India close to being water scarce from water stressed: TERI

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India is close to being water scarce from water stressed, said The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), at the India Water Forum.

TERI announced signing of an MoU with WAPCOS, a PSU under the aegis of Union Ministry of Water Resource, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India.

The agreement aims at addressing the looming water scarcity and water pollution crisis in India. It will address the challenges of climate change and water scarcity through interventions like enhancing water use efficiency, water conservation, recycle and reuse, water demand management through a participatory mechanism for a period of three years.

India is facing multiple challenges in water sector as many states are facing frequent droughts and groundwater in several regions stands overexploited.

Water is a finite resource, and its availability will soon be a significant challenge amongst all users and sectors due to continually rising and competing demand, inefficient use, pollution, cropping pattern, cross subsidies and potential risks due to climate change.

The continuously declining per capita water availability in India (from about 5,177 cubic metres (m3 ) in 1951 to 1,545 m3 in 2011) has put the country into a ‘water stressed’ category and is close to being categorized as ‘water scarce’, said TERI.

Uma Bharti, Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India, said that rejuvenating Ganga will become a model for our other rivers.

“We should look at interlinking of rivers. It will be link only surplus and monsoon flows through new rivers. This will be done in a people and environment friendly manner. TERI can play a crucial role in this as well as providing solutions for conserving groundwater,” the Minister said.

TERI mentioned that a combination of interventions at various levels needs to be undertaken with a participatory approach for sustainable water management. Besides these, policy interventions like incentive & disincentive mechanisms, participatory programs are vital to the success of water management.

Dr. S K Sarkar, director, Water Division, TERI said, “Studies show that by 2030, the world’s demand of fresh water uses will be over 40% of existing reliable supplies. The highest water use is in agriculture, where efficiency is very low, and the demand side needs to be managed. IWF will aim at and discussing and indicating solutions to these and more.”

Over the years, TERI has been working with multiple stakeholders at various levels to identify interventions for policy reforms as well as sustainable and efficient water management solutions. TERI also assists local communities in interventions on drinking water and sanitation as well as participatory watershed management and groundwater conservation.

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