Water Crisis In India

No Water In Tap
The Third Pole

With a diverse population, ranking second in the world, India has made improvements over the past decades to both the availability and quality of the drinking water system. Still, India is facing many challenges in the water sector due to rising population over the years and increasing water demands.

According to the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) report released by NITI Ayog in 2018-21 major cities are racing to reach zero groundwater levels by the upcoming years, affecting access for more than 100 million people. However, 12% of India’s population is already living the ‘Day Zero’ scenario. The CWMI report also states that by 2030 the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply., implying severe water security for hundreds of millions of people and an eventual 6% loss in the country’s GDP.

About 78% of water utilized goes for agriculture, 6% water is utilized in the domestic sector and 8% in industries, and 8% in other uses. This may lead to many issues arising out of water governance, such as:

  1. Inadequate water quality makes people’s life miserable and which is to be addressed to ensure water availability.
  2. Improving the low water use efficiency in irrigation and industry because a drop of water saved is a drop added to the ecosystem.
  3. Pollution of water bodies has to be tackled especially that of rivers.
  4. Water has to be reused and recycled, especially the wastewater treatment should be taken better care of.
Women carrying water pots

There are certain reasons why we are facing such an extreme situation of water scarcity in India. Following are some major reasons for the above causes.

  1. We are changing the climate, making dry areas drier and precipitation more variable and extreme.
  2. We are chopping down plants ruthlessly and causing a massive wildlife loss which is indirectly triggering the loss of water over time.
  3. More people + more money = more water demand.
  4. Groundwater is being depleted as India is the largest user of groundwater in the world. 54% of India’s ground-level water wells have decreased in the present time.
  5. Water infrastructure is in a dismal state of despair and natural infrastructure is being ignored (watersheds have lost up to 22% of forests globally).
  6. Water is subjected to rampant wastage.
  7. Globally, water is seriously undervalued. Its price does not reflect the true, total cost of service, from its transport via infrastructure to its treatment and disposal.

Government initiatives taken to tackle the water stress in India are:

GOVT Schemes

Objective Of The Schemes

Jal Jeevan Mission

Aims to attain the SDG-6 by reaching all rural households by 2024.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan 2,0

Biodegradable solid waste management, greywater management, faucal sludge management.

Atal Bhujal Yojana

Improve the management of groundwater resources through a convergence of various ongoing schemes.

PM-Krishi Sinchayee Yojana

Enhance water use efficiency in the agricultural sector by promoting appropriate technological interventions.

Har Khet Ko Pani, Per Drop More Crop, Watershed Development and AIBP – 4-Pronged Vision

Aims to bridge the gap b/w the potential of Micro Irrigation Potential of the Country.


Amidst these deadly water sins, there exists good news: governments, businesses, universities, and citizens across the country are waking up to water challenges and beginning to take action. Adding water to the lives of millions of people will ensure transformation in various aspects such as education, business, trade, etc. We must therefore continue to prioritize water supply if we want to continue transforming India into a more resilient nation.

Women Collecting Water
The Economic Times

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