18% of the world’s population lives in India and it has only 4% of the global water resources. In most parts of India, the level of groundwater is constantly depleting, because they don’t have any other option. Most of the rivers are so polluted that they can’t even be used for agriculture.
Ganga river, which got worshipped in India, is the world’s 5th most polluted river according to some reports. In the capital of India, the Yamuna river is so polluted, many reports have called it water as toxic.
Is polluted river a major cause of water scarcity?
It would not be wrong if someone says yes to this question, we are not even utilizing the water resources we got. According to WaterAid’s water quality index, India is at 120th place on the list of 122 countries because 70% of water resources are contaminated.
That’s a huge figure for any country. As a country, we still rely on our rivers for our daily water needs. But in most parts, the river water can’t be used for any purpose, not even irrigation. We can just assume how much water is being wasted which can be utilized with proper planning and system.
Due to the less availability of fresh water people use groundwater But slowly, the pollution of rivers is also affecting groundwater. They are making it polluted too. Maybe, if the river doesn’t get cleaned the groundwater become unusable too. But who will think about that? There has been a lot of politics on that topic but no action. Due to the level of pollution in rivers, farmers living on the riverside are forced to use groundwater for their crops. Basically, India is not even utilizing their existing water resources.
What are the possible solutions to water scarcity?
Many people say rainwater harvesting, reservoirs, dams etc. can solve the problems of water scarcity. I don’t agree with them. It all can be our secondary resources but not primary ones. Even if we take it as a solution, it needs a good amount of investment.
And after that, a new challenge will be to supply it to every household. That too in a country where every household still not got the availability of tap water. So many rainwater harvesting plants, dams and reservoirs will be needed to reach every household.
The water of Yamuna in Delhi is so toxic, but there are some people who don’t have any other option. Obviously, it’s not drinkable, but they use it for other basic needs. Like bathing, washing clothes etc. They are the people who live in slums on the riverbanks. A part of India lives in these slums, doesn’t have a tap, and still uses river water for their basic needs.