends continue,water stress will affect 3.5 billion—about 48 percent ofthe world’s projected population in 2025.
Though India has about 16% of the world population,it has only 4% of average annual runoff in the rivers.
In almost all parts of India, water deciencies show an
increasing trend and the surpluses show a decreasingtrend. With the present population of just above1000 million, the average per capita water availabilitycomes to about 1170 m
/person/year (this average does
not reect the large disparities from region to region
in different parts of the country).
Water availabilityafter three decades is estimated as 972 m
. The countrywill thus be water stressed even if the total availablewater is taken into account. At present, 4 states and 1Union Territory have no annual surplus water fromprecipitation. India being a large country with differentclimate regimes, characteristics of the water cyclevariables differs from one region to the other. Hence thewater availability of different regions differ considerably(Monsoons contribute 78% India’s annual rainfall, whichundergoes wide inter annual variations. Disparity in the
rainfall distribution is so great - droughts and oods
occur at different parts of the country at the same periodand in the same place at different periods). One-third ofthe country is always under threat of drought and manystates have serious river water sharing disputes withneighbouring states, which are going to be aggravatedin future.
Population growth and urbanisation pose signicant
challenges for water resources management throughoutthe world. In India, as of March, 2001, 285 millionpeople lived in urban areas (which is about 27.8% ofpopulation). Urban populations consume much morefood, energy, and durable goods than rural populations.In India, till now very little emphasis has been laid onresearch on hydrology of urban areas.
Urbanisationincreases surface runoff (Storm water runoff occurswhen rain falls) due to more impervious surfaces, such aspavements and buildings. They do not allow percolationof the water down through the soil to the aquifer andhence result in lowering of water tables.Unlike rural roads, urban roads are paved with asphaltor concrete, which seldom provide percolation of rainwater. Moreover the platforms of these roads are alsocovered with concrete slabs. The latest trend is to covermost of the areas around dwellings with concreteinterlocking blocks, since they may add visual appealto a building (see Figure 3). This means that runoffoccurs more quickly in urban areas with greater peak
ows. Flood volumes increase, as do oods and water
pollution downstream. A few State Governments(e.g., Tamil Nadu) imposed compulsory rain waterharvesting systems for individual house owners, whichproved to be successful in increasing the undergroundwater table. However such systems have to be maintainedproperly in order to be successful in the long run.Water runoff from pavements and terraces of buildingsoften creates erosion and siltation problems, causes
ash oods, and loss of rainwater that could otherwise
replenish water tables and aquifers (A land areaproducing runoff, draining to common point, is called a