Every year 22nd March year is globally observed as "World Water Day" with the intention of focusing everyone's attention on the significance of Water and especially on freshwater, which is becoming a commodity…! The key objective of observing this day is to create awareness on the judicious use of Water and to sensitize all sections of the society. It is, in fact, the most precious resource that we can't afford to squander any more. Therefore, it is all the more important to emphasize the sustainable management of freshwater and its resources to each and every individual on this planet….. Hence, in this background, this year's theme (2019) has therefore been - 'Leaving no one behind'…..
Of course, it is a day, to celebrate Water and its importance to mankind and its survival. But, on the other hand, it is also a day to remind humanity to manage water in the most responsible way in the future as well. With humanity facing drastic challenges across the world including climate changes, natural disasters, displacement, rising poverty, etc., the World Water Day - 2019 focuses on why people have been left behind and how this issue could be addressed. It also dwells on how access to judicious use of water and access to sanitation clubbed with sustainable management of Water can be drivers of change in the years to come.
According to various reports and studies more than 60% of the people in India live in areas of physical water scarcity. Out of this more than 50% of people are living in areas that face high to extreme water stress across the year. In fact India is today ranked at 116 among 122 countries in the Water Quality Index. Across the world nearly four billion people live in water-stressed areas. These are such areas where at least during two quarters of the year the demand of the people exceeds the supply. This number is expected to go up to five billion by 2040. It should be noted that food and clothing that is being imported by wealthy countries have been making it very difficult and harder for many poor and marginalized countries and their communities to have access to clean and safe water. This leaves a dirty Water Footprint among poorer countries as richer countries buy products from water-stressed regions across the world.
As far as India is concerned, we have completely violated all possible domestic and international rules and regulations that are actually laid out to govern our water resources. We are also one of the largest exporters of groundwater and in terms of global groundwater depletion. The amount of water extracted from the aquifers (groundwater reserves) exceeds the amount that is restored (recharged) naturally. And this has increased by more than 35% all over the world, till the early 2017. Unfortunately, the groundwater depletion rate in India alone has increased by 30% percent during the same period, which is a great cause for worry. This puts India in a very bad state of affairs. It has been observed that India uses the maximum amount of groundwater - 26% of the global total. This is more than what China and the U.S together would use.