India is facing one of its major and massive water crisis. For two consecutive years, India is facing weak monsoon affecting nearly 330 million population by a severe drought. With almost 50 percent of India thinking about a dry season like conditions, the circumstance has been especially inauspicious this year in western and southern states that got below-average rainfall. According to the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) report discharged by the Niti Aayog in 2018, twenty-one significant urban areas (Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, and others) were racing to arrive at zero groundwater levels by 2020, influencing more than 100 million individuals. The Central government of India recently launched a new Jal Shakti (water) Abhiyan, which aims at conserving water with traditional methods. The government has announced a passionate plan to provide piped water connections to every household in India by the year 2024.
Jal Shakti Abhiyan
Following the huge water emergency crosswise over India in the late spring of 2019, the Central government launched the Jal Shakti Abhiyan. The Jal Shakti Abhiyan is a time-bound, crucial water protection battle which was completed in two phases over the 255 regions having basic and over-misused groundwater levels. Phase 1 of the JSA was from July 1 to September 15, 2019, which covered all the states and Union Territories. While Phase 2 was from October 1 to 30 November 2019 which covered only the monsoon retreated states and Union Territories.
Drawbacks of it
- JSA was planned on the basis of the boundaries of the districts and was carried out by the bureaucrat. So, this resulted in the division of the basins in multiple parts and followed multiple policies.
- The JSA additionally in a general sense overlooked the way that the vast majority of India’s water-focused basins, especially those in the peninsular areas, were facing closure because of more demand than supply. Hence, the groundwater was recharged at the cost of surface water and vice versa.
- One never came to know that water harvested in a pond in a district was at the cost of water in the adjoining districts as there was no data of the basin wise rainfall, no run-off analysis, and groundwater maps were rarely used.
Problems in Implementation
In order to fulfill the demand for food from its limited land resources, the nation has developed highly water escalated agriculture in the previous decades. Because of the population development, the per capita annual freshwater accessibility in India has extensively declined. In the most recent decade, the per capita water accessibility in India had dropped practically 15%, from 1,816 cubic meters to 1,545 cubic meters in 2011. At the point when per capita water accessibility falls underneath 1,700 cubic meters, that nation as per hydrologists becomes water prone.
There is no uncertainty that India experiences intensely the uneven distribution of water resources. Water accessibility shifts extensively from the desert zones of the west to the slopes of north-east. However, the real water management challenge in India is that its condition is typically monsoonal. Half of the all-out yearly precipitation happens in 15 days. Over 90% of the yearly run-off of waterways go through in four rainstorm months. This makes India water-rich and water-poor at the same time.
In India, rivers are shared by more than one state. Thus, this results in Inter-state water disputes in India. So far, there are around eight Inter-state water disputes being recorded by the Indian Judiciary.
Therefore, because of excessive demand, less supply, uneven distribution and Inter-state conflicts, the government of India is failing to resolve the crisis.
United Nations on Water Crisis
On July 28, 2010, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) expressly recognized and acknowledged that clean drinking water is essential to the realization of all human rights through Resolution 64/292.
The United Nations Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking Water (GLAAS) UN-Water initiative adopted by the World Health Organization with an objective to provide policy and decision-makers of all levels with a reliable, easily accessible, comprehensive and global analysis of the investments to make proper decisions for the drinking water.
UN HUMAN RIGHTS RESOLUTION COUNCIL (UNHRC)
On September 28, 2011, the UN Human Rights Council passed another resolution, which takes the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation a step ahead. The Council respected the accommodation of the arrangement of good practices on the privilege of safe drinking water and sanitation, in which the Special Rapporteur put particular emphasis on practical solutions with relation to the implementation of the human right to safe drinking water. The Resolution emphasised on States to guarantee enough financing for the manageable conveyance of water and sanitation administrations.
Indian Laws on Water Disputes
Article 262 of the Constitution of India deals with the Water Dispute and its Remedies in India.
- Article 262 (1) provides that “ Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter-State or river valley”
- Article 262(2) empowers Parliament to exclude, by law, the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court or any other Court.
The Indian Parliament has enacted to Laws related to Acts according to Article 262 of the Indian Constitution:
- River Boards Act, 1956
- Inter-State Water Dispute Act, 1956
RWAs can Contribute BIG to Conserve Water
A Resident Welfare affiliation (RWA) is basically a gathering housing system, spread over a zone or incorporated with floors of apartments in a building. Regardless of whether the houses are laid vertically or on a level plane, these local networks are typically registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. They are Self-managed and Self-financed. The Jagannadharaju Nagar RWA in Visakhapatnam was introduced in 1963 and who later followed the 3 pronged approaches in conserving and managing water to partially meet the menacing water crisis. Firstly, they adopted rainwater recharging in the apartments and individual houses. Secondly, they constructed eight locations along the roads of the colony through pits. And, lastly, they sensitised the need to conserve water to their residents through awareness and pamphlets.
Thus, if all the RWAs adopt such measures then the water crises can be resolved to a great extent in India.
- India should search for different approaches to ensure sustainable management of its accessible water. Due to limited water supplies and growing demand, the institutions managing water in India are weak. Subsequently, there are a developing number of contentions between states as well as among industry and agriculture, and among urban and rural areas. Notwithstanding in the face of competing demands, government strategy has neglected to address water issues in an integrated and sustainable way.
- The focal point of the Indian government should move away from huge water system projects and groundwater withdrawal to water harvesting, smart water pricing, upgraded public-private partnership, management of basin based integrated river and water use proficiency.
- Greater awareness among the people for the need of conserving the water and using the water efficiently.
- The education institutions, factories, industries, companies, and all other institutions should be directed to build rainwater harvesting management in their premises on their own costs.
- The natural aquifers and catchments should be restored back and preserved properly in order to raise the groundwater level.
- The wastewater should be reused properly wherever needed or filtered effectively.
Those were the days when money was used like water but today water seems to be used as if it was money. Water is the elixir of life which should be used judiciously. Just a step by a country will not work to make crisis address, rather it needs the whole world together to join hands to safeguard against the deadly situation. Who wants to awake to a dry morning to end with a dry death? The alarm has already signaled us, just a way away to crisis. But this not only wordly policies or laws will work, rather all this needs to be implemented in every possible way to save this life-giving planet. Water Laws are as essential as fundamental right to be taken care of because the time has already arrived to put a red signal to the precious life.
- Central Law Publications, Constitution of India.
Shreya is an articulate and compendious writer. She loves to explore new things and you will never find her sitting idle. She is a National level Handball player and also plays Basketball.