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How Govt Aims to Overcome Crisis in Districts Facing Water Scarcity

The geo-tagging and making an inventory of water bodies will help the state governments to prevent encroachment of water bodies.

News18.com | Updated: June 30, 2022, 11:22 AM IST

India has only 4 percent of the world’s water resources and 16 percent of the population. India’s per capita water availability is expected to decline to 1,465 cubic metres by 2025, according to a recent ICAR study, and it’s a significant fall from 5,177 cubic metres in 1951. States like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Haryana are already seeing water shortages.

The water crisis in many parts of the country can be solved through water conservation, rainwater harvesting and replenishing groundwater levels. It’s also inevitable to renovate and recharge the water bodies like tanks, ponds, lakes and wetlands, most of which are gradually vanishing due to encroachments.

The ambitious Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA) was launched by the Central government in July 2019 for water conservation, recharge of groundwater and rainwater harvesting in 256 districts having critical and over-exploited groundwater levels.

The programme was implemented in two phases between July 1 to September 15, 2019 and October 1 to November 30, 2019. During this period 1952 blocks in all the targeted districts were covered.

A total of 2.73 lakh water conservation and rainwater harvesting structures were created and 45,000 water bodies were renovated under Jal Shakti Abhiyan in 2019. The combined effort of the Centre and state governments under the JSA campaign also achieved creation of 1.43 lakh reuse and recharge structures and 1.59 lakh watershed development related works.

After the success of Jal Shakti Abhiyan in 2019 the government expanded the scope of the programme and launched Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch The Rain campaign with the theme “Catch the rain, Where it Falls When it Falls”. The JSA:CTR covering all districts in the country was implemented from March 22 to November 30, 2021.

India receives 4,000 bcm (billion cubic metres) rainfall every year, but only 1137 bcm remains available for use as surface water and groundwater. India conserves only 8 percent of the rainfall it receives, which is one of the lowest in the world.

The JSA:CTR is a much needed campaign by the Centre to address the water crisis in most parts of the country through rainwater harvesting and water conservation. Rainwater is the major source of water for most parts of the country. So, the conservation of rainwater collected during the 4-5 months of monsoon can address the water crisis.

The JSA: CTR scheme mandates all state holders to build rainwater harvesting structures as per the climatic condition in the area. Under the programme the government also aims to create sustainable solutions that will ensure water availability throughout the year in the water-stressed parts of the country.

Under the JSA: CTR campaign 14.76 lakh water conservation and rain water harvesting structures were created and 2.78 lakh traditional water bodies were renovated.

The JSA: CTR targets five focused intervention areas. Apart from rainwater harvesting and water conservation the states have been suggested to expedite the enumeration, geo-tagging and making inventory of all water bodies. Under the program Jal Shakti Kendra will also be established in all districts and intensive afforestation will be carried out.

The geo-tagging and making an inventory of water bodies will help the state governments to prevent encroachment of water bodies.

Over 80 percent of freshwater is used for irrigation in India and it leaves many areas water stressed. India is also the largest user of groundwater in the world. Increased extraction of ground water has resulted in significant depletion of water level. The ground water level can be replenished with rainwater harvesting and conservation of water.

The progress under Jal Shakti Abhiyan is a significant success and with participation of all stakeholders the ambitious campaign can provide a sustainable and long-term solution for India’s water crisis.

Mission Paani, an initiative by News18 and Harpic India, aims to create awareness about water conservation, safe sanitation and hygiene.  For more information log on to: https://www.news18.com/mission-paani/

https://www.news18.com/mission-paani/

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