Hyderabad: The Union Ministry of Water Resources has warned that water conservation must be implemented otherwise the water crisis in the country will become acute.
In a secret note sent to the Union cabinet secretary, which is in the possession of this newspaper, the water resources ministry said that with the growing population, the per capita water availability is reducing progressively. The note said that it has been estimated that the average annual per capita water availability in the years 2001 and 2011 was 1,820 and 1,546 cubic metres respectively. This may reduce further to 1,140 cubic metres by 2050.
The note said that India has 17 per cent of the world’s population, 15 per cent of its cattle population but only 40 per cent of the world’s renewable water resources and 2.44 per cent of geographical area.
A report of the National Commission on Integrated Water Resources Development (NCIWRD) says the total water India receives through precipitation is about 4,000 billon cubic metres (BCM) per annum. After evaporation, 1,869 BCM water is available as natural run-off.
Due to topographical and other factors the utilisable water is limited to 1,137 BCM, comprising 690 BCM of surface water and 447 BCM of replenishable ground water.
According to NCIWRD, the total water demand of the country will be 843 BCM and 1,180 BCM for the years 2025 and 2050 respectively.
The report said that India has created live storage capacity of 254 BCM; the weekly storage status of 91 reservoirs is maintained by the Central Water Commission (CWC).
The last assessment of dynamic ground water resources puts the total annual replenishable ground water resources in the country at 447 BCM.
Out of 6,584 assessment units in the country 1,034 units have been categorised as over exploited, 253 units are critical and 681 units are semi critical.
The union water resources department said that water conservation and recharge has become extremely necessary on account of the stress of groundwater exploitation due to rapid urbanisation, deforestation, impact of change in climate and rainfall pattern....