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AVILA COLLEGE OF EDUCATION , EDACOCHIN

WATER SCARCITY IN KERALA


SHELMA PHILIP

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WATER! ELIXIR OF LIFE !


ABSTRACT

Kerala is a state with a lot of outstanding achievements especially in its social


development. Kerala has been considered as a water surplus state with 44 rivers,
backwaters and a lot of lakes. But at the same time government of Kerala declared
that out of14 districts in the state as drought prone in 2012. The state is now
stringent crisis in water resources especially in drinking water. The answer to why
a state with lots of rivers and lake is converted to the drought prone area given by
the reckless sand mining quarrying mushrooming in the last two decades .The
manmade disaster has grown to an ironic situation that the districts affected by the
drought last year are those known for their rivers and lake.

It is a reality that we cannot reserve water effectively due to poor retention


capacity of the soil. Wells and ponds used to be the primary source of drinking
water to the Keralites. The thousands of wells were due under the people’s plan
from 1999 till date. Absence of relevant and update data, lack of long term
planning apathy towards conservation of resource, gradually but surely leads to
total subversion of the natural cycle of waste regenerations. Perhaps there is a
scope for a graph to be drawn, a graph of not how deserts happen, but how
‘deserts’ are created.
INTRODUCTION
Water scarcity already affects every continent. Around 1.2 million people or
almost one fifth of the world’s population lives in areas of physical scarcity and
500 million people are approaching this situation. Another 1.6 million people or
almost one quarter of the world’s population face economic water scarcity. Water
scarcity s both a natural and a human made phenomenon. There is enough
refreshment of water on the planet for seven billion people but it is distributed
unevenly and too much of it is wasted, polluted and unattainably managed.

Acute drought conditions and poor natural water resources are focusing more
attention on what continues to be a worldwide problem: a lack of fresh portable
water for drinking and sanitation water scarcity can be defined as a lack of
sufficient water or not having access to safe supplies in Kerala, severe water
scarcity is being reported from the border areas and coastal areas of the state.

Environmentalists blame the development policies of successive government and


projects of the state and caused huge damage to the entire eco-system including the
paddy farms, lands and hills of the Western Ghats for the current drinking water
crisis.
NEED AND SIGNIFICANCE
Water is needed in all facets of life. The general objective is to make certain that
adequate supplies of water of good quality are maintained for the entire population
of this planet, while preserving the hydrological, biological and chemical functions
of ecosystems, adapting human activities within the capacity limits of nature and
combating vectors of water-related diseases. Innovative technologies, including the
improvement of indigenous technologies, are needed to fully utilize limited water
resources and to safeguard those resources against pollution.

The widespread scarcity, gradual destruction and aggravated pollution of


freshwater resources, in many parts of world along with the progressive growth of
incompatible activities, demand integrated water resource planning and
management. Such integration must cover all types of interrelated freshwater
bodies, including both surface water and groundwater, and duly consider water
quantity and quality aspects.

The multi-sectoral nature of water resources development in the context of


socioeconomic development must be recognized, as well as the multi-interest
utilization of water resources for water supply and sanitation, agriculture, industry,
urban development, hydropower generation, inland fisheries, transportation,
recreation, low and flat lands management and other activities. Rational water
utilization schemes for the development of surface and underground water-supply
sources and other potential sources have to be supported by concurrent water
conservation and wastage minimization measures. Priority, however, must be
accorded to flood prevention and control measures, as well as sedimentation
control, wherever required.
OBJECTIVES
Develop technologies for sustainable water use, treatment and reuse.

Help shape society’s attitude towards water preservation and sustainable


management

Serve as an institute point for scientific development of sustainable water


technologies and practices

Develop socioeconomic instrument to enhance societal responses to sustainable


water management and quality protection.

METHODOLOGY
The study mainly focused on domestic use of water in urban areas in general and
Kerala state in particular. Both primary and secondary data have been collected to
examine the objectives of the study.

The time series secondary data regarding urban population, water supply system,
number of water works and tube wells, depth of tube wells, timings and quantity of
water supply, price, etc. were collected from Municipal Corporation, Kerala.

Graphs and tables are also used to analyze the scarcity in Kerala.
WATER SCARCITY - ANALYSIS
The case in India:

India’s population regarding a current annual increase by 15.5 million people has
to mentally face the greatest challenge of conservation and equitable distribution of
the limited fresh water resources. And its management is extremely intertwined
with figure and poverty association

POPULATION GROWTH AND PER CAPITA WATER AVAILABILITY

YEAR POPULATION PER CAPITA WATER


(MILLION) AVAILABILITY (CM)
1951 361 5117
1955 395 4732
1991 846 2209
2001 1027 1820
2025 1397 1341
2050 1640 1140
Table 1

The per capita availability of fresh water in the country has dropped from an
acceptable 5.175cm in 1951 to 1320 cm in 2050

The case in Kerala:

THE PER CAPITA AVAILABILITY IN KERALA 1911 TO 2011

Year Population Rain Surface Ground Total


water water
1911 0.64 49609 6556 3095 59260
1921 0.71 44718 5909 2790 53417
1931 0.78 40705 5379 2539 48623
1941 0.95 33421 4416 2085 39922
1951 1.10 28863 3814 1801 35478
1961 1.35 23510 3108 1467 28093
1971 1.69 18786 2482 1172 22444
1981 2.13 14706 1962 930 17805
1991 2.45 12500 1672 780 14952
2001 2.95 10762 142 672 12856
2011 3.36 9450 1022 590 11062
Table 2

It is easily shown from the figure that Kerala has been showing decreasing levels
in per capita availability. The availability of rain and the lowering of the surface
and ground water resulting from various human and wrong nature activities might
convert the state to “God’s own dry land”

TABLE 3

Assuming 650 liters per capita per day liter as the water requirements estimated by
experts water demand in Kerala is presented in the above figure. We have
considered the modest increase in the water required for irrigation by 2 percent per
year for the future.

PERFORMANCE OF NORTHEAST MONSOON 2016

WET LANDS IN DANGER

Source Kerala state planning board 2016


SAND PRICE IN TIRUNALVELI
YEAR RATE QUANTUM
2007 6000 3 units
2008 7000 2.50 units
2009 8000 2.50 units
Till may 2011 9000 2 units
After may 2011 8000 2 units
2011 end 8500 2.25 units
2012 till date 10500 2.25 units

Table 4
From above table we can analyze the rate of sand is increasing and mining is still
happen even it is illegal.

PIE DIAGRAM FOR DEFORESTATION IN KERALA(2001-2016)

From the above diagram we can conclude that deforestation is increasing even it is
illegal in India.
CAUSES
The main causes of water scarcity in Kerala are:

 Deforestation
 Sand quarrying and river bank agriculture
 Degradation of water resources
 Land reclamation and construction
 Bacteriological contamination in drinking water sources
 Solid waste dumping in rivers

There are many other reasons for water scarcity like secondary recovery of
petroleum, mines, climate changes, lack of storage for water, or not having access
to safe water supplies. With its enchanting greenery and network of backwater and
rivers Kerala is thought to be water plenty state. After all Kerala gets 6 months of
rainfall 2.5 times higher than the national average. Despite this, the state is facing
water scarcity with conditions worsening in some regions.

DEFORESTATION:

Conversion of watershed areas has altered the hydrological regime while


enhancing the movement lowering water yield in the catchment affecting the
ground water recharge. Large scale deforestation in the Western Ghats and
introduction of plantation crops in highlands replacing the natural vegetation
reduced the storage capacity of soil and resulted in surface soil erosion in
watersheds. This has effect summer flows in river and some perennial rivers have
become seasonal in the last few decades due to large scale land cover changes.
SAND QUARRYING AND RIVER BANK AGRICULTURE:

Sand quarrying in rivers and watersheds are killing the rivers. Such activities lead
to bank erosion, lowering of water table and create several environmental
problems. Ground water level in some of the watersheds has gone down by nearly
one meter in the last two decades. Agricultural practices in the riverbanks (and also
inside the dry riverbeds) during non-rainy months also add to bank erosion and
sedimentation in rivers.

DEGRADATION OF WATER RESOURCES

Degradation of Water Resources All 44 rivers in Kerala are highly polluted due to
inflow of untreated domestic, industrial wastes and agriculture runoff. Most of the
industries are near the thickly populated riversides, often near cities and towns.
There is no efficient water treatment system in industries and city municipalities.
Pollution level in some of the sites is far above permissible limits

LAND RECLAMATION AND CONSTRUCTION

Sand filling of ponds, farmlands, wetlands and other water body affect natural
water flow and groundwater recharge. Construction of new roads and buildings has
blocked many canals, which were important for navigation and freshwater. Vast
areas of wetlands and paddy fields have been converted into settlement and
industrial areas in the recent times

BACTERIOLOGICAL CONTAMINATION IN DRINKING WATER SOURCE


Wide spread bacteriological contamination of fecal origin in sources of public
drinking water supplies, viz. traditional open dug wells, bore wells and surface
sources. This is confirmed by the findings and public concerns expressed during
site visits. Thesis concerns for ground and surface water contamination relate to •
Close proximity of increasing numbers of leach pit latrines under varying soil
conditions, laterite (midland) and sandy soils (coastal area);

• Non point sources of pollution in the catchment area including possible


agricultural and surface run off, especially during the rainy season;

• Washing, bathing and other domestic activities around the open dug well
sources, especially among the low income communities;

• Inadequate and irregular disinfection of drinking water supplies, including


chlorination under KWA schemes;

• Inadequate testing and irregular monitoring of drinking water quality.

EFFECTS

 Lack of Access to Drinking Water: The biggest problem that happens when
you have water scarcity is that people are not able to get fresh, clean
drinking water. The human body can only go so long without water, and a
lack of drinking water can result in a number of other problems, which we
discuss below.

 Hunger: If there is no water that can be used in order to help water the crops,
then you are going to have people that are going hungry. Animals will also
die, which will result in a lack of meat as well. Water scarcity, in short,
causes starvation to occur en masse for both people and animals that are
located in the area.
 Lack of Education: Water scarcity makes it difficult for people to get the
education that they need or that they deserve. Why? Mainly, because those
children are either too sick to go to school (which we will discuss below), or
they are working to help get water to the home and the family.

 Diseases: If you don’t have clean water access, then you will be more likely
to get diseases from the water that you do have. Whether you’re drinking the
water or using it for bathing, those diseases will get into the body and, in a
number of cases, the people carrying those diseases will pass away.

 Sanitation Issues: Without access to clean water, there is no way to clean


food, dishes, or people. When people are not given access to proper
sanitation, disease (which we talked about above) ends up becoming much
more of an issue than it would have been otherwise. It also causes mental
health issues, including depression and anxiety.

 Poverty: All in all, people who are dealing with water scarcity are often
stuck in poverty as well. These people are not able to get the resources that
they need in order to be able to thrive, and instead are just barely surviving
through these difficult times.
SOLUTION
 Education: There are plenty of opportunities out there that people can use in
order to learn more about the world around them. By educating those who
are not dealing with water scarcity, they can be in a position to help. Those
who are dealing with it can get educated on how they can prevent the
problem from becoming even worse in the future.

 Recycle Water: There are plenty of technologies out there that allow you
to recycle rainwater and other water that you may be using in your home.
Consider learning about how you can recycle water. Not only does it help to
prevent scarcity, but it can save you some money as well.

 Advance Technology Related to Water Conservation: There has been a lot of


work in the world of water conservation, but there is also a lot that needs to
be done in order to ensure that the rest of the world is able to conserve water.
Putting money and effort into conservation could be lifesaving.

 Improve Practices Related to Farming: Farming and irrigation are often a


huge culprit when it comes to water scarcity. Because of that, we need to
improve practices so that we don’t use as much water and those who are
using water are using it to its fullest potential. Technology also needs to
advance in this manner.

 Improve Sewage Systems: Clean drinking water starts with a good sewage
system. Without proper sanitation, the water in an area becomes ridden with
disease and any number of other problems. By improving the sewage
systems in these areas, we can prevent water scarcity from becoming any
worse.

 Support Clean Water Initiatives: There are organizations located all over the
world that are looking to bring clean water to areas that don’t have it.
Consider donating to these organizations, either with your time, your skills,
or your finances (whichever you can afford to give to them).
CONCLUSION
Kerala has been converting to a state of poverty ad mist in its water
resources. The mismatch between the demand for and the supply of water
creates higher concerns and challenges in its way ahead in equitable and
inclusive development strategy. Although Kerala has lot of rivers and
backwaters in numbers, its ability in aggregate in discharging water is far
behind to the single river of other state in India. Moreover rivers and water
spots in Kerala highly depends on monsoon rather than the glaciers in the
case of the rivers of other states. Hence the environmental degradation
through man’s encroachment and destructive activities in our forests, fields,
backwaters and rivers raises serious concerns even in the existence of the
state itself.

There is growing need for developing new and further advancing existing
technologies for supply enhancement such as rainfall harvesting, wastewater
re-cycling and reuse, use of drainage water improved scheduling and
technologies, leaked detection and repair, in order improve their
effectiveness and cost.

We have no time to wait discussing and conferencing the problem. What we


need is the action plan to immediate action. Hence it is impossible to change
our water using habits so as avoid wastage of water. Protection of water
resource, measure against pollution, deforestation, reclamation of fields,
ponds, and total retrieval of our environment method of land use, it is the
need of day. If we behave to the problem of water crisis with neglecting a
third world war will became a reality in near future. Hence it is time to take
immediate action to challenge and battle a treacherous enemy from the land
of Kerala
IMPLICATIONS
Construction of wastewater treatment plants and reduction of groundwater
over drafting appear to be obvious solutions to the worldwide problem;
however, a deeper look reveals more fundamental issues in play. Wastewater
treatment is highly Capital intensive, restricting access to this technology in
some regions; furthermore the rapid increase in population of many
countries makes this a race that is difficult to win. As if those factors are not
daunting enough, one must consider the enormous costs and skill sets
involved to maintain wastewater treatment plants even if they are
successfully developed.

Reducing groundwater over drafting is usually politically unpopular, and can


have major economic impacts on farmers. Moreover, this strategy
necessarily reduces crop output, something the world can ill-afford given the
current population.
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