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Water is essential for life.

The amount of fresh water on earth is limited, and its quality is under constant pressure. Preserving the quality of fresh water is important for the drinking-water supply, food production and recreational water use. Water quality can be compromised by the presence of infectious agents, toxic chemicals, and radiological hazards. Water scarcity involves both water stress and water crisis. The concept of water stress is relatively new. Water stress is the difficulty of obtaining sources of fresh water for use, because of depleting resources. A water crisis is a situation where the available potable, unpolluted water within a region is less than that region's demand.[1]
Water is b ecoming more and more a scarce and valuable resource as population and consumption rise. Many human factors influence the availability of water, including dams or other engineering, population, and consumerism - or our water use on an individual, business, and government levels. Evaluation of these factors, as well as technology and action to support healthy water supplies, is necessary to gain control of the situation.

Why is the scarcity of water increasing dayby-day in our country?

Water is an inexhaustible gift of nature. Its uneven distribution in space and time has often threatened human welfare, livelihood and economic development. Reasons for the increasing scarcity of water: (1) Rapidly Growing Population: The number of rivers, lakes, etc. is the same everywhere. The amount of water in huge water bodies is rather decreasing day by day due to less rainfall. At the same time the amount of water required to meet the demand of the population is more. This leads to water scarcity, (2) Demand for food and cash crops: With the new innovative methods of fanning, modern scientific tools, more and more lands have been brought under agriculture. This needs more water for farming especially for the cash and food crops. This leads to scarcity of water. (3) Urbanisation: Due to industrial growth more and more industrial towns have come up with more populations in it. The industrial towns need a lot of water for various purposes. This leads to scarcity of water. (d) Rising standard of Living:

Due to various open Economic Policies, Liberalisation and Globalization, the economy of our country is growing at a fast-rate. This has helped in increase of standard of living. As the standard of living rises there is more demand of water for various purposes. That leads to water scarcity. water scarcity is either the lack of enough water (quantity) or lack of access to safe water (quality). It's hard for most of us to imagine that clean, safe water is not something that can be taken for granted. But, in the developing world, finding a reliable source of safe water is often time consuming and expensive. This is known as economic scarcity. Water can be simply requires more resources to do it. In other areas, the lack of water is a more profound problem. There simply isn't enough. That is known as physical scarcity. The problem of water scarity is a growing one. As more people put ever increasing demands on limited supplies, the cost and effort to build or even maintain access to water will increase. And water's importance to political and social stability will only grow with the crisis.

Two Types of Water Scarcity

Physical Scarcity Physical water scarcity is what it sounds like. Physical access to water is limited. When the demand outstrips the lands ability to provide the needed water you have physical scarcity. For the most part, dry parts of the world or arid regions are most often associated with physical scarcity. However, there are an increasing number of regions in the world where physical scarcity is a man-made condition. The Colorado river basin in the United States is an excellent example of a seemingly abundant source of water being overused and over managed, leading to very serious physical water scarcity downstream. Economic Scarcity

Economic water scarcity is by far the most disturbing form of water scarcity because it is almost entirely a lack of compassion and good governance that allows the condition to persist. Economic water scarcity exists when a population does not have the necessary monetary means to utilize an adequate source of water. Economic water scarcity is about a unequal distribution of resources for many reasons, including political and ethnic conflict. Much of sub-Saharan Africa suffers under the effects of this type of water scarcity. Without question, economic water scarcity in an issue that can be addressed quickly and effectively. The Water Project's key goal is to provide the means necessary for communities suffering from it to find relief. Access to clean water can be as simple as building small dams to catch rain water, or rain collection systems to collect rain from rooftops. It simply takes some money, a bit of engineering and some local construction efforts.

Water covers 70% of our planet, and it is easy to think that it will always be plentiful. However, freshwaterthe stuff we drink, bathe in, irrigate our farm fields withis incredibly rare. Only 3% of the worlds water is fresh water, and two-thirds of that is tucked away in frozen glaciers or otherwise unavailable for our use. As a result, some 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water, and a total of 2.7 billion find water scarce for at least one month of the year. Inadequate sanitation is also a problem for 2.4 billion peoplethey are exposed to diseases, such as cholera and typhoid fever, and other waterborne illnesses. Two million people, mostly children, die each year from diarrheal diseases alone. Many of the water systems that keep ecosystems thriving and feed a growing human population have become stressed. Rivers, lakes and aquifers are drying up or becoming too polluted to use. More than half the worlds wetlands have disappeared. Agriculture consumes more water than any other source and wastes much of that through inefficiencies. Climate change is altering patterns of weather and water around the world, causing shortages and droughts in some areas and floods in others. At the current consumption rate, this situation will only get worse. By 2025, two-thirds of the worlds population may face water shortages. And ecosystems around the world will suffer even more.

Causes of water problem and water scarcity: 1. Salination of the drinking water: The salination of the water is a very major problem that needs to be addressed. The water in the coastal areas slowly becomes salty because of the sea water replacing the ground water. This happens because of the uncontrolled use of the ground water by all the people of the country, especially in the coastal areas. 2. Decreasing ground water levels: There is always a slow decrease in the ground water level because of the lack of rain water replacing the ground water. The rain water that falls just flows off into the sea and this should be controlled to try to make the ground water level to increase. The water table as it is called is a table that shows the water level under ground in various parts of the place. The deeper it is, the more difficult it is for those who want to use the water. 3. Global warming: Global warming has also started paying a major role in the cause of water scarcity in the world. The increase in the global temperature by even a small rise in the temperature can cause the changes in the seasons which can again lead to a decrease in the rain that falls

over the whole earth and this can acuse water scarcity leading to decreased productivity in the lands which can lead to hunger and death all over the world. The water scarcity in already dry land can cause the formation of new deserts. 4. Increased consumption of water: As the population in the world keeps increasing, there is an increased consumption of water from all people around the world. This has led to a decrease in the water that is available for cultivation. Increased consumption of water is one of the primary reasons for the water scarcity. This can be prevented by each individual taking it as a challenge to reduce the consumption of water. 5. Decreased rainfall: The decreased rain fall that is resent due to the various reasons that have been mentioned like global warming has also led to increased water scarcity in the world. 6. Changes in the seasons: There has also been a change in the seasons around the world because of the changing climate which is related to the global warming. The change in the seasons also causes decreased rainfall and this can also cause decreased water in the ground leading to water scarcity.

Water scarcity and India

The word water scarcity describes the relationship between demand for water and its availability. Water scarcity can be determined as both the availability of water and its consumption patterns. There are several factors that influence the availability and consumption of water. Hence the definition for the availability and consumption is different in various regions. Because of these factors water scarcity will vary widely from country to country and from region to region within a country. Therefore it is little difficult to adopt a global figure to indicate water scarcity but simply we can say water availability of less than 1000 m3/capita as a water scarcity.

Indian scenario The thirst of water for Indias rapid development is growing day by day. In spite of adequate average rainfall in India, there is large area under the less water conditions/drought prone. There are lot of places, where the quality of groundwater is not good. Another issue lies in interstate distribution of rivers. Water supply of the 90% of Indias territory is served by inter-state rivers.

It has created growing number of conflicts across the states and to the whole country on water sharing issues. Some of the major reasons behind water scarcity are;

Population growth and Food production (Agriculture) Increasing construction/ infrastructure development Activities Massive urbanization and industrialization throughout the country Climatic change and variability- Depleting of natural resources due to changing climate conditions (Deforestation etc.) Lack of implementation of effective water management systems

Rainfall is the major source of water: India receives most of its water from south-west monsoon which is the most important feature controlling the Indian climate. There is about 75% of the annual rainfall is received during a short span of four months between June to September. As far as rainfall distribution over the country concern, it shows large variations in the amounts of rainfall received by different locations e.g. the average annual rainfall is less than 13 cm over the western Rajasthan, while at some part of Meghalaya it has as much as 1141 cm. As per the Indian Metrological Department, Indias annual rainfall is around 1182.8 mm. Out of that, the mean rainfall of south-west monsoon between June to September is around 877.2 mm and contributes 74.2% of annual rainfall. (Know more about water availability in India)

Why should India address water scarcity? Indias population is expected to increase from 1.13 Bn in 2005 to 1.66 Bn by 2050. Out of that the urban population is expected to grow from 29.2% of the total population in 2007 to 55.2% by 2050. First and foremost result of the increasing population is the growing demand for more food-grains and allied agricultural produce. It results in expanding area of land under the crops especially high yielding crop varieties. It is estimated that the production of water-intensive crops is expected to grow by 80% between 2000 and 2050. For example Rice, wheat and sugarcane together constitute about 90% of Indias crop production and are the most waterconsuming crops. In addition, states with the highest production of rice and/or wheat are expected to face groundwater depletion of up to 75% by 2050. (Facts and figures are sourced from: Grail Research)

Another area of concern is the water Intensive Industries. Indias economic growth has been gargantuan in the last decade. Foreign direct investment equity inflow in the industrial sector has grown to $17.68 Bn in 20072008. Steel and energy sector will need to keep pace in order to fulfill the demands of sectors like manufacturing and production. Annual per capita consumption of power is expected to reach its maximum level as compared to present installed power generation capacity. As per the ministry of power, thermal power plants which are the most water-intensive industrial units, constitute around 65% of the installed power capacity in India. Industrial water consumption is expected to shoot up its growth between 2000 and 2050. (Facts and figures are sourced from: Grail Research)

All of this will result in increased consumption of water. That is why there is urgent requirement to address the issue of water scarcity in India to make better policy decisions which will affect its availability in future. . If the conditions remain same; water will turn out to be the worlds most precious resource soon.

National Water Policy

National Water Policy is formulated by the Ministry of Water Resources of the Government of India to govern the planning and development of water resources and their optimum utilization. The first National Water Policy was adopted in September, 1987.[1] It has been reviewed and updated in 2002.

he major provisions under the policy are:

1. Envisages to establish a standardized national information system with a network of data banks and data bases 2. Resource planning and recycling for providing maximum availability 3. To give importance to the impact of projects on human settlements and environment. 4. Guidelines for the safety of storage dams and other water-related structures 5. Regulate exploitation of groundwater 6. Setting water allocation priorities in the following order: Drinking water, Irrigation, Hydropower, Navigation, Industrial and other uses. 7. The water rates for surface water and ground water should be rationalized with due regard to the interests of small and marginal farmers.

The policy also deals with participation of farmers and voluntary agencies, water quality, water zoning, conservation of water, flood and drought management, erosion etc The main emphasis in the Draft of National Water Policy 2012 is to treat water as economic good which the ministry claims to promote its conservation and efficient use.[3] This provision intended for the privatization of water-delivery services is being criticized from various quarters.[4] The draft also does away with the priorities for water allocation mentioned in 1987 and 2002 varsions of the policy. The other major recommendations are

To ensure access to a minimum quantity of potable water for essential health and hygiene to all citizens, available within easy reach of the household To curtail subsidy to agricultural electricity users Setting up of Water Regulatory Authority To keep aside a portion of the river flow to meet the ecological needs and to ensure that the low and high flow releases correspond in time closely to the natural flow regime. To give statutory powers to Water Users Associations to maintain the distribution system Project benefited families to bear part of the cost of resettlement & rehabilitation of project affected families To remove the large disparity between stipulations for water supply in urban areas and in rural areas


^ "National Water Policy 2002". Ministry of Water Resources (GOI). 1 April 2002. p. 2. Retrieved 15 August 2012.