Water Scarcity in India

What is Water Sacarcity?

Water is a basic resource. Water scarcity can be defined as a condition in which people lack sufficient water or else do not have access to safe water supplies. Hydrologically, when the water supply falls below 1000 meter cube per person, an area is said to be water scarce.

Problem of water scarcity in India

Water Shortage is a topic which is not restricted to India alone but it’s a global issue now. Almost 1/5th of population live in areas of physical water scarcity and another one quarter face economic water shortage.

The problem of water scarcity can be well concluded from 3 major facts:-

1) Government data revealing that residents in 22 out of 32 major cities in India have to deal with daily shortages.

2) In 1951, the per capita water availability was about 5177 m3. This has now reduced drastically to about 1545m3 in 2011.

3) The World Health Organization estimates that 97 million Indians lack access to safe water today, second only to China, 21% of communicable diseases in India are related to unsafe water.

Causes of water scarcity

  1. Insufficient water per person as a result of population
  2. Unchecked deforestation and unsustainable irrigation practices
  3. Poor water quality resulting from insufficient and delayed investment in urban water-treatment facilities. Water in most rivers in India is largely not fit for drinking, and in many stretches not even fit for bathing.
  4. Dwindling groundwater supplies due to over-extraction by farmers, Builders and industries. This is because groundwater is an open-access resource and anyone can pump water from under his or her own land.


  1. Mandatory tree plantations.
  2. Making Rainwater Harvesting compulsory for all the buildings.
  3. Setting up plants to recycle water across all the cities of the country.
  4. Central and state governments should empower local groups with knowledge, understanding, and real-time information on the status of groundwater so as to manage extraction in a cooperative way.
  5. The government should strengthen state pollution control boards to enforce effluent standards. The technical and human resources currently available to the boards are inadequate to effectively monitor activities, enforce regulations, and convict violators.
  6. A rational water pricing policy impacting uncontrolled wastage of water.
  7. Water free urinals at least in cities.

Water scarcity has brought in a whole lot of health, sanitation and social conflicts around the country. India’s twelfth five-year plan (2012–17) has focused attention on all of these issues discussed. The plan puts great emphasis on aquifer mapping, watershed development, involvement of NGOs, and efficiency in developing irrigation capacity. Because water is a state subject in the federal constitution, state governments are expected to play a large role in these efforts.

UN report suggests the possibility of a near “water war” around the globe. Countries like china have already sensed the issue and have begun flexing muscles in by construction of reservoirs and dams on Brahmaputra river mouth.


  1. http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/scarcity.shtml
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