Abdul Quddoos Everyone on here earth e.g. humans, animals, plants, birds and aquatic creatures have most important element in the body and required for living that’s water either we are aware about saving it or not, either we understand it’s social-economic value or not. A mere one second thought, what happen if water will not be available to us is adequate to prove its importance in our life. India is second most populated country in the world with 18 % share of world population. But alarming is, India ranks at 128 number in list of freshwater resources by country. India is home of only 4% of total world water resources. We are a nation of less water share naturally and comes under water stressed country as per World Health Organization (WHO) directive. According to Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), A human being requires 135 Liters of Water Per Day for daily use such as Drinking, Bathing, Hand Washing, Flushing, Sanitation, Cooking etc, it means if a person live for 60 years, he will utilize 29.56 lakhs liters of water in his whole life but on average an Indian has only 11 lakhs liters of water. Daily we suffer water crisis in our households, hear about water shortage from neighbors, read the news about zero to less water supply in various parts of country. Lack of water supply infrastructure, ease of electricity and fuel availability and introduction of advance pumping technologies turned the public mindset towards withdrawal of groundwater. Currently, 80 % of agriculture land in India is irrigated through Groundwater. And 85 % of water we drink is pumped out from ground. This trend plus neglected attitude towards water use efficiently results in depletion in level of groundwater comprehensively. Drying of existing and proposed handpumps, borewells has been experienced at uncountable numbers of locations all over India. Despite over-exploitation of groundwater, submersibles are expanding rapidly in individual homes, offices, apartments, factories, hospitals, hotels etc. in unregulated manner. We doesn’t have only single problem of water scarcity, another bigger issue is contamination of water which is already available in very less amount as if we look we only have one third water resources against the demand. Central Pollution Control Board states that 70 % of water including surface water present in rivers, lakes and ponds and groundwater is contaminated. In the Global Water Quality Index, India ranks at 120 among 122 nations. India’s Groundwater contains an frighten level of constituents of concern. At first when we drink groundwater, we felt strong taste of salt, it’s because excessive salinity in groundwater, 212 districts of India are affected by heavy salt presence. Around 2 lakh square kilometers of area is having salinity high as eight times of prescribed standard for drinking water. In some locations of Rajasthan and Haryana states, 20 times of standard salinity had been reported. Apart from it, drawing excess water near to coastal area will rise the salinity of groundwater and India have a long coast line of 7500 km. The other elements of deep concerns are heavy metals such as Flouride, Arsenic, Iron, Uranium etc. 11 states of India including Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh etc which houses nearly 60 % of population are majorly affected by high flouride level above the required BIS limit of 1.0 mg/l. 65 % of rural population is experiencing flouride contamination in our nation. Arsenic (As) have covered 153 districts out of total 640 districts with it’s dense concentration. Currently 15811 habitations are suffering arsenic problem in drinking water. Iron which should be below 0.3 mg/l in drinking water without any relaxation has found it’s way with shocking most observed composition of 49 mg/l. Assam, West Bengal, Orrisa, Chattisgarh and Karnataka are immensely iron contaminated states. Certain presence of Uranium has been reported in 16 states of India. In the shallow borewells, nitrate contamination is very common, multifold concentration beyond strict BIS limit of 45 mg/l has been estimated in most of districts of 16 states of India such as Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala etc. Nitrogen and Phosphate Fertilizers, Pesticides and Industrial waste leaching into the groundwater plays a big role in making our water more toxic, This waste contains dangerous compounds which reverse back into the food chain as India is biggest consumer of groundwater for growing crops. Pesticides are so reluctant that almost every bottle of packaged treated water we drink exceeds pesticides limits set by WHO and BIS. Water provided to us by nature through melting snow from mountains and rain, stored and flowing in beautiful rivers, lakes, ponds has been drastically polluted by our activities. Around 60 % of our river stretches including Ganges, Yamuna, Godavari, Sone, Cauvery, Krishna, Damodar and Brahmaputra are loaded with organic matter, chemicals, pathogens and heavy metals (Zinc, Lead, Cobalt etc). In a testing drive by CPCB in 2018, agency tested Ganges at 41 locations, surprisingly only at 04 locations Ganges water found fit for use. In case of water scarcity, reasons are multidimensional, we are premier agriculture based country, Over 90 % of water is used by agricultural sector of India and problem doesn’t lies in the use of water in growing crops, problem lies in efficiency of water use. India use two to four times more water for growing same amount of crop as compared to Brazil and China. For example in case of sugar, flood irrigation results in 35 % loss of water providing only 65 % of efficiency. So non-awareness and non-adaption of efficient technologies like drip irrigation is the center of problem. Water wastage and lack of water saving solutions in industries and households adds the other aspects in problem. Insufficient storage infrastructure for water arising from rain and rivers flow is the third reason for the current status. (To be continued)
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