What are the root causes of India’s water crisis?
Water is a State subject; hence the State is responsible for failing to fulfil its obligation of serving the masses with life-saving fluid. Its failure is multi-faceted: it has not been able to protect natural sources of water; has not been effective in controlling point pollution of surface and ground water; and has consequently not been able to manage rising multi-sectoral demand for water.
How can we increase water literacy among people to control the situation?
People are victims and not cause of the problem. The water hydrocracy would need ecological lessons on source sustainability for adopting non-engineering solutions to current water crises.
Water quality problems affect a larger section of the society, especially in rural India. What can be done to overcome the same?
It does and the current response has been in favour of installing water-wasting reverse osmosis systems in the form of water ATMs. This short-term solution has serious long-term impact. It wastes as much water as it generates, and the concentrated waste gets dumped without care. Reviving water ponds for recharging groundwater offers a win-win
How could water resources and irrigation management help overcoming this challenge?
Reviving natural ponds is the answer as is being demonstrated in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and even Rajasthan. Traditional surface storage structures and systems exist in all parts of the country, which need to be acknowledged and refurbished by the State.
What are your recommendations to tackle the water crisis in India?
It is clear that ‘one size fits all’ hasn’t worked in a country with diverse ecological zones. Hence, decentralised water-management solutions involving local communities hold part answer to addressing water crises in rural India.