Dr. Banarsi Lal & Dr. Amrish Vaid Every year 22nd of March is observed as the World Water Day to create the awareness on the importance of freshwater and to advocate the sustainable management of freshwater. The theme of this year World Water Day is ‘Water and Climate Change’, explores how water and climate are inextricably linked. This theme highlights the urgent importance of strengthening water security and establishing access to a sustainable water supply in the context of changing climate conditions across the globe. The observance will also create public awareness about the many ways shifting atmospheric and oceanic conditions and reshaping the global hydrologic cycle. This day is supported by the various institutions, organisations, stakeholders etc. across the globe. Campaigns, educational events, theoretical and musical celebrations are being organised to create the awareness on clean and affordable water. This event shows how our use of water can help to reduce floods, scarcity and pollution, reduce infections, droughts and can help fight climate change itself. It was recommended to celebrate in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janerio. It was firstly observed in 1993. Later on other events were added such as International Year of Cooperation in the Water Sphere in 2013 and the Current International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028. This observances reaffirm that water and sanitation are the key elements for poverty reduction, economic growth and environmental sustain ability. As the global population is increasing at an alarmingly rate so does the demand for water and this is depleting the water and other natural resources. There is dire need to tackle the global water crisis. By using the water more efficiently we can reduce the green house gases. By washing our hands properly we can minimize the risks of Coronavirus and many other infections. Water is the most precious resource on the earth. It is a finite natural resource on the earth. We must use it judiciously with more responsibility. We need to balance the use of water while ensuring the poorest people don’t left behind. Water is indispensable for the existence of animal and plant eco-systems and is an essential element in the development of any nation. It is the most vital resource for the existence of life on earth. No other natural resource is having such an overwhelming influence as water has. Earth three-fourths surface is covered by the oceans. Freshwater constitutes a very small proportion of this enormous quantity of water. Only 2.7 per cent of the total water available on the earth is fresh water out of which 75.2 per cent lies frozen in Polar Regions and another 22.6 per cent is present as ground water. Remaining water is available in rivers, lakes, atmosphere water and soil and vegetation. Climate change increases the intensity and frequency of natural disasters and water-related extreme events such as rainfall, droughts, floods etc. India is the seventh largest country in the world with a total area of 3,287,263 sq.km. India accounts for about 2.4 per cent of the world’s geographical area, 4 per cent of the world’s water resources and 17.7 per cent of the world’s population. Globally, 785 million people do not have access to basic drinking water facilities. Water is often contaminated from urban, industrial and agricultural pollutants. Many of those who lack access to basic water services also live in conflict-affected states with poor governance, high rates of poverty, insecure tenure and weak institutions. The pressure on freshwater resources is rising including the drinking water supplies. There is need to increase the investments that can sustainably manage and equitably allocate water supplies, expand watershed protection and restoration. There is dire need to provide the basic facilities of safe and reliable drinking water even to the poorest amongst the poor of the nation for a good health and livelihood. The reliable provision and management of drinking water also develop credibility in local and national authorities. The rapid pace of urbanization also requires attention to urban services particularly clean drinking water. There is dire need to provide adequate clean drinking water to the people, schools and clinics. It is predicted that upto, 5.7 billion people could be living in areas where water is scarce for at least one month a year. Climate-resilient water supply and sanitation can save the lives of more than 3, 60,000 infants every year. It is also predicted that by 2040, global energy demand is projected to increase by over 25 per cent and water demand is expected to increase by more than by 50 per cent. With the extreme weather changes, rainfall has become unpredictable affecting the livelihood of millions of farmers especially in the developing countries. If water is used efficiently in agriculture then crops production can be increased and land, water and ecosystem degradation can be prevented. Every year, there are around 250 million cases of water borne diseases with about 5-10 million deaths. It is not only the human beings who are threatened by water shortages and pollution but other living species on the earth are badly affected. About half of the world’s wetlands have been destroyed in the last 100 years. Two-fifths of the fish are freshwater species and of these about 20 per cent are threatened, endangered or have become extinct in recent decades. The freshwater demand is increasing not only because of demographic pressures but also because of improved living standards, urbanisation and industrial growth. The world’s thirst for water is likely to become one of the most important issues of the 21st century. Global water consumption is increasing more than the rate of population growth. In some areas, water withdrawals are so high relative to supply that surface water supplies are literally shrinking and ground water reserves are being depleted faster than they can be replenished. Water tables are dropping due to overexploitation of ground water and some rivers often become dry before they reach the sea. It has been observed that the amount of water available per person in India has decreased steadily over a period of time. Water is scarce even for drinking purpose. India already is facing an alarming situation and its fragile water resources are stressed and depleting while various sectorial demands are growing rapidly even as about 200 million people in the country do not have access to safe drinking water and nearly 1.5 million children under five die each year due to water-borne diseases. The droughts conditions in several parts of the country are on the rise and disputes over sharing of the water resources are increasing. If the available freshwater resources in India are not managed properly India can face a severe water crisis. At present, six of India’s 20 major river basins already fall into water scarce category. It is expected that by the year 2025, five more basins will be water scarce. It is expected that by the year 2025, India can face a severe water shortage it is predicted that within a few decades availability of water in the country will be about 1700 to 2000 cubic metres as per person as against the world average of 5000 to 9000 cubic metres per person. India is heading towards a freshwater crisis due to improper management of water resources and environmental degradation which has led to lack of access to safe water supply to millions of people.
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