Nature Tidings

Water Crisis: Is Godavari in Spate or Idle

Water Crisis: Godavari
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The Godavari is the second-longest river in India after the Ganga.  It flows east, draining Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and the Bay of Bengal.

 

The lifeline

It is now several decades that India’s water lifeline is the groundwater.  This will continue to be the same for many more years. The first thing that people anticipate from the government is to address the groundwater reality that is the water lifeline of India. This is because they can ascertain the sustenance of water lifeline as the Water Policies, plans, and programs at the National level.

 

The Center’s Idea

The Center is considering to interlink the rivers and various states chief ministers will emerge with a plan of transferring surplus water of Godavari to Cauvery to meet the South water scarcity.

The ministry was working on linking the two rivers so that the scarce states would be provided with water.  It was decided to transfer from the Godavari > Krishna > Pennar River and to Cauvery. However, it was decided to come with a concrete plan of action with all the chief Ministers meeting, especially, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Telangana to finalize the plan.

 

Present status

India is facing the most water crisis. After consecutive two years of faint monsoons, the country is under severe drought; especially the southern and western states are grim as they received rainfall below average.

As per the CWMI report, 21 cities Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, and others are reaching by 20920 the zero groundwater levels and this will affect 100 million people. Nevertheless, 12 percent population of India is already in the ‘Day Zero’ zone, due to inefficient and useless water management system, excessive groundwater pumping, and deficient rains.

The CWMI report highlights the fact that by 2030, the demand for water maybe twice the supply available, and will cause severe water scarcity, resulting in six% loss in the GDP of the country.

 

Government Action

The Union government now formed a ‘Jal Shakti’ (water) ministry, to tackle the water issues. It is taking an integrated perspective that offers a holistic approach to this serious issue. The ministry has ambitious plans to give every household by 2024 piped water connections in India.

Aiming this, a tough target is set by the ministry. The question is now giving importance to infrastructure and if there is no water to supply, what next? What about the wastewater getting generated?

It reveals a clear disconnect between society, water, and economy. Constructing dams, laying networks, etc reveal, the land is valued more, while the water bodies in the local areas are neglected.

 

The Road Ahead

A paradigm shift is a need and there is a need for a transition to improve the efficiency of water use, reduce leakages, restore local water bodies, and to apply high tariffs.

A closed-loop system, recovery-based is the need of the hour. It is right to use traditional rainwater harvesting practices. The next is reusing wastewater. Reusing and recycling wastewater is cost-effective.

There should be a decentralized approach focusing on source sustainability, water conservation, reuse, and storage, wherever possible. Emphasizing behavioral change alone is not receiving attention as it is complex. The citizens of India also have a big role to play in checking their water usage and actions.

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