One of the first professions in the world, Farming, remains one of the most affected communities due to this water crisis, and since they aren’t part of huge corporate conglomerates, they remain the most understudied groups. To a farmer, every tree, every crop is their own offspring, something that they raise under the blazing sun. They toil hard to grow crops on dry barren land and make the soil productive again. The water table has fallen so low that most of these farmers, who in third world countries are among the poorer sections and don’t have large landholdings, have to dig up new borewells every year. The net consequence of this becomes worse. Every acre ends up with more borewells than they can sustain, aggravating the issue further for these farmers. Consequently, these farmers get trapped in an ever-spiralling debt crisis, never having enough water to water their crops and having to pay more for more deeper borewells, which become redundant a few months later. Moreover, the resulting product doesn’t cover the costs, and the government has been successful in not acknowledging this debt crisis when it has been as bad as any other issue facing their respective countries.
There are reports clearly stating that 12,000 farmers are committing suicide in India every year.
This is primarily because they’ve ended up with barren lands with no sustainable and viable sources of water to water their fields. In an interview with a farmer Dakshinamurthy from Tamil Nadu, he states that he has had to keep digging borewells deeper into the ground every year. With water level going down from 150 ft to 300 ft below the ground and falling further every year, he has to continue spending an extravagant amount of money to keep his water source alive, leaving very little profits out of farming the land. With the BJP government at the centre setting an ambitious target of doubling farmer incomes in the next 5 years, the ongoing water scarcities make the target next to unrealistic and impossible to achieve.
Even keeping the water issue aside, the government would need to do a lot more than just solving the water issue. Thankfully, models like Hiwrebazar and Ralegan Siddhi have shown that if value-added interventions and proper connectivity is established, other than water security, growth in farmer incomes can realistically happen. But does the Government even have a roadmap for water security is still up in the air, with the Center steadfastly refusing to give updates on it?
The best the government has come up with is starting a second Green Revolution, this time in eastern India. The government though is conveniently ignoring the fact the legacy of the first one, the dipping water tables in states like Punjab and Haryana and, obviously, doesn’t seem to have any way to tackle this consequence. This effectively will change rainfall patterns, with higher rainfall in peninsular India, albeit in a shorter duration with higher intensity.
The second plan of action, the river interlinking project, an ambitious project since the Vajpayee government of ‘99 to ‘04, also doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially considering the cost of project, INR 5.6 Lakh Crores, and the cost of relocation of thousands of families and other structures that are in the way.
India needs to start inculcating a culture of aquifer management. With large parts of India dependent on borewells to fulfil their water needs, people need to start finding ways to also restock the water that flows out of their homes and farms into the drain. Again, there are models which have been successful, right here in India, which can be implemented across the country with some tweaks to suit the local situation.
India has been witnessing growing water scarcity over the past several years now as population growth, industrialisation and climate change are having an impact on the country’s available water sources. Contamination of water sources, which is on the ascent, is additionally prompting water shortage in a few sections of the nation. Groundwater is additionally diminishing in the nation. Alerts have just begun ringing in zones where groundwater has achieved basic levels. This is additionally occurring because of overexploitation of groundwater assets, to a great extent by Farmers. In a few zones, unapproved borewells have been burrowed and water is being taken out with no worry for its energizing.
The shortage of water in India is prompting numerous issues. Farmers can’t deal with their harvest cycles because of inaccessibility of water, both surface and groundwater. A few agriculturists have purportedly dedicated suicides, especially in parts of Maharashtra, because of a few factors that incorporate inaccessibility of water. Elsewhere, industrial houses are stopping production in water-scarce regions and making better arrangements to harness water for captive use before the monsoons. Be that as it may, there have been situations when monsoon rains have also failed to alleviate the problem of water scarcity in India.
Groundwater is likewise waning in the nation. Alerts have just begun ringing in territories where groundwater has achieved basic levels. This is additionally occurring because of overexploitation of groundwater assets, to a great extent by agriculturists. In a few zones, unapproved borewells have been burrowed and water is being taken out with no worry for its revive.
The shortage of water in India is prompting numerous issues. Farmers can’t deal with their yield cycles because of inaccessibility of water, both surface and groundwater. A few agriculturists have purportedly dedicated suicides, especially in parts of Maharashtra, because of a few factors that incorporate inaccessibility of water. Somewhere else, modern houses are ceasing generation in water rare locales and improving game plans to tackle water for hostage use before the storms. Be that as it may, there have been situations when rainstorm downpours have likewise neglected to ease the issue of water shortage in India.
Extraction to the level of destruction: Lw water levels have happened essentially from extraction for horticultural purposes and brought about disastrous decreases in freshwater species since they have lost their territories. Notice in the accompanying chart how populaces of the warm-blooded animal, feathered creature, reptile, land and water proficient and angle species has definitely diminished by 76 per cent over the most recent 40 years…
Unfortunately, millions of Indians across the country are not equipped with such facilities to test whether the water consumed and used by them is safe enough or not. The dual problems of not having access to water, or having access to unsafe water have resulted in safe and hygienic water, a basic amenity becoming a luxury.
Water extraction and capacity (counting foundation, for example, reservoirs, dams and weirs) can lead to alterations in natural river flows, groundwater levels and catchment hydrological processes in general. Each of these changes to water quantity can influence the geomorphology (including river structure and karst), aquatic ecosystem health (including plants and animals) of a water system. Downstream accessibility of water for various kinds of human utilize may likewise be endangered.
Water stockpiles or regulated rivers alter the natural flow regime through changes in the magnitude, timing and duration of streamflow. The commonly reduced downstream average yearly release, bring down the seasonal flow variability, decrease surge size, and discharge unnatural beats of water into the landscape. However, these impacts shift between various sorts, sizes and number of water storages along a waterway reach (for instance, the impacts might be upgraded with bigger water stockpiles, or cumulative effects may result from numerous dams along a river reach).
The streamflow of a river or the immersion cycle of a wetland is also fundamental to the ecosystem of these natural features, providing habitat to numerous living beings and supporting an assortment of basic natural procedures. An aquatic ecosystem can be threatened when significant alterations to the natural streamflow regime occur. The relative threat is dependent upon the biological community being influenced. For instance, numerous biological communities are debilitated by an overall reduction in the magnitude of streamflows, while a few systems are more helpless to the unseasonal timing of the flow, or higher streams at specific periods (e.g. for water system extraction). Also, consistent streamflows can be impeding to species that rely on variable flow regimes to trigger their life cycle.
Instream directing structures and manufactured hindrances, (for example, dams, weirs, blasts, courses and portages) can likewise go about as physical obstructions to the local fish development and influence other aquatic creatures, for example, macroinvertebrates and bigger scavengers. If the migratory movement of species is limited or prevented the affected species may eventually become excluded from the entire waterway (or part thereof) and/or separated from the wider population. Ultimately, regulating structures and artificial barriers can reduce the capacity of species to forage and breed, thereby affecting their abundance and overall biodiversity.
The support of a perpetual waterbody in instream dams or weir pools, combined with the clearance of remnant vegetation, can result in rising groundwater levels and the creation of permanent hydrologic connections to adjacent wetlands. This can result in changing ecological impacts on the plants and creatures living in the wetland if, under unregulated conditions, the wetland had an alternate common wetting and drying cycle. Shallow groundwater tables in neighbouring floodplains to instream dams and weir pools can likewise limit the root zone of riparian vegetation and make trees powerless against falling amid high breezes in the event that they neglect to have an adequate and stable root zone.
Falling groundwater levels can be characteristic of over-extraction. It can likewise bring about a reduction in the baseflow (streamflow coming about because of precipitation that invades into the dirt and in the end, travels through the dirt to stream channels), into waterways, streams, lakes and wetlands, and add to salinisation. An outline of conceivable circumstances and end results of rising or falling groundwater levels and additional weight is accessible through the connection.
Wars, famines, droughts, floods, everytime something strikes, the worst hit always remains the farmers of the nation. This remains an enigma for even the most seasoned of strategists, as to how the most important part of the population, literally the kitchen and the cook in that kitchen of the entire living people in the city, are the first people who get ignored. With this water crisis looming large, it still remains true. The first people who’ll take a hit to their income and their way of life remains those farmers who’ll have to face unproductive seasons and uncertain futures. With water table falling at unsustainable levels, and the government conveniently turning a blind eye to it, the farming sector has been consigned to awaiting the worst, and there’s nothing that anyone can do about it.
The drought that looms large before us is not going to be any normal drought. It’s going to be the worst one that we’ve seen in centuries. The scary part is that this drought may just be permanent, with no looking back. Any amount of good monsoon will not help it, neither would a shift in our cropping or water usage and conversation patterns once it’s too late. To make matters worse, this only seems to be speeding up the rearview mirror, and no one seems interested in looking at it.
With the change in cropping patterns and the industrialization that has been ongoing since the Industrial Revolution, water is being diverted from farms to cities to keep up with their ever-increasing demands. Resources, just like it has been throughout history, continues to get diverted to the rich, leaving the poor struggling in its wake. With per capita water available falling drastically every year (it was 300 cubic meters in the past 10 years) the situation keeps getting grimmer.
In the last 30 years, sources of major rivers like Krishna and Godavari in Southern India have run dry. While on the surface it looks like a monsoon problem, the fact of the matter remains that these rivers are not getting replenished by the underground water reservoirs that seep through to the surface and feed them.
The transfer of water to water-intensive processes like the growth of cash crops which require more water (sugarcane production, for example, requires 18 million liters roughly) and the diversion of water to cities, where the water doesn’t get a chance to seep in, thanks in part to the concretization of the entire urban area, continues to deplete the water table and exacerbate the situation. The issues are further complicated by the rise in religious tourism and the resultant creation of amenities for the tourists. The hotels and the roads and other structures constructed kill the drainage area of the river, creating massive problems. Either the rivers end up going dry, or come in torrents and floods to destroy everything in its path.
The shift in lifestyle and the diversion of resources to sustain it is another avenue that has to be looked upon. While Maharashtra as a state is regularly in the news, especially Vidarbha, for water crisis that sometimes requires trains to ferry drinking water to its population, it also remains in news for a building which houses a humongous 210 swimming pools. Figures from the municipal corporations spread across the state show that 53% of supplied water is meant for only 3 districts, exposing the chasm between how different classes of the same society are being treated. This has long being a bone of contention, especially to the parts of the society who get discriminated against due to this inequality in the distribution of natural resources.